• Város-vidék kapcsolatrendszer minőségbiztosítással – interjú a Food Corridors hálózat hazai képviselőjével, Bertényi Gáborral

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    08/12/2022

    Felismerve az európai területi együttműködés előnyeit, Szécsény és vonzáskörzete 2019-ben került egyedüli magyarországi mintarégióként az URBACT Food Corridors alprogramjába, melynek kitüntetett célja, hogy organikus módon elősegítse a sok esetben periférikus vidéki és városi alrendszerek egymásra találását, szervesülését, a fenntartható élelmiszertermelés mind szélesebb gazdálkodói körben való elterjesztését. Interjúnk során Bertényi Gábort /Agri Kulti Kutatóműhely/ kérdeztük a Szécsény térségében zajlott Food Corridors akcióról.

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    • Kik a szécsényi FoodCorridors projekt partnerei és a helyi URBACT csoport (ULG) tagjai?

    Az Agri Kulti Kutatóműhely Szécsény várossal konzorciumi partnerséget alkotva vesz részt az URBACT városhálózati projektben.

    A projekt keretében 2019-ben elkészült Szécsény és vonzáskörzetének alapos erőforrásleltára, amelynek egyik fontos pillére és gazdasági entitása az Agri Kulti helyben üzemelő gyümölcsfeldolgozó és préslé üzeme. A Szécsényi járás legfontosabb általunk azonosított agrárgazdasági szereplőivel az URBACT projektpartnerek személyesen is találkozhattak és megismerkedhettek a 2019-es magyarországi terepbejárás során.

    A Food Corridors projekt időszaka alatt 9 tematikus ULG (URBACT Local Group/Helyi URBACT Csoport) meetingen  szakértők bevonásával megtörtént a kistérség agrárgazdaságának teljes körű átvilágítása, a lokális erőforrások feltérképezése, a legfontosabb stakeholderek és jegyzett kisléptékű termelők, vállalkozók beazonosítása, agrárpiaci helyzetük elemzése, kiértékelése.

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    ULG tagok: Maszlik Zoltán, Dezsény Zoltán, Szalai Ferenc, Őry Barnabás, Horváth Boldizsár, Baranyi Adrienn és Murányi Bálint (Nógrád Megyei Önkormányzat), Bertényi Gábor, Halász Gergely

    Partnerszervezetek: Szécsény Város Önkormányzata, Agri Kulti Kutatóműhely, Vedd a Nógrádit! (a Nógrád Megyei Önkormányzat kistermelői érdekvédelmet szolgáló ernyőszervezete), Farm2Fork (foodhub), Funky Forest (préslé üzem) és HáziCool közösségi hűtőház vezetése, SVÉT

     

    • Milyen tevékenységeket tűzött ki az akcióterv?

    A kisléptékű termelők és termékelőállítók alkotják a szécsényi Food Corridors projekt célcsoportját, az érintettek fejlesztése tudatos és összehangolt módon, 3-4 egymást támogató, egymással szinergiát alkotó szakmai szálon történt (minőségbiztosítási rendszer, érzékszervi kóstolók szervezése, study visit videók).

    Nógrád megye egészére - természetföldrajzi és klimatikus adottságai miatt – jellemző a kiemelkedő minőségű, egészéges és magas beltartalmi értékkel bíró primer mezőgazdasági javak, alapanyagok előállítása, e téren komoly agrár-hagyományokkal rendelkezik a térség. Ennek ellenére a gazdák jelentős része piacszerzési és értékesítési nehézségekkel küzd a rendszerváltás óta. A Szécsény Team a problémára sajátos koncepcióval kínál megoldási alternatívát. Budapest földrajzi közelsége (110km), és a minőségi, válogatott alapanyagokat igénylő prémium vendéglátás szélesebb szegmense lehetővé teszi, hogy a Nógrád megyei termelők a főváros vendéglátóhelyeinek beszállító partnereivé váljanak. Mindez hosszútávú kölcsönös előnyökkel jár mindkét szektor számára: a gazdaságok bevételei tervezhetővé válnak, az értékesítés kiszámíthatóvá, a prémium vendéglátás pedig ellenőrzött forrásból hozzájut a kiemelkedő minőségű és a működéséhez szükséges mennyiségű hazai alapanyaghoz.

     

    Symbioo minőségbiztosítási rendszer

    Az Agri Kulti Kutatóműhely a hazai agrárgazdasági kínálat és kereslet hatékony összekapcsolására – állami közreműködéssel - egy önállóan fejlesztett, Magyarországon eddig hiánypótlónak számító fenntarthatósági szempontokat kiemelten alapul vevő AgriToolKit minőségbiztosítási rendszerrel kívánja transzparenssé és skálázhatóvá (összehasonlíthatóvá) tenni a vidéki kisgazdaságok agrár-aktivitását, termelő és menedzsment tevékenységét és a teljes, a termelő és vásárló közötti rövid ellátási láncot. A minőségbiztosítási rendszer éppúgy vizsgálja a farmok működésének, működtetésének környezeti, mint a társadalmi és gazdasági jellemzőit. A rendszer farm-mérettől és gazdálkodási volumentől függetlenül alkalmazható. A cél a minőségbiztosítási rendszer hazai agárágazatba való integrációja, szakmai szűrőként való beépítése, így az egyes átvilágítások során kapott eredmények standardizáltnak tekinthetőek és jelentéstartalommal bírnak a teljes vertikum számára - éppúgy a termelők, mint a keresleti piac egyes aktorai és a szakpolitika számára is. A minőségbiztosítási rendszer fejlesztése és cizellálása folyamatosan zajlik.

    2022. június 24-én Szigetmonostoron egy környékbeli és Nógrád megyei termelőknek és budapesti séfeknek tartott workshop és szakmai közös gondolkodás keretében debütált az Agri Kulti Kutatóműhely által fejlesztett Symbioo rendszer.

     

    Érzékszervi kóstoltatás

    A minőségbiztosítási rendszer környezeti-fenntarthatósági értékelése mellett kiemelten fontosnak tartjuk a gasztronómiai szempontok bevonását is, vagyis az értékesített kistermelői termékek gasztronómiai szempontok alapján történő minősítését is. A gasztronómiai minőségbiztosítás abban segít, hogy a magas minőséget igénylő vendéglátó-célpiac kiszolgálható legyen, illetve, hogy a minőségingadozás elkerülhető legyen. Megalapozó kutatásunk egyik legfontosabb tapasztalata, hogy a célpiac részéről az egyik leggyakoribb panasz a kisgazdálkodói termékekkel szemben azok minőségének kiszámíthatatlansága és szállításról szállításra vagy szezonról szezonra történő fluktuációja. A gasztronómiai minőségbiztosítás gyakorlati megvalósítására jellemzően vidéki termelők és fővárosi séfek széles körű bevonásával érzékszervi termék-kóstoltatásokat végzünk. Ez a leghatékonyabb módja annak, hogy a gazda és az alapanyaggal a későbbiekben dolgozó séf egymás gondolkodásmódját, igényeit közvetlen módon megismerje és a termelési folyamat tudatosan a kereslet minőségi és mennyiségi igényeihez igazodhasson.

    A Food Corridors keretében 2021 júliusában szerveztünk egy próba-kóstolóalkalmat, amely módszertanunk gyakorlati alkalmazhatóságának bizonyítását, tesztelését szolgálta. A tesztalkalomra célpiaci szereplőket, séfeket, illetve termelőket nem tartottunk indokoltnak meghívni, ugyanis a cél nem a jövőbeli termékkör minősítése, hanem inkább a bírálatok módszertanának és lebonyolíthatóságának első ellenőrzése volt. A bírálók így laikusok voltak, akiket a gasztronómia és a fenntarthatóság iránt érdeklődő személyes ismeretségi körünkből választottunk ki. A kóstolón tizenöt résztvevő volt jelen, mivel a tesztalkalom júliusra esett, nyári terményeket kóstoltak a bírálók: paprikát, paradicsomot és babot. A termékeket a kapcsolati hálónkba tartozó termelők kínálatából választottuk ki, illetve különböző rövid ellátási láncokon keresztül szereztük be. A bírálók összesen nyolcféle paprikát, hétféle paradicsomot és hatféle babot kóstoltak. A bírálók egy 1-5 skálán értékelhették íz, illat, szín és textúra (az összbenyomásra adható pontszám mellett) alapján a termékeket. A kóstolók során nem kiemelt cél az elért pontszámok alapján a különböző termékek közötti rangsor felállítása, inkább a termékek kategóriákba sorolása (prémium minőségű, jó minőségű, közepes minőségű, stb.) fontos.

