Meet the nine FoodSHIFT 2030 Accelerator Labs

27 April 2020

The FoodSHIFT 2030 project is leading an ambitious citizen-driven transition of the European food system towards a low carbon, circular future, including a shift to less meat and more plant-based diets. The FoodSHIFT 2030 approach focuses on supporting innovation towards a fast transition of the European food system by 2030, which is necessary in order to address the pressing challenges for food and nutrition security, contribute to the EU commitment of reducing GHG emissions by at least 40% by 2030, and revitalize urban-rural linkages and partnerships to secure the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. To accomplish this, FoodSHIFT 2030 has established nine citizen-driven FoodSHIFT Accelerator Labs in city-regions across Europe. The FoodSHIFT Accelerator Labs are open innovation living labs, featuring multidisciplinary collaboration between key food system stakeholders from private companies, local governments, research institutions and civil society. The Labs will play a key role in knowledge collection and sharing in the FoodSHIFT 2030 project development (read more about the FoodSHIFT 2030 project here).


The nine citizen-driven FoodSHIFT 2030 Accelerator Labs


Open School Lab, Greater Athens, Greece

Schools as sites of food experience and food system transformation.

The Open School Lab will be exploring new ways to approach the increasing divide between food consumption and food knowledge. This will be done through engaging with schools in order to (re-)connect young citizens with the land, strengthening the link between rural and urban communities and creating hands-on learning experiences. These activities will promote plant-based and healthy eating.

Open School Lab encourages empowerment, social innovation, the development of new dialogues through food networks, and innovative solutions to prevent and re-use leftover food. The Lab will host a five-day summer school guiding 20 teachers with tools on how to reconnect students with the land, this can then inspire students to continue in working within sustainable professions later in life. The Lab also aims to reduce school and canteen food waste by 15% by 2024, with over half of the schools aiming to continue with the project post-project lifetime.

The Lab will follow on existing innovation schemes of sustainable food-related curriculums and continue with local community hands-on food approaches. The Lab has also had experience raising awareness of the FOOD 2030 EC Policy within its distributed food networks.

This Lab works towards SDGs 2,3,4,11,12,13,17 & 6.


Regional Lunch for All, Avignon, France 

Public procurement as a driver for a more regional, sustainable, and healthy food system. 

Regional Lunch for All Lab in Avignon will focus on connecting consumers to local producers, through driving social innovations concerning processing, distribution, and marketing of regional food. In connecting the public to local producers, the Regional Lunch for All Lab will promote more plant-based food choices, quality labels, increase the presence of local & organic food in school canteens, and accessibility to local and fresh food for all. 

The Lab will bring entrepreneurs and citizens closer to food waste, challenging citizens to upcycle and transform leftovers. The Lab will promote the usage of a quality label to valorize local produce whilst increase accessibility to healthy produce. The Lab will also increase organic and local produce in school canteens and adapt these meals to children’s needs to avoid food waste.  

The Avignon region is the 1st productive area in France for fruit and vegetables, with several schemes in place that increase and support small retailers, including the Provence region which pioneered AMAP – consumer associations supporting small local producers. 

This Lab works towards SDGs 2,3,4,9,11,12 & 17. 


Food Tech 3.0, Barcelona, Spain

Solutions for local production in future cities.  

The Food Tech 3.0 Lab will develop and test open source technology that can facilitate the management, monitoring, socialization, and efficiency of food production in cities. This will build upon the Labs previous experience with the hardware and software of the lab partners – Smart Citizen, Robots in Microfarms, Nextfood and GROW.  

The Food Tech 3.0 Lab will work with the municipality to promote existing and new innovations within food technology, offering required support and training. This lab will identify the potential scalability of ‘flagship food technologies’ under the aims of the ‘locally productive, globally connected’ city.  

This Lab has a strong connection with the municipality and the network of Fab Labs in Barcelona and globally. This, paired with the Food Tech 3.0 Lab will help to establish a strong vision for productive cities, supported by open source food production methodologies. 

This Lab works towards SDGs 2,3,8,9,11 & 17. 


Back to the Land Lab, Bari, Italy 

Sustainable land use and food chain strategies for young entrepreneurs building on social innovation in food systems. 

The Back to the Land Lab in Italy will encourage entrepreneurship and innovation through the activation of abandoned land in the city region. This promotes short supply chains and re-localization of food whilst procuring sustainable employment and experience opportunities. 

