We feed the city Event

M City

We feed the city

By 2050 our planet will be home to nine billion people. By then, 3 out of 4 people will live in cities. All those people will need to be fed. Preferably with healthy, nutritious and sustainable food.

Join us in discussing new ways for cities to build a fair and future-proof food system!

On 6 December 2019, we invite you to get inspired and to inspire us.

(Update 12/12/19) Thanks for attending our "We Feed the City" event and thank you all for contributing to the different breakout sessions.

How do we solve the global food challenge in ever-growing cities? What solutions are already in the making?

Citizens and experts from civil society, local authorities, research organisations, and business will come and share their experience on how they are trying to change their local food systems in practice. Our speakers include guests from Belgium, Honduras, Vietnam, Indonesia, Brazil, the Netherlands, the USA, Tanzania, Ecuador and more.

How can we improve children’s health and nutrition at school? What role do food start-ups play in catalysing new food solutions? How can smallholder farmers get their products to city markets? How does food contribute to reducing cities’ greenhouse gas emissions? And what governance mechanisms can ensure that all actors are represented in cities’ food policies?

Rikolto and the Belgian city of Leuven invite you to discover how cities around the world are contributing to the shift towards a more sustainable, healthy and fair food system. And we want you to contribute.

We feed the city - Friday the 6th of December 2019 [9.30 AM - 4 PM]

In 8 interactive workshops, you discover how Rikolto and its partners work towards a sustainable food transition, in cities around the globe. We travel from Leuven to Hanoi. From Quito to Arusha. From Solo to Tegucigalpa. Don't expect a presentation of what Rikolto is doing! We especially want to stimulate discussions and get your ideas!

If you happen to be in Belgium, feel free to join us in this inspiring, interactive and memorable day!

Scroll down to see the detailed programme. There will be sessions in English and in Dutch.

Register for the event

Registrations are closed. For urgent questions, you can mail to liesbeth.vanmeulder [at] rikolto.org


M Leuven, Leopold Vanderkelenstraat 28, 3000 Leuven, Belgium


After the welcome and keynote speakers, several breakout sessions will follow in the rooms of the M Leuven that will be transformed for the occasion into an Agora, a City Hall, a Business Lab and a Health Department. The sessions will be in Dutch and English.

09.00 - 09.30 Welcome and registration [Meeting Room]

09.30 - 09.45 Opening Remarks [City Hall]

  • Jan Wyckaert - Regional Director of Rikolto in Belgium, expert in Community Building, Sustainable Development, and Corporate Social Responsibility.
  • David Dessers - Councillor in charge of mobility, climate, sustainability, agriculture and consumption at the municipality of Louvain.
  • Peter Bary - Directeur M Leuven


What will we eat tomorrow?

Food smart cities leading the transition to sustainable food

Between March and August 2019, three journalists from the magazine Eos Tracé visited partner cities of Rikolto's Food Smart Cities programme. During these visits, they interviewed more than 130 people and discovered initiatives that make safer, healthier and sustainable food more accessible to citizens. This book tells their stories from 9 cities in Vietnam, Belgium, Tanzania, Indonesia, Ecuador, Honduras and Nicaragua.

A few copies of the book in English and in Dutch will be exhibited.in the rooms during the event

Get a soft copy of the book

09.45 - 10.30 Keynote speakers [City Hall]

  • Mark Lundy - Senior Scientist at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Colombia, where he leads the Sustainable Food Systems Team. Mark will give an introduction on sustainable food systems in practice, looking at various entry points for action.
  • Cecilia Marocchino - Urban food planning expert at FAO with over 10 years of experience in urban research and urban development planning in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. Cecilia will introduce FAO's framework for the urban agenda, focusing on urban food planning.
  • Han Verschure - Profesor Emeritus at the University of Leuven - Architecture, Urbanism and Planning (ASRO) Department. Han will talk about a transition towards more sustainable cities.

The sessions


  • 10.45-12.00 - Leaving no one behind (En)
  • 13.00-14.30 - Making sense of consumer habits (Nl)
  • 15.00-16.00 - Ik ben meer dan mijn kassaticket (Nl)

City Hall

  • 10.45-12.00 - Reducing cities carbon "foodprint" (En)
  • 13.00-14.30 - Participation in urban food planning (En)
  • 15.00-16.00 - Peer-to-peer learning between cities (En)

Business Lab

  • 10.45-12.00 - Generation Food (Nl)
  • 13.00-14.30 - Inclusive business models to create closer rural-urban linkages (En)
  • 15.00-16.00 - Kort'om Leuven (Nl)

Health Department

  • 10.45-12.00 - Healthy people & planet (En)
  • 13.00-14.30 - Safe food for everyone (En)


  • 13.00-14.30 - School Food Councils (Nl)
  • 15.00-16.00 - Warme maaltijden op school (Nl)

The M Leuven offers two Gastronomy in art” guided tour (in Dutch):

  • First tour 10.45 (25 people max)
  • Second tour 15.00 (25 people max)


Both as citizens and as consumers we play an important role in changing our food system. In the Agora you will learn more about which actions can be taken so that healthy and sustainable food becomes the 'new norm' for everyone.