     

    2

    Ezt követően 2021 októberében már szakmabeliek számára szerveztük a következő kóstoló alkalmat, 11 gyakorlott séf bevonásával. A termékpaletta az édesburgonya, cékla, káposzta, bab spektrumon mozgott. 9-9 féle édesburgonya és káposzta került terítékre, 5 féle cékla és 6 féle bab. A kóstoló kiértékelése egy októberi ULG meeting keretében történt, ahol a séfek és termelők közösen kiértékelhették tapasztalataikat, a szakmai kerekasztal beszélgetés értékes konklúzióval szolgált minden résztvevő számára.

     

    3

    Farmlátogatások, gazdaságbejárások és Study visit (PR) videók

    A Food Corridors program keretében szakmai farmlátogatásokat és gazdaságbejárásokat szerveztünk Nógrád megye agrárgazdaságának és agroturisztikájának meghatározó, innovatív szemléletű szereplőinél. Az érintettekről kisfilmeket forgattunk. Elkészítettük négy kiemelkedő fenntarthatónak tekinthető példaértékű gazdaság és egy regionális működésű foodhub promóciós videóját. Valamint a Nógrád Megyei Önkormányzat területfejlesztési munkacsoportjának - Vedd a Nógrádit! – kistermelőket és kisléptékű termékelőállítókat összefogó ernyőszervezetét is bemutattuk egy tematikus kisfilmben.

     

    4

    A gazdaságok a maguk területén nívós jó gyakorlatnak minősülnek. Az alapító tulajdonosok ars poeticáját a fenntarthatóság szemléletmódja határozza meg, így a gazdaságok szervezésénél is ez a legfőbb vezérelv érvényesül. A kisvideókból megismerhetjük a tulajdonosok hitvallását, de átfogó képek kapunk az adott gazdasági tevékenységről, annak kialakulásáról, a sikerekről, nehézségekről és a gazdaságszervezés komplexitásáról, jövőbeni tervekről, célokról. A videók hozzájárulnak az adott brand erősítéséhez, támogatják a vállalkozások online térben való megjelenítését, Nógrád megyei és térségen túli ismertségük és reputációjuk erősítését és közvetetten a piaci részesedésük növelését. A videók az adott gazdaságot fenntartható entitásként pozícionálják, ami egy jelentős értéktöbbletet, viszonyulási pontot jelent és a szakma többi szereplője számára is kijelöli a követendő progresszív irányvonalakat. Mi több, PR jellegük révén Nógrád megye hírnevét is öregbítik a megye agrár-imázsát javítják, erősítik.

    A kisfilmeket 2021. novemberében a 9. – Budapesten szervezett – ULG meetingünkön a budapesti top gasztro-szcéna meghatározó szereplőinek bemutattuk, ezzel is hozzásegítve a vidéki termelőket, hogy hosszútávon a minőségi alapanyagot preferáló fővárosi vendéglátóhelyek beszállító partnereivé válhassanak és a budapesti élelmiszerrendszerek kiszámíthatóbb felvevő piaci vérkeringésébe integrálódjanak.

     

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    Az általunk készített videókból minden gazdaságnak/vállalkozásnak szabad felhasználásra rendelkezésére bocsátottunk egy saját logós, corporate brandre optimalizált verziót, ezzel szerettünk volna támogatni és sikeresebbé tenni a céges megjelenéseiket és marketing tevékenységüket.

    Study visit videók tematikus bontásban:

     

    Együttműködés kialakítása a Vedd a Nógrádit! szervezettel

    A Food Corridors projekt egy sikeres térségi együttműködés kialakításával zárult: szakmai fúzióra léptünk a Nógrád Megyei Önkormányzat területfejlesztési munkacsoportjának - Vedd a Nógrádit! - szerveződésével, amely a térség lokális léptékben gondolkodó gazdálkodóit, kis- és őstermelőit integráló és érdekérvényesítésüket, piacszerzésüket támogató salgótarjáni szakmai platform. 

    • Milyen csatornákon zajlott a fogyasztók szemléletformálása?

    Az projektkommunikáció az online térben 3 főbb csatornán zajlott:

    1. Folyamatos közösségi média beszámolók (képriportok és az elkészült PR videók közzététele) az abszolvált mérföldkövekről az Agri Kulti Kutatóműhely social media felületein – FB és Youtube csatorna: https://www.facebook.com/AgriKulti/, https://www.youtube.com/@agrikulti
    1. Angol nyelvű cikkek és szakmai beszámolók az URBACT Food Corridors hivatalos nemzetközi webfelületén: https://urbact.eu/networks/food-corridors
    1. ULG partnereink az általunk készített PR videókat saját social media felületeiken is megosztották, ezzel is növelve a Szécsényi Helyi Akciócsoport tevékenységének társadalmi transzparenciáját

     

    • Milyen mértékű volt a helyi élelmiszer termeléssel foglalkozó közösség támogatása, részvétele a projekt lefutása alatt?

    A projektidőszak alatt sikeresen elértük és együttműködést építettünk Nógrád megye és Szécsény város térségének legfontosabb, fenntarthatósági szempontból leginkább kiemelkedő és innovatív szemléletű családi gazdaságaival, termelőivel, valamint a megyei adminisztráció és civil szféra szakmai érintettjeivel.

     

    6Az interjú elkészítésében Bertényi Gábor interjúalany, az Agri Kulti Kutatóműhely alapítója működött közre.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • Enriching the urban jungle with bees

    Poland
    Bydgoszcz

    Connecting sites for bees freedom

    Natalia Majewska
    Department of Integrated Development and Environment
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    Summary

    Bees are rich in terms of biodiversity protection, education development and touristic attraction. Transferring the practice of Lubljana, Bydgoszcz develop its own approach of connecting sites in the city that are bee-friendly and where apiaries can be visited. This is also included in a wider campaign for bee awareness and protection.

    Solutions offered by the good practice

    Bydgoszcz is the eighth largest city in Poland, part of the Bydgoszcz–Toruń metropolitan area, set on the on the Brda and Vistula rivers in northern Poland. It is an increasingly important economic centre, but the city is well known for its water, Art Nouveau buildings, and urban greenery – including the largest city park in Poland (830 ha).

    The city has a dynamic approach to sustainable development as part of its efforts to improve the quality of life of the city’s inhabitants. Against this background, Bydgoszcz wanted to link its agricultural land and green spaces with ecological education and took a particular interest in Ljubljana’s approach to connecting sites in the city that are bee-friendly and where apiaries can be visited.

    The City started to test and promote the quality of Bydgoszcz honey and used World Bee Day to implement a campaign on the ‘Urban reality of bees and people - let’s create a more bee-friendly world’, including photos at bus and tram stops, and messages on billboards. A local biologist produced a brochure on proper human behaviour towards bees and an exhibition.

    But for ULG Coordinator, Justyna Olszewska, a highlight was local teachers getting enthusiastic about teaching children about bees. They developed a new educational programme called “With Bees Throughout the Year”, which gives children the opportunity to get to know about bees, beekeeping and related topics around health, plants and nature.

    Sustainable and integrated urban approach

    The approach undertaken by Bydgoszcz is fully aligned with the integrated approach of the Practice of Ljubljana that it transferred. Ecological practices related to beekeeping have been developed. The new EU project “Bez Lipy” introduces participatory approach to greenery development and a member of URBACT local group participates in the works.

    The practice is also focusing on children and their education and attitude towards bees. This has also meant the development of professional skills and capacity to raise their awareness and develop bee-related activities as well as the enlargement of the network of urban beekeepers in the city. The city also promotes new (touristic) products and services related to beekeeping such as educational workshops run by Dawid Kilon, a biologist, guide and draftsman and bee-keeping workshops run at WSG University of Economy in Bydgoszcz.

    Participatory approach

    Bydgoszcz municipality formed an URBACT Local Group (ULG) mixing around 30 members - beekeepers, teachers, entrepreneurs, researchers, local tour guides and interested individuals. The group identified 16 places in the city with apiaries and melliferous potential to appear on their own Bee Path map of 16 stops – from a roof on the university, through Shopping Mall with beehives, pollinator houses in city parks, sensory garden at school, Bydgoszcz Soap Works to the botanical garden.