This Lab will use a developed incubator to encourage youth entrepreneurship and market experience to distribute and sell food products. This capacity-building model will include 10 start-ups and the involvement of over 100 citizens, activating space previously disregarded and supporting the ethical and sustainable use of land whilst creating employment opportunities within the metropolitan city of Bari.  

The metropolitan city has an existing database of abandoned land which will be used to situate the project, alongside progressive developments of laws and regulations which pursue social inclusion and sustainable food. 

This Lab works towards SDGs 1,2,3,4,8,9,11,12,13,15 & 17. 


Food Life Centre Lab, Berlin, Germany 

An innovation hub for sustainable regional food supply based on a decentralization concept for food distribution and education. 

The Food Life Centre Lab will establish an urban food hub prototype in the former Tempelhof airport. This aims to catalyze sustainable food transitions in the Berlin/Brandenberg region and promote the development of further food hubs. The food hub will provide space for food production, trade, sharing, preparation, consumption, education, and research.  

This will empower communities to develop sustainable food practices whilst creating open infrastructures that offer access to healthy produce, create new jobs, and highlight the need for a diverse range of professions in urban food societies – from policymakers, to traders, to citizen-consumers.  

This Lab works towards SDGs 2,3,4,8,9,11,13 & 17. 


Interactive Food Lab, Brasov, Romania

Integrating traditional and local producers into an innovative and ambitious regional food system. 

The Interactive Food Lab will work on integrating small-scale local producers into the supply chain and maximize the gastronomic heritage and potential of the Brasov region. This will foster a more localized food economy which is focused on plant-based nutrition and customer accessibility to products. 

This will be done via the development of innovation in marketing and supply chain management with a focus on ICT. This, in turn, will strengthen the socio-economic resilience of small farmers with innovative products, whilst also working on public innovation and healthier food lifestyles.  

The Brasov region, in particular, the Association of Producers for Traditional Products (APPT), has previous experience developing branding for local farmers and restaurants, whilst co-operatives have developed a regional brand for milk. The region has also seen an increased focus on plant-based lifestyles.  

This Lab works towards SDGs 2,3,9,11,13 & 17.  

Kitchen of Tomorrow, Greater Copenhagen, Denmark. 

Public procurement and professional kitchens for a sustainable regional food system, including rural and coastal areas.

The Kitchen of Tomorrow Lab aims to reconnect urban and rural areas, climate-friendly and seasonal food strategies through combining food system innovations to provide sustainable, healthy, high quality, affordable and diversified local food for canteens, public kitchens and restaurants in Greater Copenhagen. This will empower citizens, create new jobs, and sustain livability in both rural, urban, and coastal areas.  

The Kitchen of Tomorrow Lab will use capacity building programs and gastronomy to support the shift to plant-based food systems. This Lab aims to promote food system sustainability from production to consumption in a circular context, through shifting to 95% organic produce in canteens by 2024, creating new food sector jobs, and expanding partnerships. This builds upon existing co-operatives implementing food system solutions in three different municipalities in Copenhagen.   

This Lab works towards SDGs 2,3,8,9,11,12,13 & 17. 


City Agro-Park Lab, Ostend, Belgium 

Operationalisation of an agricultural park. 

The City Agro-Park Lab will work on a self-sufficient agricultural park which will strengthen the link between producers and consumers. The dynamic park will produce high-quality education for chefs on regional food, short supply chains and food waste; create links between local fisheries to sell their produce in city markets and combat poverty through creating new opportunities to support vulnerable groups.  

This is the first of its kind development in Belgium, which hopes to inspire other Agro-Park Labs. This Lab will elevate the local food dynamic by linking SME’s and citizen-driven sustainable food projects. 

This Lab works towards SDGs 1,2,3,4,9,11,12,13 & 17.


Accessible Food Gardens Lab, Wroclaw, Poland 

Strengthening of innovation potential of local sustainable food system. 

The Accessible Food Gardens Lab will promote and support the sustainable adoption of plant-based food practices. This will be done through various workshops that address consumers, restauranteurs, food producers, and the implementation of these strategies in urban gardens. The Accessible Food Gardens Lab will increase accessibility to food gardens and links between different social groups, provide education and capacity building programs for aspiring gardeners whilst supporting material needs – tools, toolboxes, and seedlings.  

This promotes social responsibility and innovation within urban ecosystems and increases environmental awareness with tested, practical, citizen-driven approaches to food system change, from edible gardens, permaculture, pollinator courses, to zero waste workshops within a Circular Economy framework.  

This Lab works towards SDGs 2,3,4,9,11,12 & 17.  

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Written by Emily Whyman