The URBACT Thematic Network “Sustainable Food in Urban Communities” is a project involving 10 European cities that wish to grow, deliver and enjoy more sustainable food: they are looking for joint, effective and sustainable solutions to develop low-carbon and resource-efficient urban food systems.

The 10 partners are:

> Brussels Environment of the Brussels Capital
Region (Lead Partner) (Belgium),
> the Bristol City Council (United Kingdom),
> City of Messina (Italy),
> the Municipality of Amersfoort (Netherlands),
> the City of Lyon (France),
> the City of Göteborg (Sweden),
> Vaslui Municipality (Romania),
> Ourense City Council (Spain),
> City of Oslo (Norway) and
> Athens development and destination
management agency sa (Greece).


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Indeed, the food sector alone accounts for over 30% of global consumer energy demand and produces over 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions (FAO 2011).The urban population tends to be out of touch with agricultural production, and the city food culture increasingly moves towards fast food, processed foods, distributed by large centralised supermarket chains that are not rooted in the life of city neighbourhoods. Many consumers, especially, those with low incomes, eat too little fruit and vegetables because of the cost but also because it is not part of their culture and habits.

Today, more than 50% of the world population lives in cities and by 2050, urban centres will gather more than 80%. Meanwhile, per capita calorie consumption in the EU27 exceeds daily requirements by 36% since the early 1990s.

The current food system cannot meet this growing food demand of cities sustainably. It results in significant environmental impacts, but also social inequity in terms of access to balanced and affordable nutritious food in cities.


The network will focus on:

GROWING fruit and vegetable in the city, in gardens, in parks, on rooftops, on balconies, on derelict lands, etc., safeguarding & improving fertility of lands

DELIVERING food stuffs in a more sustainable and less carbon intensive way.

ENJOYING more sustainable food (local products, without pesticides, seasonal and fresh products, etc.)accessible for all the population while improving diets (reducing the share of animal protein and processed foods), using products that meet environmental and sustainability criteria (certification), and preventing waste (food and its packaging).


The network will be active from May 2012 to April 2015:
– At city level: establish a Local Support Group with stakeholders to draw up a Local Action Plan for Sustainable Food in each partner city.
– At network level: exchange with network partners through workshops and conferences on sustainable food to produce joint outputs and feed local action plans.
– At URBACT programme level: exchange and learn with partners from other URBACT networks at capacity building seminars, annual conferences, summer university…
– Across Europe: exchange and share knowledge about urban sustainable food strategies with Cities and other interested parties across Europe through a newsletter, conferences, online publications…


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