    What difference has it made

    In 2018 the City of Bydgoszcz lifted the ban on beekeeping in the city centre. Within the project we have managed to get to know beekeepers and educators who are ready to share their knowledge – in the very 2021 there are new beehives in the city centre: in May an apiary was installed by Mateusz Andryszak in Ostromecko Park and Palace Ensemble, and in June another one was installed in the Biziel University Hospital (Mateusz guided the endeavour). There are more and more bees initiatives application within the city grants and Bydgoszcz Citizens’ Participatory Budget, e.g. in 2022 there will be a municipal beehive installed and a bee-themed playground. Bydgoszcz is also starting the promotion of the Bee Education Programme in schools and we celebrate World Bee Day by installing the exhibition on bees that is accessible and offered to download and use as an open source and to be installed in any other city that wishes to educate about bees.

    Transferring the practice

    Visiting Ljubljana in April 2019 - together with stakeholders of BeePathNet’s other partner cities - members of Bydgoszcz’s ULG were truly inspired by how they too could create their own story around bees, linking to history, architecture and natural values.

    The city hopes to install the popular bee educational programme across the whole education sector, from kindergarten up. There are also plans that Ania Izdebska with the local Tourist Office will create a ‘Bee Quest Game’ that will complement the town’s existing game for visitors.

    Finally, the city also plans to explore further business opportunities and promotion, to take advantage of the growing interest in the project - including in other towns in the region.

    Main Theme
    Is a transfer practice
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    Kick-off meeting in June (Mollet des Valles). Transnational meetings in October (LAG Payd de Condruses) and December (Pyli).
    Transnational meetings in April (Sodertalye), June (Fundao), July (Jelgava) and September (Abergavenny).
    Transnational meetings in March (Mouans Sartoux) and April (Petrinja). Final event in April (Baena).

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    Rethinking Agri-food production in small and medium-sized European cities is the aim of this Action Planning network. Agri-food production is a mature industry that continues to play an important role in terms of GDP, employment and environmental sustainability. That is why new growth potentials must be activated by means of innovation, new business models and strategies. Our vision is to place cities at the core of a growing global movement that recognizes the current complexity of food systems and the links between rural cities and nearby cities as a way to ensure regional development.

    The roots of the city
    Ref nid
    7338
  • RU:RBAN

    Timeline

    Kick-off meeting
    Rome Transnational Meeting
    Caen Transnational Meeting
    Vilnius Transnational Meeting
    Loures Transnational Meeting
    Thessaloniki Transnational Meeting + Mid Term Reflection
    A Coruña-Rome Bilateral ONLINE MEETING
    Krakow Online Transnational Meeting
    Krakow-Rome Bilateral ONLINE MEETING
    Vilnius-Rome Bilateral ONLINE MEETING
    Loures-Rome Bilateral ONLINE MEETING
    Caen-Rome Bilateral ONLINE MEETING
    Thessaloniki-Rome Bilateral ONLINE MEETING
    Network Final Event - A Coruña June 28 2021
    Thessaloniki Transnational online meeting
    Krakow TNM second part (in presence)

    Municipality of Athienou
    2, Archbishop Makarios III Ave.
    7600 Athienou Cyprus

    CONTACT US

    Municipality of Santiago de Compostela

    CONTACT US

    Municipality of Udine (Italy)

    CONTACT US

    For any enquires into Tech Revolution, email: DMC@Barnsley.gov.uk

    Keep following our social media channels as we develop Tech Revolution 2.0 as part of the second wave of URBACT ||| Programme. 

    Follow our Twitter: @Tech_RevEu
    Follow our Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/urbact-techrevolution/

    CONTACT US

    Coordinator

    ADDRESS

    Av. Movimento das Forças Armadas

    2700-595 Amadora

    Portugal 

    TELEPHONE

    +351 21 436 9000

    Ext. 1801

    CONTACT US

    City of Rome

    tamara.lucarelli@comune.roma.it

    This Transfer network builds upon the "Management model of Urban gardens in Rome" Good Practice, in order to transfer to EU cities geographically distant from each other to ensure sharing of experiences to enhance the capacities of local governance. Transfer efforts will be given to 3 distinct, interlinked, thematic components/elements that the Good Practice is divided into: Capacity building in organizing urban gardens, Inspiring and training people to manage urban gardens (Gardeners) and urban gardens governance & regulations.

    Urban agriculture for resilient cities
    Ref nid
    12133
  • A Table! Mouans-Sartoux Food Forum

    BioCanteens#2 A Table event

     

     

    The objective is to gather and create a common diaglogue between the European local authorities around the topic of food sovreignity and democracy. Cities are a major actor in the development and construction of sustainable food policies and their commitment is already a day-to-day reality with concrete actions that are beneficial for the climate, the environment and the health of people. This is why we believe it is essential that their voices are heard and that their experiences inspire European policies.  

     

    In addition to visits to present the Mouans Sartoux food project, we are planning numerous debates, exchanges and workshops on the following three key topics:

     

    • Building a European food sovereignty the protects people’s health and the planet

    • 100 % organic school canteens across the EU: it is achievable!

    • Let's mobilise! Let's join forces to make the voice of local and regional authorities in Europe heard

     

    Find more information about the forum here.

     

     

    test
    France
    • Organic
    • Sustainability
    • Urban food systems

    As final event of BioCanteens#2 Transfer Network, the city of Mouans-Sartoux is organising the first edition of the Mouans-Sartoux Food Forum << A Table!>>. 

    URBACT Network
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    • Food
    Mouans-Sartoux
    Off
    Open to a wider public
  • Food and urban agriculture

     

     

     

    What's on the menu?

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Food for thought

     

    The URBACT Knowledge Hub brings together good practices from across the EU, with the latest urban trends, to fill the gaps and make sure that the learning is within everyone's reach. Since 2013, URBACT has supported eight networks working on topics linked to sustainable food and urban agriculture and pulled together their insights to help cities take action - some good food for thought!

     

     

    • Climate action
    Urban agriculture (IStock)

    Food for thought - URBACT Knowledge Hub

    See all the key ingredients

    Food systems activities produce greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. They are a primary cause of environmental degradation and significantly contribute to socio-economic and health inequalities. Only a food systems approach can identify effective actions to accelerate climate impacts and reduce inequalities.

     

    Since 2013, URBACT has supported 11 networks to learn from each other on the topics of sustainable food and urban agriculture :

     

    Thanks to URBACT, more than 60 cities have led the transition towards more sustainable local food ecosystems. URBACT is pulling together the insights from these cities and beyond to help cities take action.

    Check out URBACT's recipe

    Below you can find out how cities are making the most with each ingredient, so better, more sustainable and organic cities can thrive.

    1. Policy-making

    Food policy meeting
    Why food policy is more important than ever?

     

     

    Food systems encompass the entire range of stakeholders and their interlinked activities from food production to distribution and consumption via transformation. These actors range from private to public, NGOs, as well as citizens, focusing on the types of food items, their quality, their integration into daily lives

     

    2. Food production

    Food production in Mouans Sartoux (FR)
    How to ensure local and sustainable food production?

     

    In order to support the transition to more sustainable local food ecosystems, many cities have sought to modify the way they produce their food - for example, by making it more local and reducing direct transport, by introducing new planning measures and land-use rules, transitioning to organic production, or diversifying their local food production (fruits, vegetables, meat, bee products). Food sovereignty is a key concept for many cities and reflexions upon the Commons has also been initiated. 

     

    3. Food distribution

    Food distribution in Vaslui (RO)
    How does your food get into your plate?

     

    The way food is distributed in a city reflects largely its relation to the food ecosystem. Cities can improve access to (sustainable) food to all its citizens by diversifying its selling points developing retail entities, markets, cooperatives and other forms of food provision. Short food supply chains can also be a way to empower actors and make territories (more) resilient.

     

     

     

    4. Jobs and skills

    Food jobs - Canteen ladies in Pays de Condruses (BE)
    How can cities promote educational and professional pathways and develop skills while developing sustainable food ecosystems?

     

    Focusing on food systems is both an end and a means to address jobs accessibility and skills development. Cities can use food to boost employability of job seekers and support the most disadvantaged people to develop new skills while socialising. They can support the development of business and entrepreneurial initiatives through business incubators and test farms.

     

     

    5. Food transformation

    Food transformation- Rosignano Marittimo (IT)
    From the raw products to the dishes in your plate, how to ensure a healthy and good quality food?

     

    In the conventional sector, food transformation is a key moment in the supply chain where food items are strongly modified with potentially negative effects on health, as well as on the environment. Cities can take action to ensure that the quality of the food is preserved - for example, by ensuring that products are both organic and local in school canteens meals.  Transformation can take place with the aim to sell and make profit in the private sector, or to be delivered and eaten in school canteens, to teach and raise awareness in NGOs, or to be preserved at home.

