Re-shaping our food system. Better today than tomorrow!
A networking event took place on Friday, 20th January 2023. The local Food Policy Council of Gießen, the Municipality of Gießen and the chair for Food Sociology of the University of Gießen invited citizens interested in a food system transformation to join the event. More than 120 interested participants attended the first event of this kind in the town hall.
The mayor of the city welcomed the visitors and underlined the importance of a food system transformation as well as the possibilities that the municipality has in this regard.
Key note speaker was Dr. Susanne von Münchhausen (Food Policy Council, Frankfurt https://ernaehrungsrat-frankfurt.de/en/about-us/). She outlined possible drivers and barriers that enable a food system transformation. Based on results of a research project, she emphasized the necessity to include various actors as well as the role of food system diversification and motivated the audience to become active for change. Networks are crucial when it comes to innovate for change.
One way to accelerate a food system transformation is to increase the amount of organically and regionally produced healthy food in public catering for schools and other public canteens. A couple of local projects were presented during the networking event: one project educates children regarding food, food waste and cooking. It was coordinated by the municipality of Gießen and a major caterer of school canteens. Another project aims to create regional value chains for regionally produced organic products which are offered in school canteens. The audience was invited to join a first meeting on 23rd of February to search for opportunities on how to increase the amount of organic and regional food in public canteens.
Several local initiatives presented themselves and invited participants to get to know them during an exhibition. They invited the audience to also join their initiatives after the event.
After a break with very tasty soups and time to network and learn more about the initiatives the networking event continued with a presentation about the connections of organic farming and biodiversity, about seasonal gardens in Gießen, a potential House of Food and an initiative which empowers a whole city district by putting food in the centre of life in this district (besides others by public gardening and the initiation of a food cooperative).
It was a great, informative and motivating night, which hopefully brings momentum to a food system transformation in the municipality of Gießen and districts beyond.
The FOOdIVERSE project raises questions about the role of diversity in food systems. We presume that diverse food systems could be more resilient and more sustainable than homogeneous ones. But what makes the food system more diverse? Prof. Stefan Wahlen, presented our research on that topic at the Future of Food Symposium 2021 which was held by the Centre for Business in Society, Coventry University.