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EU-funded Food Trails Project calls for submissions to improve sustainability of food systems in 11 European cities

young woman with glasses smiling
3 min read
AUTHOR: Fiona Holland
Aerial photo of Bosco Verticale, Vertical Forest, in Milan, Porta Nuova district.

The Municipality of Milan and the Italian innovation centre Cariplo Factory are calling on start-ups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to come up with new ways to boost food systems in 11 European cities as part of the EU’s Food Trails Project.

Food Trails’ ‘Sustainable Food Systems – Call for Solutions’ initiative will help European cities design, improve and implement sustainable, healthy and inclusive food policies.

Funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme, the four-year project will bring together a consortium of partners made up of three universities: Cardiff University, Roskilde University in Denmark, and Wageningen University in the Netherlands, as well as the organisations Euro Cities, Slow Food International, and EAT.

The 11 partner cities involved in the project are: Warsaw in Poland, Tirana in Albania, Thessaloniki in Greece, Groningen in the Netherlands, Grenoble Alpes and Bordeaux Métropole in France, Funchal in Portugal, Copenhagen in Denmark, Birmingham in the UK, and Bergamo and Milan in Italy.

The selected participants will have the opportunity to build their pilot projects at ‘Living Labs’ located across the 11 cities. Here, they’ll be able to collaborate with key stakeholders in the European food system and innovation sector, as well as meet with potential investors.

Start-ups and SMEs can apply to help develop innovative solutions and services in seven thematic areas:

  • Education and training: finding ways to improve the food knowledge of citizens and students through local training, programmes, workshops, and cooking classes.
  • Communication and involvement: helping to encourage civic communities to engage in conversations around food systems and food waste.
  • Reducing food waste: developing new solutions for managing and limiting food waste and improving food logistics and distribution.
  • Collecting and monitoring data: boosting and digitising data collection methods to improve monitoring of the food chain.
  • Access to healthy food and production processes: making it easier for everyone to access healthy and sustainable diets and finding new ways to promote these diets, especially towards vulnerable groups.
  • Urban agriculture and vegetable gardens: finding ways to increase agricultural efficiency and food production by developing better productivity models.
  • Food packaging: creating sustainable packaging using new materials that are easy to recycle.  

The deadline for applications is 16 February 2023. For the first round, SMEs and start-ups will be selected by a technical committee, made up of the Cariplo Factory, the Municipality of Milan, the Stichting Wageningen Research foundation and representatives from the European partner cities.

Those chosen at this stage will take part in a Matchmaking Day in the first quarter of 2023, followed by a final phase, where the selected finalists will be able to create their Food Trails pilot project.

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