     

    6. Community-building

    Food community in Brussels (BE)
    How to raise awareness about sustainable food and use it to engage?

     

    Food has always been a binding ingredient for local communities. URBACT cities have developed specific approaches to engage with citizens, and more particularly with children in schools. Community engagement is an underlying component of many municipal programmes focusing on changing food behaviours through education and transitioning towards more sustainable food consumption.

     

    7. Solidarity

    Food solidarity
    How to make sure everyone gets access to (quality) food?

     

    The Covid-19 pandemic has made increasingly obvious the need to ensure that nobody is left behind when considering one of our core primary needs, food. Access to good, organic and local food shouldn't be a privilege for a selected few. Cities can take action to ensure that everybody gets access to the best available food – best for them, for the environment and for (local) economy – but also promoting healthy food as a key common good for all.

    8. Marketing and branding

    Food branding - honey from Portugal
    How to promote your city via its gastronomy and food products?

     

    Food has always been a key item not only to bring people together, but also to attract them. As such, many cities are using it as a token for touristic development, branding and marketing. Some have developed gastronomic strategies - with the creation of brands or producers’ clubs, or taking part in european competitions, others develop their own labels, or specific touristic paths.

    9. Education and awareness-raising

    Food education in Mouans Sartoux (FR)
     
    How to raise awareness and educate on food?

     

    Cities can play a role in raising awareness and educating citizens on good quality and healthy food - for example, by running activities for different types of publics and creating time and spaces for all to engage in these activities.

    10. Circular food systems

    Circular food systems
    How to transition towards a more circular and sustainable food system?

     

    Local food ecosystems are holistic approaches to address food from its production to its delivery and consumption via its transformation. A key remaining element, to ensure closing the loop, is to adopt a circular approach, notably in addressing foodwaste, seeking to reduce it at individual collective and private sector levels. The benefits can then not only be environmental but also economic.

    11. Bees and wild pollinators

    Bees and wild pollinators
    What bees have to do with cities?

     

    Bees and wild pollinators are natural biodiversity indicators in the urban jungle. Far beyond the sweet honey, bees can bring benefits related to education, jobs, skills, tourism and gatronomy. They can also create and strengthen exisitng communities. See how bee-friendly cities are paving the way towards change and join the movement!

  • Six solutions for city authorities to help us all waste less food

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    15/11/2022

    Each year, EU households throw away millions of tonnes of food. What can cities do to support the fight against food waste?

    Articles
    Food

    Approximately 20% of all food produced in the EU is wasted, leading to annual emissions of 186 million CO2, writes Antonio Zafra, Lead Expert of the URBACT FOOD CORRIDORS network, in a recent article, drawing on figures from the European Environment Agency. So, with more than 50% of that food waste coming from households – on average, 47 million tonnes a year – what actions can local authorities take to help us limit and prevent this waste? And how is URBACT supporting them? URBACT Programme Expert Marcelline Bonneau investigates…

     

    Globally, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that a third of all food produced for human consumption each year is lost or wasted. This corresponds to 1.3 billion tonnes of food wasted every year in the world, worth a total of 750 billion dollars – equivalent to the GDP of Switzerland. At the European level, this accounts for 89 million tonnes of food annually, corresponding to approximately 179 kg per capita per year (throughout the whole supply chain).

    Although getting precise data is extremely difficult, we do have some figures. In the Region of Brussels-Capital (BE), for example, it is estimated that households waste an average of 15 kg of food per person per year, the equivalent of three meals a day for 30 000 people over the course of one year.

    Why do we waste so much at home?

    The reasons for wasting food are strongly connected with all daily activities: shopping, cooking, eating, sorting out waste, but also working, having hobbies and leisure activities, or moving around in the city, as presented in the image below:

    Activities related to wasting food

    These can also be explained as follows:

    • We are dependent upon production and consumption systems:
      • Available information (e.g. expiration dates, promotions…);
      • Food culture (e.g. providing large quantities of food to guests, understanding of food safety and aesthetics, “cheap” food…);
      • Available products (e.g. types of products, packaging…);
    • Daily habits:
      • Personal meaning (e.g. culinary traditions, not eating the same thing twice);
      • Knowledge and competences (e.g. being able to cook, improvise, knowing the content of the fridge and cupboards, anticipating…);
      • Appliances (e.g. for storage, transformation...);
    • Personal influences:
      • Capacities (e.g. professional framework, frequency of shopping…);
      • Life experiences (e.g. available time, family, tiredness…);
      • Values (e.g. enjoying eating outside, feeling guilty…).

    Six tips for cities fighting food waste

    Against this background, certain URBACT cities have sought to carry out a range of activities and initiatives to support households in reducing their food waste. Drawing on their experience, here are six solutions to inspire any town or city to do the same:

    1. Know the food waste facts

    First and foremost, it is vital to measure food waste in households in order to design adequate policy actions and instruments (see solution 2, below). But it can be extremely difficult to design adequate methodologies to ensure household food waste is monitored regularly, to collect comparable data, etc. Yet, some URBACT cities have managed to develop useful frameworks. Bristol, UK partner in the URBACT network Sustainable Food in Urban Communities, developed an approach based on food-waste hierarchy principles, underpinned by Bristol City Council’s 'Towards a zero waste Bristol’ strategy in 2016, leading to measurable successes in food-waste reduction.

    Ghent (BE) also conducted a food-waste benchmarking study to track goals, and all waste diverted through the Foodsavers Ghent programme, as well as calculating GHG emissions averted. As a member of the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP), Ghent is also seeking to incorporate the MUFPP Monitoring framework into its assessment strategy in order to ensure greater accuracy in measuring the impacts of its food policies. Another Belgian city, Bruges, member of Eurocities, also used a self-declaration survey for citizens to measure the impact of recipes and tips shared by the city for reducing food waste at the household level. And, still relevant eight years after its launch at national level, another very interesting study was carried out in France by ADEME (the French Environment and Energy Management Agency) to have households measure their own food waste.

    2. Design an enabling food-policy framework

    As we saw above and in the article by Antonio Zafra, Lead Expert of URBACT FOOD CORRIDORS network, food waste covers a range of topics. To ensure that it is addressed in a holistic way, some cities have designed dedicated policies, not only on sustainable food, but also, more specifically on food waste. This is the case of Milan (IT), labelled URBACT Good Practice for its Food Policy, coordinator of the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact and Lead Partner of the URBACT NextAgri network. Indeed, as part of its Rethinking Milan’s approach to food waste framework, the main goal is to achieve a 50% reduction in food waste by 2030. Five main focus areas have been identified:

    • Inform and educate citizens and local stakeholders on reducing food losses and waste;
    • Recover and redistribute food waste;
    • Create local partnerships, such as among charities food banks, supermarkets and municipal
      agencies;
    • Improve and reduce food packaging;
    • Strive for a circular economy in food system management.

    Related actions and initial measurements have already been made by the city of Milan. For example, a campaign encouraging the separation of organic from non-organic waste also achieved a source separation of 56% in three years, up from 36% in 2012. A first step to raising awareness about the quantity of food wasted in households.

    3. Raise awareness and provide concrete tips

    Before citizens can actually start reducing their food waste, they need to consider it as an issue. As such, regions such as Wallonia (BE) with “Moins de déchetsand countries such as France with “Ça suffit le gâchis”, Germany with “Too good for the bin”, and the UK with “Love Food, Hate Waste” have developed dedicated information campaigns presenting the key issues at stake. More importantly, they also share concrete tips for daily life, and activities.

    ‘Love Food, Hate Waste’ platform

    In particular, since 2007, the aim of the ‘Love Food, Hate Waste’ campaign in the UK, implemented by the non-profit organisation WRAP, has been to reach out to consumers and cooperate extensively with companies, including supermarkets. They run poster campaigns, radio and newspaper announcements as well as bus-back adverts, using social media, cooking workshops and London-wide events. The ‘Love Food, Hate Waste’ website also provides tips and tools for proper storage, left-over recipes, understanding expiry dates, and measuring food-waste amounts, as well as promoting the benefits of home composting.

    A ‘Money-Saving App’ also includes a portion and meal planner along with many recipes, and allows customers to keep track of the items they already bought and those they plan to buy. Avoidable food waste was reduced by an estimated 14% thanks to the campaign, with some households that actively focused on food-waste prevention reducing their avoidable food waste by 43%. Importantly, resources from these campaigns are designed for one-way communication and require minimal staff time to implement.