10.45 - 12.00

Leaving no one behind (EN)

Socially and economically equitable food systems

This session will explore how cities connect their food system strategies with social inclusion efforts through three concrete examples:

  • FoodSavers in Ghent (Belgium), a food waste transformation and logistics platform that fights social exclusion by training and providing jobs to citizens with difficult access to the job market.
  • Quito's urban agriculture programme (Ecuador) that supports food security, social inclusion, resilience and employment in the city through urban agriculture, involving over 21,000 urban farmers.
  • The Carefood platform in Solo (Indonesia) through which grassroots youth and women groups in the city are organising themselves to professionalise food sharing initiatives for the benefit of vulnerable social groups.

Discussion: What is the role of the private sector in social inclusion initiatives? How to upscale those initiatives? How to challenge the perception that healthy food is for the wealthy?


  • Katrien Verbeke - Food Policy Coordinator for the City of Ghent
  • Alexandra Rodriguez - AGRUPAR Project Manager
  • Purnama Adil Marata - Rikolto in Indonesia

Facilitator: Tom Van den Steen - Planning, Learning & Accountability Coordinator, Rikolto

12.00 - 13.00 Lunch


Making sense of consumer habits (NL)

Een realtime consumentenonderzoek / Real-time consumer research

Hoe staan mensen tegenover over milieuverantwoorde consumptie? Het departement Omgeving van de Vlaamse Overheid verzamelde de afgelopen jaren heel wat inzichten via enquêtes en studies uit de gedragswetenschappen. Volgend jaar gaan we grootschalig luisteren naar 1000 mensen. Via een specifieke narratieve methode verzamelen we verhalen om beter te begrijpen hoe mensen denken over over het eten van vlees en plantaardige producten.

In deze sessie zijn jullie ons testpubliek en laten we enkele 'triggervragen' op jullie los. Daarnaast vertellen we ook wat meer over de methodologie achter dit onderzoek.


How do consumers/citizens think about environmentally responsible consumption? In recent years, the Department of Environment of the Flemish Government has acquired insights from the behavioural sciences and through surveys. Next year, we want to collect 1000 consumer stories, using a specific narrative methodology to get some deeper insights in how consumers think about eating meat or plant based products.

In this session, you will be used as a test audience. We will launch a number of 'triggering questions' and want to hear your stories. Afterwards, you will get more information on the methodology itself.


  • Kristof Rubens - Green Economy and Environmentally Responsible Consumption Policy Officer. He facilitates the session.
  • Nele Claeys - Sensemaker® expert. She will provide more details about the methodology.

14.30-15.00 Coffee Break

15.00 - 16.00

Ik ben meer dan mijn kassaticket (NL)

Van duurzame voeding de makkelijkste keuze maken in de supermarkt: dat is het doel van de beweging "Ik ben meer dan mijn kassaticket". Maar wat is daarvoor de meest effectieve strategie? In deze sessie blikken we terug op 2 jaar campagne. Waar boekten we vooruitgang? Waar liepen we vast?

Vanuit die lessen starten we de discussie. Experten in gedragsverandering en burgerbewegingen veruimen onze blik. Met die nieuwe inzichten gaan we aan de slag. Zo geven we samen met jou vorm aan hoe we onze beweging van burgers/consumenten verder laten evolueren.


  • Barbara Briers - Professor marketing Vlerick Business School
  • Hannah Volckaert / Philippe Weiler - Coordinator sustainability Lidl Belgium & Luxembourg
  • Kristof Rubens - Flemish Government, Environment Department

Facilitator: TBC


The City Hall is the beating heart of a city. It's the place where crucial decisions affecting citizens, farmers and the environment, are taken. Rikolto supports the development of sustainable and climate-friendly food policies at city level by promoting participatory decision-making processes and peer-to-peer learning between cities.

10.45 - 12.00

Reducing cities carbon "foodprint" (EN)

A food system's approach to cut down urban GHG emissions

How are cities fighting climate change through food? And why are cities critical in mitigating climate change? In this session, we will first investigate the connection between urban food systems and greenhouse gas emissions and then dive into the concrete case of Ghent (Belgium) and its food strategy "Ghent en Garde" which recently received a Climate Action Award from the UN. Finally, René van Veenhuizen will talk about its experience in developing climate-resilient urban food systems and promoting urban and peri-urban agriculture.

