Leuven recently launched the EcoFoodMap: an interactive tool that maps the food system in and around Leuven. The tool provides the necessary information about all initiatives, actors, experts and indicators in the Leuven food system. The goal is to stimulate new collaborations and provide insights that further improve connections and decision-making for a more sustainable and resilient urban food system.
In 2018 the network organization Leuven2030 launched its food strategy, titled ‘Food Connects’. The strategy was built co-creatively with a diversity of food actors and entails all aspects of the food system: production, processing, distribution, consumption, social inclusion, etc. Food Connects is more than a strategic framework for a sustainable and resilient urban food system in Leuven, it is also a vibrant network of multiple stakeholders that act for change.
The EcoFoodMap isdeveloped with the support of Cross-KIC Sustainable Cities of EIT, the EuropeanInstitute of Innovation & Technology, Leuven2030, ShiftN, Rikolto and KULeuven.
“The whole system behind the food on our plate is very complex”, says Caroline Huyghe from Rikolto, programme coordinator of sustainable and healthy food for Leuven2030. “A lot of people are involved when food travels from farm to fork. If we want to achieve our ambitious goals, it is of crucial importance to connect the different initiatives, actors and experts”.
The EcoFoodMap fills this gap and makes it possible to find who and what you need in a couple of clicks. “It is a compass for citizens who look for local products or a new citizen that is looking for a community garden for example”, explains Caroline. “The platform also provides economic value for our food service businesses who are be looking for a local supplier”.
“If we want to achieve the ambitious goals of the food strategy, it is of crucial importance to connect the different initiatives, actors and experts”
Programme coordinator of sustainable and healthy food for Leuven2030
The EcoFoodMap also functions as a policy tool for the local government. In the transition towards a more sustainable urban food system it is important to measure and analyse sustainability criteria. By keeping track of the data, the city and Food Connects-network can detect and analyse changes to measure the success of projects and initiatives.