    4. Challenge citizens

    ‘FoodWasteWatchers’ tool in action

    Cities should provide dedicated tools to support households with their daily fight against food waste, as well as support intermediary organisations such as NGOs or schools. For example, in Alameda County, California, the ‘Stop Waste’ public agency designed signage, including an ‘Eat This First’ sign for the fridge to encourage households and businesses to designate a fridge area for foods that need to be eaten soon.

    Engaging households in activities directly has been key to ensure they are empowered to reduce their own food waste. As part of its ‘Good Food Strategy’, a direct outcome of the URBACT Sustainable Food in Urban Communities network that it led, the Region of Brussels-Capital supported the design of ‘FoodWasteWatchers’. This is an individual and targeted programme for households to identify what, how much they waste and why, as well as to design their own strategy in order to reduce it.

    Also, in 2019, the city of Oslo (NO) organised a challenge and training programme to help families halve food waste. During this four-week project, 30 families weighed their food waste, participating in a short workshop, with tools (e.g. kitchen diary and labelling) and information on how to reduce their food waste. The ‘winning’ family cut its food waste by 95%!

    5. Train citizens as relays

    Fridge Masters in action

    Who is better placed to talk to citizens and households than citizens themselves? Following the success of its experience on the topics of gardening and composting, the Region of Brussels-Capital supported the training and set-up of a network of ‘Fridge Masters’: over the course of nine modules, citizens exchanged experiences and were trained on various tips and tricks to reduce food waste, from improved organisation, cooking habits, and food preservation methods to shopping in different types of shops. They were also trained in facilitating events for the general public – which they did successfully with a series of tools they designed themselves. These included social media challenges and interaction, tasters on the site, and images representing ‘fake fridges’.

    6. Support solidarity

    Last but not least, combating food waste by sharing what would otherwise be thrown away can be a way of connecting with other people, creating new relationships and opportunities, as well as providing food to those in need. Solidarity fridges are an implementation of such a concept.

    Tartu’s ‘Food Share Cabinet’

    One example is the ‘Food Share Cabinet’ in Estonia’s second largest city Tartu. As a way to raise awareness, make food available for people who need it, and redistribute what would have been wasted, a temporary ‘food share’ cabinet was installed on Tartu’s ‘Car Freedom Avenue’ event as a Small Scale Action, with the support of the URBACT Zero Carbon Cities network. Shelves and a refrigerator enabled caterers from the event and neighbouring cafes to share their leftovers. This action is now part of the Tartu City Government reflexion with the food-share community to reduce food waste in the city, working with local food businesses.
     

    What will your city do next to reduce food waste?


    This listicle has shown a range of frameworks, instruments and activities used by cities to reduce food waste in households. But this is only one part of the equation. Food waste needs to be tackled along the whole supply chain.

    Check our Food Knowledge Hub page for further insights, as well as the Glasgow Food Declaration resources.
    Last but not least, look out for the upcoming activities of five current Horizon 2020 projects which will test further actions:

    What can you do to cut waste in your town? Let us know – we’ll be curious to read about your experiences – reach out to us via Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn!

    Facts and figures

     

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  • OpenAGRI

    Italy
    Milan

    New Skills for new Jobs in Peri-urban Agriculture

    Rossana Torri
    Comune di Milano
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    Summary

    The City of Milan decided to set up an urban coalition with a series of partners (Universities, companies, associations) in order to apply for the first call of UIA Initiative, with the desire to scale up this positioning in the peri-urban agricultural industry, setting up a stable growth and creating new jobs and skills.
    OpenAgri is mainly an urban policy experimentation that follows the place-based approach, focusing on new skills for new jobs in peri-urban agriculture. The project area can be defined as an “urban fringe”, representing the transition zone between the consolidated part of the City and the agricultural lands. The challenge was to locate an innovative urban service aimed at creating new jobs, skills, start- ups and innovation in agri-food sector while increasing the level of resilience and sustainability of the City.
    OpenAgri (1) improved entrepreneurship by fostering the creation of new innovative firms and social enterprises focusing on sustainability in periurban agriculture and the agri-food sector; (2) Contributed to the overall regeneration of a fringe area promoting a strong focus on social inclusion; and (3) Exploited the potential of several food policy experiments within a single integrated.

    The innovative solution

    OpenAgri is a step forward in the capacity to deliver an innovative integrated strategy. It represents experimental initiatives in the field of labour and innovation policy. The following solutions can be offered:

    • Solution 1: Educational and training environment: competencies validation and certification, educational services delivery, business planning, linkages with educational institutions;
    • Solution 2: Experimentation Lab: explores innovative techniques in urban agriculture and engage a series of partners on making the best use of public owned 33 hectares plot of land surrounding the south Milan Parco Sud boundaries.
    • Solution 3: Entrepreneurship: The process to find innovative projects, agriculture entrepreneurs, companies and/or startups and other organized parties.
    • Solution 4: Resilient territorial development: The peri-urban transformation of Milano changed due to OpenAgri capacity to create strong, mutually supportive linkages between rural and urban areas and to engage stakeholders, like MMA spa, with the capacity to promote further investment.

    A collaborative and participative work

    OpenAgri partnership is a good example of a participative approach, since it brings local stakeholders from education and training, agricultural, cultural, social and policymakers. It is a very complex and integrated project because it keeps together many different dimensions and makes them work in a specific place, but also in a city systematically. It was an opportunity to relate areas of competence of the administration that are very different from one another and that are used to look at problems from their single point of view. This project necessarily had to confront with the people responsible for environment, urban planning, agriculture, labour. Such an integrated project forced to create new relationships and we learned something from this collaboration.

    The impact and results

    The agro-ecological and landscape design developed by the 30-hectare Masterplan created a new locality for the city. This means designing for shared access to systems and services, planning functional infrastructures, and activating networks between people, places and products.
    The focus was on business development and innovation. The best example is the incubation and startups support that developed innovative projects in agriculture and circular economy, with particular focus on the water resource and its use within the food supply chains, along a cycle that goes from production, to transformation, to consumption, to waste and reuse of waste.
    Acting smart in the context of OpenAgri was not only about technology, but more about the smart use of local resources and amenities and finding the right balance of business diversity, to create an economy that is specialised but still resilient.

    Why this good practices should be transferred to other cities?

    OpenAgri is an experimental project that challenge existing practices and regulations in cities, regions, policy fields and local contexts. The project proved to be an excellent opportunity to experiment a hypothesis of work that is inherent to UIA program. This is very interesting because it means to start not from a regeneration of the container, but from the activation of new economic dynamics.
    It was an opportunity to relate areas of competence of the administration that are very different from one another and that are used to look at problems from their single point of view. This project necessarily had to confront with the people responsible for environment, urban planning, agriculture, labour.
    OpenAgri is now a hub for the agri-food sector but the city wants it to be a more complex hub that will work not only on the themes of peri-urban agriculture, but also on circular economy, trying to put them in relation. They have understood that there are interesting connections between peri-urban agriculture and for example the water cycle, thanks to the nearby water purifier. There is clear evidence that the core principles and components will now apply at a larger scale within Milan but also in other European cities.

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  • A FOOD WASTE URBAN APPROACH - To reduce the depletion of natural resources, limit environmental impacts, and make the food system more circular

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    15/11/2022

    Food waste is a serious ethical, social, environmental, and economic problem. It is estimated that one-third of the food produced on the planet ends up in the rubbish bin. If this unsustainable practise was stopped, greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by around 8% (IFPRI, 2021). Given that this waste is produced throughout the entire food chain, there is a need for consensual, precise, and agile policies that allow all actors to meet the ambitious commitments set by international institutions and states for the upcoming years.

    At the European Union level and according to the Sustainable Development Goals, the aim is to halve the volume of food waste generated by 2030, based on a hierarchy of solutions that prioritises prevention, accompanied by reuse, recycling, recovery, and redistribution against abandonment in landfills.

    Once again, dealing with an issue of this magnitude and complexity requires specific and local action, and this is where the role of cities and citizens is essential. Together with EU and national policies, city initiatives such as those gathered in MUFPP, Eurocities WFP, and cooperation projects promoted by URBACT, UIA, LIFE, INTERREG or HORIZON 2020 offer knowledge and experiences from which to move forward. Focusing municipal political initiatives on this challenge may represent the necessary boost to encourage local food strategies, due to this issue’s direct connection with the political sphere of municipal intervention. 

