The ever-growing world population, the increased urbanisation, and the depletion of natural resources put pressure on global food security. Combined with the effect of climate change, our food supply is at risks and food chains face challenges. Consequently, local, affordable and healthy food produced in sustainable ways becomes a prerequisite. On 13-14 February, +65 delegates gathered in Bologna, Italy to exchange on solutions and involve European citizens in the design of future-proof, local food systems.
“Think global, eat local” is the driver behind the project entitled “Food Systems in European Cities” (FoodE). FoodE will act as an exchange platform where public authorities, citizens, SMEs and non-profit organisations can share ideas, best practices and tools with a view to supporting cities and regions in their transition towards innovative, sustainable food systems.
Firstly, FoodE will engage with local, citizen-led communities, identify success stories, and bridge these for knowledge exchange. Secondly, FoodE will launch 15 pilot projects with local partners in 12 European cities/regions (Napoli, Bologna, Sabadell, Tenerife, Amsterdam, Lansingerland, Berlin, Oslo, Longyearbyen, Romainville, Iasi, Ljubljana) and assess their outcomes for possible replicability in other circumstances.
Dr. Francesco Orsini, the Coordinator of FoodE underscores: “With FoodE, we have a clear vision of where we want to bring Europe in the long term. We seek to trigger, connect and make the most of grassroots food initiatives across the continent addressing the sustainability of regional food systems. The initiatives will combine state of the art technologies with innovative social systems and business models. Their unique feature will be underpinned by the active role of citizens involved in the food production, distribution and consumption, thus turning into prosumers”.
Led by the University of Bologna, FoodE brings together a highly qualified consortium of 24 organisations. It comprises universities, research institutes, SMEs, NGO, as well as city councils spread across 8 EU countries. FoodE is financed under Horizon 2020, the European Union Research and Innovation Framework Programme (2014-2020) and will run for four years.