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Wanted: Food for the Future

  • Published on October 2, 2018
The Province of Flemish Brabant, Rikolto, retailer Colruyt Group, University College UCLL and Universi-ty of Leuven together with young people, experts, farmers, etc. look for ways to feed a growing global population in a sustainable way. We wish to fuel the debate by bringing together people from the business community, governments, consumers and civil-society organisations, and literally ‘feed’ the debate by putting 3 sustainable future-proof products in the spotlight.
Common goal, different perspective – The project started from a systems approach by bringing 5 complementary partners together. The main objective of the project is to feed the debate on the future of our food (systems) and to raise awareness among a wide public, incl. youth (the future consumer). Expected outcomes are: 1) Encouraging all partners to enter into a constructive debate, and to do so without reservations or taboos, by collectively challenging the different perspectives and putting the most pressing questions that arise from practice on the table. 2) Creating an experimental and open setting that reinforces change to happen in the own work domain of the each partner: well-documented action-research by the academic partners contributes to a dissemination of lessons learned on multi-stakeholder projects and the development of sustainable agricultural value chains, within and amongst partners and other organisations. 3) Each partner has a specific and wide outreach. Together, we could reach out to almost 65 000 students in Flanders. Colruyt Group has a market share of 32% and thus a vast reach within the Belgian consumer market. Evidently, we focussed on communication through the partner organisations (newspapers, social media, brochures and reports) to raise awareness and disseminate the lessons learned. Innovation from practice - The involvement of citizens and consumers is crucial for the entire project. Youngsters today are the consumers and changemakers of tomorrow. They provide input for product development and scientific research, participate in taste panels, tell the story and critically review the project. Expected outcomes are: 1) Boosting entrepreneurial initiative of young people and materialising common dreams, to shape their own future proof food system and inspire communities. 2) Nourishing the global debate from practice. 3 products (seaweed, quinoa and pulses) were selected and research on these crops led to new products in supermarkets. 3) Embedding practical, societal challenges into educational trajectories and actively work together with students. Global story - Food for the Future transcends the traditional North-South division. Not only are the issues global, the food chains themselves are too. It makes sense for us to look for solutions that benefit everyone. After all, a nutritious and tasty end product begins with a healthy and honestly grown resource. Completed: 1) As from June 2018, a sustainably sourced bio tricoloured quinoa from Peru can be found on the shelves of all the supermarket stores of Colruyt Group. The result of a strong collaboration between Rikolto, Colruyt Group and Solid Peru (local partner). Colruyt Group engages itself to source the quinoa from the same cooperative for at least 3 years. 2) The consumption of pulses was promoted on the Belgian market through the development of newly created products (developed in co-creation with youngsters): chickpea-based pizza dough and a bean-based cocoa spread -> healthy alternatives to existing products. 3) Four-day workshops with young people (age 20-35 years old) have been held in Tanzania, Pe-ru, Indonesia and Belgium to stimulate entrepreneurial thinking, take action and inspire communities. 4) An educational module on Food for the Future targeted at school pupils has been developed and introduced in all Flemish schools. It inspires and guides teachers to work on this topic with their pupils. 5) Learnings and best practices on development of sustainable value chains were shared, as well as on new innovative ways of working together in a co-creation and multi-stakeholder setting. During an event, 210 people -representing different stakeholders- were present and actively engaged in dynamic discussions. 6) A PHD student (University of Leuven) wrote an academic and popular report with learnings of three years of collaboration in a multi-stakeholder setting. 7) University-college students during their educational trajectory were involved in research and development. Marketing students developed a mobile lab to engage with a wider public on the topic of food for the future, and graduate nutritionist and dietitian students looked into the possible applications of seaweed in the food industry. 8) A consumer survey was conducted to test the knowledge of the Flemish consumer about sustainable food. The poor results led to the publication of an informative newspaper in collaboration with scientific magazine EOS (in attachment); distribution: 40 000 units). Underway: 1) We initiated two pilot projects to work towards sustainable and transparent local seaweed supply chains for the local markets in Indonesia, in which Rikolto in Indonesia takes the lead. 2) Several awareness raising activities will be held in the coming months. 3) We will proactively look for a continuation of the project with the current partners, and explore new partnerships. 1) The project and its philosophy is well known and takes root within the different partner organisations, leading to more innovative multi stakeholder collaborations in the future. 2) The new quinoa chain directly affects 182 farmers in Ayacucho, Peru. The retailer Colruyt Group engages itself for at least three years, improving income and economic stability of Pe-ruvian smallholders. 3) Around 100 university college and university students have been involved in the project through their formation and education: scientific research, action research, internships, … actively shaping the project. 4) Over 150 young people from four different countries have participated in workshops on social entrepreneurship, initiated social entrepreneurial ventures and inspired their communities. 5) 210 people –representing different stakeholders- actively participated in a dynamic event where lessons learned were shared. 6) We were present at more than 20 public events to promote future proof crops (quinoa, seaweed, pulses) with innovative dishes reaching over 2000 consumers. 7) Well documented action-research was conducted by our academic partners and contributed to a dissemination of lessons learned on multi stakeholder projects, to raise awareness and inspire other actors and stakeholders along the food chain. 8) Due to the success of the focus on youth and entrepreneurial thinking Rikolto is defining a vision and strategy to make the programmes of Rikolto more youth inclusive. 1) After a successful first three years of working together, the partners want to continue their collaboration in a renewed project. We are looking at different perspectives, possibilities and funding opportunities. 2) The project is looking out for new partners who want to contribute in the search for future-proof food. 3) Contact for more information and/or proposals for future collaboration.

Supporting document(s)

final-report-wanted-food-for-the-future1.pdf Download
krantvoedingvdtoekomstklein.pdf Download
Project start date
Project end date

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