Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FoodE (Food Systems in European Cities)
Reporting period: 2020-02-01 to 2021-07-31
Despite the above described spontaneous growth of awareness and participation, citizens and the food system itself continue to experience gaps in the construction of a fluid and functioning chain. Guided by the motto "Think global, eat local!", the European project Food Systems in European Cities (FoodE) takes up the challenge of bridging food system gaps and bringing to European cities (and beyond) a new model of development based on the creation of connections between local producers and consumers. The ultimate goal of the project is to accelerate the growth of sustainable City/Region Food System projects through the direct involvement of local and citizen-led initiatives. In order to achieve this aim, FoodE elaborates from a CRFS sustainability assessment framework toward the implementation 16 pilot project initiatives, spread across 12 European cities and regions (Naples, Bologna, Sabadell, Tenerife, Amsterdam, Lansingerland, Berlin, Oslo, Longyearbyen, Romainville, Iasi, Ljubljana). The project integrates the consolidated experience of a consortium of 24 organizations including universities, research institutes, SMEs, NGOs, as well as city councils spread across 8 European countries. Through demonstration and participatory design, FoodE will allow to replicate and upscale successful models of sustainable, fair and solidarity-based local food systems.
After a year and a half from its beginning, the project has completed and laid the foundations for the achievement of some of the set targets. In particular, a consistent and Life Cycle Thinking (LCT) based on a methodological framework to assess CRFS has been defined, involving more than 800 initiatives, out of which more than 100 will provide data for sustainability monitoring. The cross-pollination process has also started, promoting local events and involving a wide range of stakeholders from the civil society, including citizens, students, entrepreneurs, public administrators and the scientific community. The involvement of school pupils - although slowed down by the pandemics, has been widely targeted through integrative activities, including webinars, online workshops and competitions. Whenever possible, participatory activities have been conducted with remote tools, finding great involvement in the co-design process by students and citizens through participation in international and local challenges and hackathons, survey tools, co-design workshops and focus groups. An App able to involve, educate and mobilize different types of users towards CRFS has been designed and prototyped. Finally, the project, its events and the knowledge it generated on CRFS sustainability have been disseminated to the society via multiple layers, both through the project website and social networks, as well as by scientific publications, press releases and communication activities.
In the short term, FoodE will directly create new job opportunities in EU cities through the implementation of the pilot projects (e.g. urban agriculture parks, vertical farms, aquaponic farm, small scale fishery in school canteen, circular economy restaurant, urban bee keeping), also involving fragile and disadvantaged social groups. In the medium to long term, FoodE will intensify the interactions between research, food production, cities municipalities, education centers, consumers, and citizens. Such network of food actors and stakeholders will be supported by both dissemination activities and dedicated support tools, enabling intense interactions also after the project ends. An example of these tools is the FoodE app that will ease citizen active engagement in identifying, monitoring and assessing CRFS initiative, to achieve an involvement and effective shift to local food consumption. Within networking and cross-pollination activities, a citizen-science approach will raise citizens awareness on CRFS sustainability and on the environmental impact of dietary habits, and enable them to become key actors in this respect. Activities dedicated to school pupils and young minds will allow to increase the awareness on environmental and social aspect of food production even among the youngest. In the long term, FoodE will enable the environment for positive economic, social, and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas, meeting the needs, values, and expectations of the EU society toward responsible and ethical food systems. Based both on the applied methodology for the sustainability assessment and the input received by citizens engaged, FoodE will elaborate on existing policies on CRFS and develop CRFS stakeholders maps for best practice identification, allowing to compile a European guidebook to sustainable CRFS.