Discussion: how can food system interventions curb greenhouse gas emissions?


  • Mark Lundy - Food Systems Lead CIAT
  • Tiné Heyse - Councillor for Environment, Climate, Housing and North-South relations for the City of Ghent
  • René van Veenhuizen - RUAF Foundation / Hivos

Facilitator: Selene Casanova - Latin America & International Communication at Rikolto

12.00 - 13.00 Lunch

13.00 - 14.30

Participation in urban food planning (EN)

Lessons and tools for participatory urban food governance

How can cities integrate food in their urban planning and ensure a full and fair representation of their citizens in the process? After an introduction to UN Environment's new Collaborative Framework for Food Systems Transformation, participants will hear about the lessons learned from ICLEI's CITYFOOD network on food governance and Rikolto's experience of facilitating the development of urban food strategies amongst diverse stakeholders.

Discussion: What mechanisms can be used to ensure the participation of key stakeholder groups? What role can national authorities play in urban food planning processes?


  • Thiago Soares Barbizan - Senior Officer Food Systems at ICLEI
  • Marina Bortoletti - Associate Programme Officer at UN Environment
  • Gert Engelen - Programme Coordinator at Rikolto in Belgium

Facilitator: Cecilia Marocchino - FAO

14.30 - 15.00 Coffee Break

15.00 - 16.00

Peer-to-peer learning (EN)

How can cities learn from each other

How can cities learn from each other? How do food system innovations emerge and how are they translated from one city to another? In this working session we are bringing government, businesses and civil society together to discuss how each group can participate in the sharing of knowledge and how they can work together.


  • Amber Steyaert - Researcher of the University of Ghent
  • Charlotte Flechet - International Food Smart Cities Coordinator at Rikolto


In Rikolto’s business lab we are developing new business models that make our food healthier, sustainable and fair. A new way of doing business, at Rikolto we call it Inclusive Business. Get inspired by some of our innovative inclusive business examples from all over the world, and find out what’s happening locally in Leuven.

10.45 - 12.00

Generation Food (NL)

Generation Food is een pre-incubator voor nieuwe en startende voeding- en landbouwinitiatieven. Op die manier willen we iedereen met een innovatief idee en zin om te ondernemen stimuleren en activeren om werk te maken van het voedsel voor de toekomst. In deze sessie vertellen we meer over onze visie, het waarom en hoe we dat -samen met alle partners- omzetten in de praktijk. Daarnaast komen enkele ondernemers vertellen over hun ideeën en uitdagingen.

Discussie: Hoe kunnen ondernemers, middenveld, overheden en burgers een voedingsbodem creëren voor nieuwe initiatieven en start-ups die werk maken van het voedsel voor de toekomst?

12.00 - 13.00 Lunch

13.00 - 14.30

Inclusive business models to create closer rural-urban linkages (EN)

What is an inclusive business? And why does it matter when trying to supply cities with healthy and safe food? In this session we will examine three concrete cases highlighting the crucial role that private actors can play to incentivize changes towards sustainable food.

  • First, we will explore how the business partnership between the supermarket chain La Colonia and El Consorcio Agrocomercial is feeding Honduran cities.
  • Then, we will hear about Leuven's brand new local food distribution platform Kor'tom.
  • Finally, the commercial director of the food supplier cooperative company REO veiling will illustrate how farmers have organised themselves to increase their bargaining power and find buyers for their produce.

Discussion: What are the main challenges that come up when developing short food chains and how to overcome them? Which tools and approaches can be used?


  • Annabell Guzman - Coordinator of programmes and project, Rikolto in Honduras
  • Joris Aertsens - Sustainable Supply Chain Specialist at Rikolto in Belgium
  • Dominiek Keerseblick - Commercial director of the REO auction

Facilitator: Nataly Pinto - Programme Director Sustainable Food Systems for Rikolto in Latin America

14.30 - 15.00 Coffee Break

15.00 - 16.00

Kort'om Leuven (NL)

Kort’om Leuven is een lokaal logistiek platform van voedingsproducten. Kort’om Leuven haalt deze op bij producenten in een cirkel van ongeveer 40 km rond Leuven en verdeelt ze naar (supermarkt)winkels, horeca en grootkeukens in het Leuvense. Een eerlijke prijs voor de boer en een duurzame productie en distributie staan voorop.

Discussie: In deze sessie reflecteren we samen over de meerwaarde van Kortom Leuven en hoe kan een actieve community van burgers een positieve rol kan spelen bij de ontwikkeling van duurzame voedingsinitiatieven?