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    Articles
    Food

    1. THE PROBLEM

    Food waste is a critical factor in the urban ecosystem and represents an essential part of the bio-waste stream. According to the EU Bioeconomy Strategy and the recent Farm to Fork Strategy, food waste leads to the appropriation of natural resources and results in a set of negative environmental externalities, turning urban policy action into a priority.

    The system's complexity, stages, and elements that make it up are reflected in the following graph (EEA, 2020). It gives rise to a mechanism where the need to reduce extractive practices of limited resources interacts with the urgency of addressing solutions which avoid waste and other negative impact that contribute to the Climate Change effect.

                       

    Negative practices occur throughout the whole food chain, from production to consumption. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) appraises that approximately one-third of the edible food produced for human consumption is either lost or wasted globally.

    In the context of the EU-28 approximately 20% of all food production is rated to be wasted every year, being responsible for the emissions of 186 million CO2e.  The impacts of food waste on climate acidification, together with eutrophication represent 15-16% of the total impact in the food chain. Most of the emissions linked to food waste would be associated with the production phase (cited by EEA, 2020).

    In a more local perspective, it is estimated that 38% of the food waste generated in the city of Milan (2019) comes from the production phase, while 42% is generated at the consumption stage. This makes up to €454 the annual economic value of food waste for an Italian household, slightly higher than the average expenditure of a Milanese household on food (€399).

    The value of avoidable food waste has been calculated for different EU countries, ranging from €3.2/kg to €6.1/kg. These are reductions that, in economic terms, can represent between €100 and €200/person/year, depending on the country.  (EEA, 2020). Different tools have been designed in the European Union or internationally to calculate the value of the food we are wasting, helping to plan various prevention and reduction actions.

     

    2. ACTORS

    The international community, through various institutions, the European Union, national and regional governments, cities and all private parties, social organisations and citizens, are active players that must contribute to the development of active policies that strive for sustainable management of food production, based on the principles of prevention, reduction and reuse.

    Many policies and programmes have been initiated at state level, such as in the United States through the Save the Food Programme, which invites citizens to be an active part of the solution to avoid wasting 40% of the food produced in the country.

    The revised Waste Framework Directive (WFD) (EU,2008, 2018) establishes precise criteria for bio-waste management, forcing states to implement separate collection and recycling by the end of 2023. This is combined with other regulations which promote the reduction of food waste beginning with its correct measurement and monitoring.

    The quantity and quality of bio-waste produced in EU municipalities vary according to the degree of urbanisation, cultural food practices, collection systems, and household composting production, etc., as it can be observed in the attached figure. It gives a clear picture of the magnitude of the problem and how sustainability objectives have its room for improvement in different geographical areas.

     

                                 

    The French policy agenda is recognised for its ambition through differentiated actions. Each year the country bears the cost of wasting 10 million tonnes of food worth €16 billion while emitting 15.3 million tonnes of CO2, representing 3% of the country's total emissions. Since 2012 a new national law has been passed to reduce the volume of organic waste disposed of in landfills. At the same time, the private sector (supermarkets, restaurants, etc.) has been obliged not only to reduce their volume of organic waste, but also to recover or reuse it. Various campaigns have been aimed at changing consumer practices, such as the campaign that has involved 120,000 households in Paris to deposit their food waste in a biowaste recycling bin to convert it into fertilizer or facilitate its use for energy production. Simultaneously, numerous private companies participate in initiatives to reduce food waste in their processes and promote circular solutions. Some analyses show beneficial economic results at state, city, and private company levels when effective measures to reduce food losses and food waste are included.

    A recent report, DRIVEN TO WASTE: THE GLOBAL IMPACT OF FOOD, LOSS AND WASTE ON FARMS, by WWF (2021), states that "despite this, on-farm food waste remains neglected compared to efforts at the retail and household levels. It's partly due to the complexity of measuring on-farm waste, which makes it difficult to measure progress in reductions and underestimates the importance of its contribution to food waste levels". 

    Private commercial initiatives are providing innovative solutions to this problem. Packaging-free shops are a direct option to reduce waste in the food chain. Their expansion is visible throughout the EU and very prominent in France and Belgium, with national networks. A report (EUNOMIA,2020) offers encouraging data on the turnover of this sector in the EU by 2030, estimated at between €1.2 and €3.5 billion. Each shop saves 1 tonne of packaging annually, with more than 70% of the products on sale free of packaging and a high percentage of local sourcing.

    In addition, it is important to take into account the lack of consumer reaction, especially in developed countries, and what can be done to change this behaviour. Concerning this matter, municipalities, authorities, and companies must have the necessary infrastructure at the service of citizens to facilitate a correct sorting and separation policy for food waste. However, at the same time, citizens do not always have the required conditions at home to carry out this task. They must also find the incentive to commit themselves and get them out of their comfort zone, encouraging their efforts for this social and cultural change, both in reducing and recycling and reusing waste. This is strongly influenced by the context and the characteristics of the different types of citizens regarding their capacities and availability. In general, urban life does not contribute to freeing up the necessary time and facilities required for these tasks, so each city must know the specific barriers to overcome, the target audience to reach, and, therefore, determine the actions to be taken. It is essential to reduce the difficulties and make it easy for residents to participate in these policies. Sometimes it will also be necessary to fight and dismantle preconceived ideas to motivate individual attitudes based on clear and accurate communication.

    Many initiatives, from the most generic to the most particular, are in this sense developed by institutions, cities, foundations, and social groups. It is worth highlighting the actions promoted by the FAO, UN WFP, WWF, etc.

    3. POLICY LINES OF ACTION

    - Food waste prevention

    A significant percentage of the food waste fraction is avoidable. Prevention is at the basis of the waste hierarchy established by the Waste Framework Directive (WFD; 2018/851/EC) ahead of other alternatives such as reuse, recycling, recovery, or disposal. This orientation should be matched with the necessary financial support to cover prevention measures. The SDG 12.3 adopted in 2015, commits the EU and member states to halving food waste and losses by 2030.

              

    In order to support all stakeholders in meeting this target, the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste was established in 2016. A key challenge for states and cities is to correctly monitor and measure food waste, both in terms of quantity and quality, and to ensure consistency to facilitate comparative analyses over time and across territorial and policy areas. Hence, we find different percentages attributed to the various stages of the value chain depending on the sources. In any case, the domestic consumption sector is responsible for generating between 40% and 50% of food waste. In comparison, the other stages of the food value chain account for approximately another 50% between production, processing, distribution, and marketing.

    According to some studies (EU FUSIONS, 2016), around 60% of the waste generated by consumers is avoidable. However, this challenge cannot be addressed in isolation at the different stages of the chain. A significant reduction by consumers requires parallel actions by industry, labelling regulations, commercial practices, and packaging.

    Once again it is crucial to measure the effectiveness of prevention measures given the uncertainty surrounding the drivers of food waste and the barriers to its reduction, starting by identifying the many gaps in this area of knowledge.

    - Biowaste as a relevant focus point

    "Bio-waste -mainly food and garden waste- is a key waste stream with a high potential for contributing to a more circular economy, delivering valuable soil-improving material and fertiliser as well as biogas, a source of renewable energy" (EEA Report, 2020). Around 60% of bio-waste is food waste, while bio-waste represents, at 34%, the most significant component of municipal waste in the EU. Progress in recycling is imperative to reach the EU target of recycling 65% of municipal waste by 2035. Moreover, according to the SDGs, the target is to reduce food waste production to 50%.

    On the contrary, an efficient separated collection process is needed to reuse food waste as fertilizer and soil improver. Even though benefitting from a noticeable growing during the last years, the percentage of biowaste composted has not even reached the 20%, being the majority of biowaste produced incinerated or landfilled.

    Clear criteria about compostable or biodegradable products are also needed, in addition to defined systems to conveniently separate and treat bio-waste fraction and quality standards process to produce compost, digestate, and soil improvers.

    Some guides, such as the one created by the Fertile Auro association and published by Zero Waste Europe, guide the collective work to be carried out by those communities that wish to implement composting actions, foreseeing incidents, and recommending key figures such as the master composter. 

                                                             

    - Food donation

    Redistributing the portion of surplus food production to the more than 800 million hungry people in the world seems an excellent way to alleviate hunger while reducing food waste generation.

    However, some barriers hinder this virtuous connection. These include producers' fears about their responsibility for food safety, the cost of transport, the taxes associated with the redistribution process, and the uncertainty and confusion about use-by dates. A study has mapped these obstacles, demonstrating that legislation and policy can positively reduce food waste and food insecurity when adequately aligned with these objectives. Food donation can offer solutions to this critical paradox through win-win policies. The project includes comparative graphs of donations in different countries and a collection of valuable materials to explore this challenge in depth.

