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CLEVERFOOD facilitates a society-wide mobilisation of European citizens, including children and youth, farmers, entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, educators, knowledge brokers and policy makers to transform the European food system in alignment with the EU Food 2030 Policy Framework, Farm to Fork Strategy and Fit for 55 Package.

The current food system contributes to 30% of the European share of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with 24% alone coming from animal-based food and 6% from food loss and waste. The need for arable soil to grow crops for feeding livestock results in high pressure on land use, biodiversity, and water resources. Furthermore, unhealthy diets are linked with several non - communicable diseases that contribute to more than 70% of all deaths in Europe. 

More sustainable and plant-based food production and consumption is the most effective way to reduce GHG emissions and other impacts from the food system and will also benefit human health. However, despite increased acknowledgment of the need for a sustainable food system transformation, dietary change is limited, and many farmers and other food system actors are hesitant to support a transition toward a more sustainable and plant-based food system. Furthermore, the need for food aid solutions continues to rise due to ongoing crises and increasing poverty, migration, and refugees.

The overarching objective of CLEVERFOOD is to mobilize all European food system stakeholders at the local, regional, national, and supra-national levels to develop transformative governance models that shift the food system towards more sustainable, resilient, and regenerative food production and consumption that remains within planetary boundaries thus contributes to keeping global average temperature increases to below 1.5 °C;  and, at the same time, ensure proper nutrition and healthy diets for citizens, improve circularity and resource use efficiency, boost innovation, and empower communities.

The CLEVERFOOD objective will be achieved by developing and deploying a pan-European Food 2030 multi-actor and public engagement mechanism to:

  1. Provide targeted and complementary support for ongoing, new, and upcoming European projects, partnerships, and networks;
  2. Facilitate shared learning in an interlinked and self-sustaining multi-level structure of connected Policy Labs and Living Labs. 

In these labs, farmers, entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, educators, knowledge brokers, industry leaders, and policymakers will work together with empowered citizens across Europe to co-create the sustainable and more plant-based food system of the future.

The pan-European Food 2030 multi-actor and public engagement mechanism will be developed based on mutual learning and by performing a thorough analysis of the experiences, successes, and failures of the different types of policy labs, city labs, and living labs included in the four EU projects: FIT4FOOD2030, FOODSHIFT, FOOD TRAILS, and FUSILLI. An interlinked structure will connect all policy labs and living labs from ongoing, new, and upcoming European food system projects, partnerships, and networks. 

Athena’s role 
The Athena Institute is a beneficiary partner in the CLEVERFOOD project because of its expertise in transformative food system governance, multi-actor engagement, higher education teaching, and previous experiences as coordinator of FIT4FOOD2030, partner in FUSILLI, CITIES2030, DOMINO, FOSTER, and TRUSTyFOOD, and coordinator of the FoodCLIC project. The Athena team participates in five CLEVERFOOD work packages and has the lead in the work package ‘Public Engagement and Citizen Empowerment’.

Project details