FOODLINKS final conference – Sustainable food communities of practice

On 16 October 2013 the FOODLINKS team organised the  conference Sustainable food communities of practice – meet and eat to present the results of its  three-year project. The conference focused on “Good cooperation between science, society and policy promotes sustainable food consumption and production” looking more particularly into:

  • How short food supply chains can effectively work as policy tools;
  • How to maximise the benefits of sustainable public procurement of food;
  • How to implement sustainable food strategies in European cities.

The conference made a special effort to actively engage the participants’ experience and knowledge in the field, and to verify the findings from the project. The conference experiences are summarised in the video below:

More about Foodlinks and the three action plans published:

Foodlinks is a collaborative project funded by the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Commission with the purpose of evaluating knowledge brokerage activities to promote sustainable food consumption and production: linking scientists, policymakers and civil society organizations. See the www.foodlinkscommunity.net for more information.

The project is being carried out by a consortium of 14 partners (universities, regional and local governments and civil society organizations) from 9 European countries. The issue central to the Foodlinks project is sustainable food production and consumption and is one for which there is a significant body of research. The aim of this project is to exploit the existing food research reservoir in novel and innovative ways in cooperation with researchers, policy makers and civil society organisations.

The Foodlinks project aims at developing and experimenting with new ways of linking research to policy-making in the field of sustainable food consumption and production. The project partners will leverage new technologies such as social media to balance the constraints imposed by geographic, cultural and hierarchical barriers. The core methodology involves collective learning among these groups and therefore requires a shared learning agenda with frequent opportunities to participate in conversation – virtual or otherwise – that will eventually reach out to an extended community, multiplying the knowledge pool further.

The Communities of Practice produced three plans of action that provide evidence how Short Food Supply Chains contribute to sustainability, on how to reorient public procurement practices in order to make them more sustainable, and how to support the development of Urban Food Strategies:

  1. Short Food Supply Chains: drivers of sustainable development. This document provides evidences on the diversity of short food supply chains in Europe and their contribution to sustainable rural development.
  2. Urban Food Strategies: the rough guide to sustainable food systems. This guide provides motivation and support for those actors interested in building more sustainable food systems in urban contexts
  3. Revaluing Public Sector Food Procurement in Europe – An Action Plan for Sustainability. This report reflects innovative approaches to public sector food procurement, and offers an Action Plan to encourage urban governments to engage in sustainable purchasing practices.

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