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Athena Institute kicks off 12 million euro EU project FOODCLIC

31 August 2022
Horizon Europe project FOODCLIC is kicking off on September 1st. The Athena Institute at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is coordinator of this 12 million euro project. Together with 26 partners across Europe they aim to make urban food systems more inclusive and resilient, and empower citizens to access healthier foods that are produced in a sustainable way.

Urban food systems’ challenges
Urban areas, where three-quarters of Europe’s population live, struggle to provide affordable, sustainably produced, healthy food. Promising local initiatives often fail to become embedded and reach deprived and vulnerable groups, due to siloed ways of working and fragmentation of knowledge and policies.

Multi-stakeholder approach
FOODCLIC addresses these issues by developing sustainable urban food systems supported by integrated food policies, using a multi-stakeholder approach. FOODCLIC will strengthen food policy networks in eight city regions, including 45 cities across Europe (Amsterdam, Aarhus, Barcelona, Berlin, Brasov, Budapest, Lucca, Lisbon). These will bring stakeholders from diverse backgrounds together; from policy makers, urban planners and researchers, to farmers, entrepreneurs and citizens. They will collaborate in real-life innovation spaces, called Living Labs. Simultaneously, the project will train and support policy makers and urban planners. Ultimately, this will empower citizens to access, afford and choose healthier and more sustainable foods. After 2 years the project will expand to another eight city-regions in Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. Results will be disseminated via workshops, an online Knowledge Hub, partners’ networks and by extending the novel policy practices to many other cities across Europe and Africa.

Project coordinator Prof. Jacqueline Broerse: “Such a multi-stakeholder approach is crucial in solving complex societal issues like these, as interventions focused on one aspect will affect numerous other areas as well. These consequences can only be foreseen if the views and experiences of all actors are included in research and innovation. This enables adequate anticipation and development of strategies to overcome barriers.”

Building on sister project FUSILLI
Sister project FUSILLI works towards the same objective as FOODCLIC. They set up Living Labs in 12 European cities that create a knowledge sharing network, including an online platform. The Athena Institute, one of the 34 partners varying from universities and NGOs to cities and industries, facilitates reflexive learning processes through interviews and creative workshops. Moreover, the institute investigates successful examples of urban food system practices and policies, to develop best practices that feed into the online knowledge platform.

The Athena Institute as expert on EU Food System Transformation
The Athena Institute leads and participates in various large EU projects that work towards Food System Transformation. While the institute finalized FIT4FOOD2030 in January 2021, FUSILLI kicked off that same year. Two other projects, TRUSTyFOOD and FOSTER, are kicking off together with FOODCLIC, while another two projects, CLEVERFOOD and DOMINO, will start beginning of next year. More information about these projects will follow soon.

The projects all have a slightly different focus – from urban areas and knowledge & innovation systems, to blockchain and microbes –  but they all aim to foster food system transformations through Athena’s expertise: involving multiple stakeholders and disciplines in research and innovation processes, using a system innovation approach.