    In their different versions, Food Banks are the instrument that most frequently intervenes to make this connection possible. This happens in big cities, rural areas, small and medium-sized municipalities, as is the case of Emporio Solidale, an active member of the Local Group of the Unione dei Comuni della Bassa Romagna and an Italian partner of the FOOD CORRIDORS network.

    In this sense, food poverty has many hidden faces, and it is present in many individuals and families who are reluctant to go to food banks. However, their diet is insufficient, unhealthy, and unbalanced. That is why many cities are carrying out experiments to address this situation through instruments such as the "family card" in Madrid, the "gift card" in Riga, or by mapping the urban geography of food poverty as Paris is doing to fight against the so-called "food slums."

    In short, some critics are concerned about a practice that regularly redirects surplus food to low-income families, a kind of "leftover food for leftover people," instead of developing a specific anti-poverty and social agenda.

    4. EXPERIENCES FROM CITIES

    There are many cities that, through different actions, address the problem described here, as exposed at the extensive typology shown in the table below (EUROCITIES WGF, 2018).

     

    A particular example is the city of Milan which intervenes within its circular economy strategy through 4 axes related to food loss and waste:

    1) Promotion of education and information actions.

    2) Promotion of the circular economy in the food system.

    3) Promoting the recovery and redistribution of food waste by encouraging redistribution through collaboration between actors.

    4) Promoting more rational use of packaging.

    In practice, the city implements several innovative schemes:

    1. 20% Tax reduction for donated food losses

    In 2018 the municipality adopted a reduction on the waste tax for food losses donation. This new regulation aims to reduce 20% of the tax for the first year in favour of food businesses (supermarkets, restaurants, canteens, producers, etc.) that donate their food losses to charities.

    2. Getting school canteens involved

    To reduce the volume of waste associated with fruit served as a dessert in school canteens, an alternative has been designed: "morning break with fruit" which serves fruit as a snack. Other experiments carried out in school canteens have significantly reduced the volume of waste generated thanks to a change of model, as demonstrated by the BIOCANTEENS project.

    3. Collection of biowaste for compost and biogas

    The city of Milan has an ambitious policy of collecting biowaste to produce compost and biogas. In 2014, 51% of waste has been collected separately (compared to 36.7% in 2012), containing 1.7 kg/person of organic waste per week, or 90 kg/person per year.

    4. Local Food Waste Hub

    The city has led to an agreement between the University and a private association that brings together supermarkets and companies with canteens to develop a pilot project to redistribute food losses in some of the city's neighbourhoods, with the municipality providing the reception space.

    5. A new concept of food market to boost the circular transition

    The city of Milan owns a set of 23 covered markets. In the European REFLOW project, a pilot plan is being implemented to offer sustainable solutions to these local markets, aligned with the city's circular economy vision. The project designs and tests logistical solutions, disseminates circular practices, traces the origin and quality of products, and analyses the interaction between rural and urban areas of the territory.

    To carry out these and other initiatives, the city of Milan has structured its policies around institutional gearing and different resources, as shown in the following graph (EUROCITIES WGF, 2018).

           

    Other good practices developed by cities such as Athens, Barcelona, Burgas, Ghent, Linköping or Birmingham are detailed in the Guide published by Eurocities and MUFPP, Food Losses and Waste in European Cities.

    On another note, innovative initiatives are emerging from the private and social sectors to reuse this food waste, such as BELLA DENTRO, LAST MINUTE SOTTO CASA and REGUSTO in Italy FRUTA FEIA in Portugal, other international ones such as TO GOOD TO GO or OLIO.

    5. FINAL RECOMMENDATIONS

    The strategy to implement an effective food waste management policy is in line with the fight against Climate Change, while at the same time allowing to address the challenges of Sustainable Development Goals such as 2 (Zero hunger), 3 (Good health and well-being), 12 (Responsible consumption and production) or 13 (Climate Action).

    Some actions to support or initiate these policies from cities should be based on some previous facilitators:

    1) Measurement. There is no regularised and standardised body of knowledge that provides the necessary data to guide these policies. The more we measure, the better we will know the problem and how to tackle its change. This objective should equally affect different administrative scales (national, regional, or local) and different actors involved in the system (from institutions, business companies, households, etc.) measuring waste and looking for explanations.

    2) Raising awareness. We need to understand both individually and collectively why we waste food in this way. Information and education must accompany this process of analysis and design of alternative strategies. Awareness-raising is the main policy option developed by many European Cities.

    Love Food, Hate Waste is a successful communication initiative developed by WRAP in the UK. It focusses on people who have already or are looking to take action, providing practical tips and advice. The website offers recipes, advice, and tools, such as the Portion Planner, Food Storage A–Z, and the Chill the Fridge Out temperature checker tool, all of which are making a real difference and influencing people’s behaviour. At the other end of the spectrum, Wasting Food: It's Out Of Date is about motivating those who don't yet know or care about the issue of wasting food.

                                                               

    3) Economic and financial measures. The goal is to reduce food waste through incentives or other market-based instruments such as taxes or subsidies, all of which are seen as valuable instruments to change consumption patterns towards more sustainable practices. For example, in Italy, VAT reductions have been applied to sales of surplus food. In Spain, the city of Gijón, in its Municipal Waste Management Plan, includes the implementation of a tax payment system proportional to the volume of food waste generated, a "pay-as-you-throw" system using information technologies for intelligent data capture.

    4) Regulation. Existing legislation and regulations probably need to be adapted to make them more useful and practical for implementation and compliance by the multiple private actors, taking care and protecting the public good of food.

    In a similar way, companies in the food sector, at their different stages, should be clearly aware of and benefit from economic profits associated to a reduction of losses and spills along the value chain.

    In countries such as the Czech Republic, France, Italy or Poland, progress has been made in recent years in banning the destruction of unsold food, forcing its redistribution via donations or use for composting together with other solutions in line with the European hierarchy of food surplus management. Often, voluntary agreements between parties can replace regulatory measures.

    In addition, certification and labelling initiatives can be an excellent incentive to carry out food waste monitoring and reduction measures by the parties involved, especially companies. They can also be an essential element to be considered in public procurement actions by institutions. In Denmark, a public-private-social partnership has created the ReFood Label, which functions as a green label and recognises organisations and companies active in reducing food waste.

                                                                   

    Finally, clarification of date labelling should be an effective regulatory instrument in the relationship between production, distribution, and consumption. In Norway, a positive example has been set with the inclusion of a stamp on the packaging of eggs by one producer stating "best before, but not bad after" to combat food waste.

    5) Plans and projects. In a balanced way, the development of projects should follow the EU food waste hierarchy's logic, prioritising the objectives linked to prevention and reduction actions, guaranteeing the adequate availability of resources, generally oriented towards investments in infrastructures, installations, and treatment equipment.

    As some are already demonstrating, cities must be key policy partners in addressing food waste in an integrated way. For this, they need adequate funding from states and other transnational bodies. In addition to prevention and reduction, two areas of waste management require special attention because of their co-benefits. First, by encouraging solutions based on composting and digestate where training and pilot projects can be of great help. And secondly, with the intensification of social and economic crises that impoverish large sections of the population, promoting policies for the collection and redistribution of loss and food waste. In this case, collaboration with the production, processing and marketing sector must be combined with the participation of social initiatives that have been set up, many of them thanks to the support of European projects and almost always with an important technological base and digital presence.

    Through these pilot plans and actions, cities can set specific food waste reduction targets, in line with SDG 12.3.

     

    6) Stakeholder participation. Both individual and collective, participatory-based solutions need to be promoted, including incentives for good practice. Many redistribution platforms are based on collaborative arrangements involving retailers and catering companies with volunteer groups, NGOs, and institutions. The impact is visible and easy to monitor, although it must be ensured that the necessary resources are available to guarantee the storage or delivery of fresh produce.

    A good guide of activities to start preventing waste food is proposed by the British non-profit organisation WRAP, including precise recommendations to initiate prevention, planning, behavioural change, communication, etc.

     

    This article has been written in parallel to the process of designing Integrated Action Plans by the partner cities of the FOOD CORRIDORS network.  It is intended to provide information to inspire their proposals for action. A more practical version of these contents will be tested in transnational workshops of the network. Further articles will be published in the coming months in line with the FOOD CORRIDORS theme described in the Baseline Study of the Project.