  • Michael Moulaert - Coördinator Kortom Leuven
  • David Dessers - Schepen Stad Leuven
  • Sara Vander Auwera - Ondernemer Content
  • Laurence Claerhout - Ondernemer en coördinator Vanier Gent / Linked.farm

Facilitator: Joris Aertsens - Program Advisor sustainable chain development

Health Department

The Health Department of a Food Smart City has the important role to ensure safe food for everyone. Whether food is coming from the close proximity of the city or from far away, whether it is produced by small holder farmers or big companies - consumers must be sure that their food is healthy and safe to consume. How this can be done? In the Health Department governments and research organisation will share their experiences on how they are addressing the issue through adequate food safety management systems.

10.45 - 12.00

Healthy people & planet (EN)

Promoting sustainable and healthy diets among all urban consumers

How can we encourage citizens to make healthy and sustainable food choices and what roles can cities play in driving changes in food consumption behaviours? This session will dive into three examples from Indonesia, Belgium and Africa:

  • Lessons learned from Hivos' programme "Sustainable Diets for All" that increased the availability of sustainable and nutritious food for low-income citizens.
  • Presentation of the strategy in Indonesia developed to promote sustainable diets with a specific focus on vegetables.
  • How School Food Labs and School Food Councils can help make sustainable and healthy food at school the new norm.

Discussion: What are the most effective tools to change consumers' behaviour taking into account socio-economic differences? What are the main challenges in reaching out to consumers? How can they be overcome?


  • Franck Mechielsen - Business Senior Advocacy Officer, Hivos
  • Mr. M. Rifqi - Sustainable agrifood mainstreaming cluster head of Bappenas (Indonesian Ministry of Development Planning)
  • Katharina Beelen - Programme Coordinator at Rikolto in Belgium

Facilitator: Caroline Huyghe - Program coordinator at Rikolto

12.00 - 13.00 Lunch

13.00 - 14.30

Safe food for everyone (EN)

Building food safety management systems in the South

For decades, policies and research in the South have sought ways to achieve food security to ensure that sufficient food was available for everyone. With this need increasingly fulfilled, governments and research organisation are now working towards effective food safety management systems to fulfil consumers' right to healthy and safe food. Three experts from the City of Da Nang, the University of Ghent and the City of Arusha will outline common challenges faced in developing an adequate food safety management system and how they are trying to tackle them.

Discussion: How can smallholder producers effectively be included in safe food value chains? What instruments are needed to ensure that their production is up to safety standards?


  • Nguyen Tan Hai - Director, Da Nang Food Safety Management Authority
  • Sifael Turuwene Kulanga - City lawyer, Arusha City Council
  • Liesbeth Jacxsens - Department of Food Safety and Food Quality, University of Ghent

Facilitator: Tom Van den Steen, Planning, Learning & Accountability Advisor, Rikolto


The school is not only the place where future generations will receive their education but also the place where we should become aware of the importance of eating healthy and sustainable food. Good food at school contributes to the improvement of school performance, the reduction of early school leaving and to the adoption of a healthier lifestyle. A new food culture that respects food and farmers starts here!

13.00 - 14.30

School Food Councils (NL)

Steden ondersteunen scholen bij de implementatie van een gezond en duurzaam voedingsbeleid

Het thema voeding op de schoolagenda zetten is niet zo evident, hoe belangrijk dit ook is voor het welzijn en de toekomst van onze kinderen. Schoolteams en hun directie staan alsmaar meer onder druk.

Hoe kunnen steden via een multi-actorwerkgroep lokale scholen ondersteunen om gezonde en duurzame voeding in het schoolbeleid op te nemen?


  • Lalynn Wadera - Schepen van onderwijs stad Leuven
  • Jinnih Beels - Schepen van onderwijs stad Antwerpen
  • Katrien Verbeke - Coördinator voedselbeleid stad Gent
  • Elke Lambrechts - Coördinator voeding GoodPlanet - partner Goodfood@School

Facilitator: Charles Snoeck (Fairtrade Belgium)

14.30 - 15.00 Coffee Break

15.00 - 16.00

Warme maaltijden op school (NL)

Wat willen we op ons bord?

Maaltijden op school kunnen nog een stukje evenwichtiger, gezonder en duurzamer gemaakt worden. Iedereen heeft wel een idee over hoe een perfecte schoolmaaltijd er moet uitzien en moet smaken. Maar zijn de mogelijkheden van cateraars en de aanbestedingen van scholen wel verzoenbaar met de verzuchtingen van ouders en de smaak van kinderen? We brengen de verschillende betrokkenen rond de tafel: cateraars, schooldirecteurs, leerkrachten, ouders en leerlingen geven hun visie en gaan met elkaar in gesprek over het ideale schoolbord.



16.00 - 17.00 Closing remarks & Reception [Meeting Room]

  • Chris Claes - Director of Rikolto International
  • Mohamed Ridouani - Mayor of the city of Leuven