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On the trail of sustainable food systems in European cities

An EU-backed project is calling for innovative solutions to make urban food systems more sustainable.

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Since its launch in 2020, the EU-backed FOOD TRAILS project has been taking action to help European citizens have access to affordable, balanced and healthy food. FOOD TRAILS coordinator Municipality of Milan and project partner Cariplo Factory, Italy, have now launched a Call for Solutions from innovative start-ups and SMEs to improve the sustainability of food systems in 11 European cities. The cities participating in the project are Bergamo, Birmingham, Bordeaux Métropole, Copenhagen, Funchal, Grenoble-Alpes Métropole, Groningen, Milan, Thessaloniki, Tirana and Warsaw. As reported in a news item posted on the project website, successful applicants will have the chance to develop pilot projects within these living labs, forming strategic alliances, collaborating with key stakeholders and meeting potential investors.

Stronger collaborations

“Through the FOOD TRAILS project, the city of Milan has initiated and strengthened collaborations with several European cities to foster the exchange of knowledge and good practices on the theme of food policy in urban areas,” states Municipality of Milan Vice Mayor Anna Scavuzzo in the news item. “In particular, the research and innovation actions on the food system, which are relevant areas for Milan’s Food Policy and are carried out together with Fondazione Cariplo and Cariplo Factory, will allow us to engage new start-ups on the theme of sustainability and to enlarge the number of stakeholders involved in the implementation of the Food Policy.” Start-ups and SMEs can apply to develop innovative solutions within seven thematic areas: education and training; communication and involvement; reducing food waste; data collection and monitoring; access to healthy food and production processes; urban agriculture and vegetable gardens; and food packaging. The application deadline is 16 February 2023. Once all applications have been evaluated, the selected start-ups and SMEs will take part in a networking event in spring 2023. They will present themselves and their projects to the FOOD TRAILS partner cities, key stakeholders and potential investors. Following this, the finalists who will get the chance to develop a pilot project within FOOD TRAILS will be identified. “Today, more than ever, it is essential to innovate and renew agrifood supply chains to make them more sustainable and ready for the challenges of the present. This call gives the best start-ups and SMEs in this field the chance to become part of a unique and European project such as the FOOD TRAILS project,” observes Carlo Mango, Managing Director of Cariplo Factory. “This project represents a real and concrete opportunity for innovation in the food system and connects Milan to numerous realities on a large scale, thanks to the sharing of ideas between institutions, food system actors and innovative companies.” The 4-year FOOD TRAILS (Building pathways towards FOOD 2030-led urban food policies) project brings together 19 partners from 11 European countries. The project ends in October 2024. For more information, please see: FOOD TRAILS project website


FOOD TRAILS, food, food system, food policy, city, urban, SME, start-up

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