    * Antonio Zafra is the Lead Expert of the FOOD CORRIDORS network

    By the same author: "Closing loops in local food systems" (URBACT, 2021).

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  • Food for thought in URBACT cities: the broad effects of eating local

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    15/11/2022

    How can improving local food kick-start the systemic transition of a city and its surrounding territory?

    Articles
    Food

    Food is a hot topic for cities and stimulates a lot of citizen initiatives in urban contexts: street vegetable boxes, community orchards, public garden-planting, window gardening, etc. But despite the growing enthusiasm among residents of saturated cities to grow their own food, the quantity of food produced by these initiatives remains limited... The core interest lies in their symbolic value and potential to spark change: (re-)engaging populations disengaged from food, building cities’ food sovereignty, strengthening local resilience and, in return, fostering improvements in city governance.

    Food has been a core topic of multiple URBACT networks over the years. Recent examples among URBACT III Transfer Networks include: BeePathNet, disseminating Ljubljana’s (SI) urban bee system; BioCanteens, building on Mouans-Sartoux’s (FR) 100% local and organic school canteens; and RU:RBAN, sharing Rome’s (IT) methods for supporting community gardens. All shared their experiences in a ‘Food storytelling battle’ at the June 2021 URBACT Festival.

    What are the important transfer outcomes for partner cities engaged in these food-related URBACT networks? How can food issues kick-start the systemic transition of a city and its surrounding territory? How is this consensual and appealing topic of food in the city fostering the transformation of city governance? URBACT Expert François Jégou investigates.

    Engaging whole cities with food

    Modern cities developed around cars, and disconnected from food, as Carolyn Steel’s famous book Hungry City, How Food Shapes Our Lives, made clear in 2008. She and others, including AESOP, the Association of European Schools of Planning, make the case for sustainable food planning, involving diverse people, from planners, policy-makers, politicians and health professionals, to local farmers, food businesses and associations. The first outcome of these URBACT Transfer Networks is certainly to raise city residents’ awareness of local food production and consumption.

    © City of Krakow

    “One of the steps that can be taken is implementing school gardens in each school.”
    Katarzyna Przyjemska, Krakow (PL)

    BeePathNet’s coordinator Maruška Markovčič explains: “The most important thing that Ljubljana did was to put the bees and other pollinators at the beginning of the food chain and created the whole system of preservation, education and awareness raising. We introduced the late mowing to the public green areas to upgrade biodiversity in living spaces for pollinators. We encourage people to plant ‘melliferous’ plants and create green roofs all over the city.” The city’s services and residents feel more closely linked with nature and food cycles – and are proud to play an active role.

    Katarzyna Przyjemska from Krakow (PL) states how the urban gardening focus of the RU:RBAN Transfer Network is key for inhabitants of cities to reclaim food issues. “The future of the earth is in our children’s hands. I guess nowadays no one doubts the truth of that statement, but how can we do that, since children are becoming more and more distant from nature? One of the steps that can be taken is implementing school gardens in each school. Having that kind of green classroom, we can enable them to observe nature every day and moreover take part in it. This personal commitment will pay off in a real intense connection with nature.”

    Healthy and sustainable food is a popular topic in cities. Enjoyed by all and affecting everyone, food constitutes an easy, tangible entry point to engage citizens in broader local transition. City partners in the BioCanteens network took a food-systems approach. They saw how improving primary school canteens not only highlights the benefits of providing healthy, high-quality food to young children – influencing families’ food habits  – but also leads to knock-on effects in a broad range of connected areas. BioCanteens questioned ‘who feeds Mouans-Sartoux?’, investigating agricultural resources with organic certification in the surrounding area. They looked at land preservation in urban planning and opportunities for developing a local farming economy.

    This was a step towards the recent signature of the Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration, “A commitment by subnational governments to tackle the climate emergency through integrated food policies and a call on national governments to act”.

    Building food sovereignty

    The recent challenges of globalisation seem to be confirming cities more and more clearly as the right level to act and initiate change, as for instance stressed in 2016 by the European Commission and UN-Habitat report ‘The State of European Cities, Cities leading the way to a better future’. In food, as in other areas, cities are taking measures to boost their sovereignty.

    © City of Mouans-Sartoux

    “Focusing primary school canteens reaches out to the children’s families, influencing their food habits.”
    Thibaud Lalanne, Mouans-Sartoux, (FR)

    As Thibaud Lalanne, BioCanteens network coordinator, illustrates, relatively small cities such as Mouans-Sartoux (population 9 500) and its network partners acknowledge they can innovate and solve many of their own problems by themselves. “In 2008, when the elected representative of Mouans-Sartoux decided to switch to the 100% of organic local school canteens they faced a major issue: there were actually no local organic producers. We were able to put out a call for tender because we had a production gap in our province. In 2010, the elected representatives of the city, almost as a joke said, ‘well if no one applies, well actually we will produce food by ourselves’. Which led to the creation of this municipal farm. This is how the story begun and we actually celebrated the 10th year of this municipal farm.”

    Tiago Ferreira from Amarante (PT), one of the transfer cities in BeePathNet, listed seven reasons why beekeeping has been a key topic for his city’s empowerment: “Promoting beekeeping is at the same time promoting the economy and promoting sustainability […]. It is an economic activity where workers feel fulfilled and contribute to make happier cities […]. Good beekeepers could be people with or without remarkable academic backgrounds […]. It could be an extra earning source for people that have other jobs […]. Honey and other beehive products can be transformed into added value products […]. They generate touristic routes and experiences that can attract new customers […] and a friendly territory for bees will make you gain benefits on some agricultural productions.”

    “Beekeeping is extra earning source for beekeepers, economic activity and touristic development for the city.”
    Tiago Ferreira, Amarante (PT)
    © City of Amarante

    BioCanteens cities made the most of their URBACT connections to raise their Final Event to the European level, stating that for some advanced cities the “COP26 is already happening” and inviting other cities to “Join the Movement of European Cities Engaged for Food Democracy and Sovereignty”. The cooperation continues with a session on “Integrated local food systems to tackle climate change: URBACT’s lessons and actions” organised by URBACT on 19 October 2021 at the Barcelona 7th global forum of the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact.

    Strengthening city resilience

    Based on their experiences, cities in BioCanteens, BeePathNet and RU:RBAN, say that strengthening local food systems results in a direct increase in local food resilience.

    © City of Troyan

    “The municipal farm, the first of its kind in Bulgaria, is a tool to supply canteens, to create jobs and to educate the children.”
    Teresa Georgey, Troyan (BG)

    From Troyan (BG), a city partner in BioCanteens that created its own municipal farm during the project, Teresa Georgey explains: “Although Troyan is situated in a rural and mountainous area with much less pressure on land than Mouans-Sartoux, we decided to do the same because we were also facing a lack of organic producers to supply our school canteens. The municipal farm, the first of its kind in Bulgaria, is a tool to supply canteens, to create jobs and to educate the children who can visit the municipal farm, as well as to educate the elected representatives, because they can see what a city can do to feed its own population and can start thinking in broader terms.”

    The Covid crisis has revealed marked differences in the ability of cities to maintain high-quality food supplies for their most deprived residents by supporting local food production.

    © City of Rome

    “The strong sense of belonging each gardener had and the strong sense of community in community gardens.”
    Silvia Cioli, Ad’hoc expert RU:RBAN network

    Silvia Cioli, ad hoc Expert for the RU:RBAN network, stressed how urban gardens played a key role in supporting inhabitants during the pandemic, both reducing food poverty and strengthening mental health. After meeting a photographer observing Ortonorte gardeners in the north of Rome, she recalls: He was impressed by the community in the urban garden on how differences disappeared among all the people that were going there (social, gender, generation, etc.) and also the strong sense of belonging of each gardener, and the strong sense of the community in times characterised by isolation […].”

    This is a story that tells us about urban gardens as not only a place where people grow food but […] they really bring people back to nature, reconnecting them through food.”


    To find out more about URBACT capitalisation activities, visit the URBACT Food Knowledge Hub. Listen to the Interreg ‘This is Europe’ podcast on ‘Feeding Our Future Generations’, featuring URBACT and Mouans-Sartoux. And sign the Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration!

     

    This article is part of URBACT’s series exploring latest challenges in sustainable urban development, based on discussions with cities and experts at the 2021 URBACT City Festival. Topics range from community participation in urban renewal and gender in public procurement, to cities tackling climate change. View highlights of the 2021 URBACT City Festival.

     

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