The Amsterdam Metropolitan Area as shared Living Lab for EU Horizon projects FoodCLIC and EU4Advice

FoodCLIC project
The FoodCLIC project touches upon the integrated urban food policies and how to develop sustainability co-benefits, spatial linkages, social inclusion and sectoral connections to transform food systems in city-regions. The project aims to build strong science-policy-practice interfaces in order to develop evidence-based and integrated food policies and render planning frameworks food sensitive, creating more progressive and resilient urban food environments which empower citizens (particularly from disadvantaged and vulnerable groups) to access, afford and choose healthier and more sustainable foods. At the heart of the project will be an innovative conceptual framework (the CLIC), based on system thinking, which will guide all food system actors towards four desired outcomes of integration (sustainability co-benefits; strengthened rural-urban linkages across the food system; the Inclusion of all food stakeholders; and the creation of new connectivities between food and other complex systems and policy priorities), turning it into a concept that is simultaneously social, spatial, environmental and political.

EU4Advice project
EU4Advice looks into the multi-actor collaboration dynamics and capacity-building network inside and between Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation System (AKIS) to foster the upscaling of Short Food Supply Chains (SFSC) across Europe. The main objective of EU4Advice project is to settle the foundations and structures required to ensure effective capacity building of SFSC actors through fluent knowledge transfer. Applying the principles of the interactive innovation model, EU4Advice project aims to boost the role of advisors as catalysers of the knowledge flow from research to practice, through the creation of an EU network of advisors with knowledge and expertise on SFSC issues, and the implementation of measures towards the effective integration of SFSC advisors into national AKIS.

Collaboration between projects within the Amsterdam Living Lab
The FoodCLIC and EU4Advice projects share similar goals in that they both aim to promote sustainable and inclusive food systems. Most importantly, both projects are using the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area (AMA) as a Living Lab, which launched on October 9th 2023. This both virtual and physical place will be used by project partners as a tool for implementing innovative governance models in national Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems (AKIS) and piloting Short Food Supply Chain (SFSC)-related advisory services, connecting all stakeholders in an interactive co-construction process and allowing for intensive knowledge exchange.

It is therefore logical for the FoodCLIC and EU4Advice projects to collaborate in Amsterdam, as the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area presents a unique and ideal environment for conducting research and implementing real-life interventions in the field of sustainable and inclusive food systems. The city’s urban food policies, agricultural knowledge and innovation systems (AKIS) provide a rich context for the development of integrated food policies and the scaling of short food supply chains (SFSCs), respectively.

Furthermore, the Living Lab in Amsterdam provides a valuable platform for connecting all stakeholders in an interactive co-construction process, which is crucial for the success of both projects as it allows for knowledge transfer and intensive exchange of experience, which is fundamental for the capacity building of SFSC actors. This collaboration will leverage the strengths of both projects and enhance the overall impact of their efforts in promoting sustainable and inclusive food systems.

Invitation to collaborate
We would like to invite you to join us in taking the next step in realising a sustainable food system in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area. Central to this are the role of our food environments, strengthening communities, and establishing new, area-based arrangements that promote ecological, economic and social values.

In the coming year, we will:

  • develop a new economic design for the AMA, focused on sustainability and inclusiveness;
  • make the food supply in various food environments more sustainable and healthy, with a specific focus on the needs of disadvantaged neighbourhoods and people most affected by the current food system;
  • realise a sustainable short chain market, in partnership with local communities and a network of institutional buyers;
  • activate a market for ecosystem services to promote environmental, economic and social impact;
  • develop a digital infrastructure for new markets and community building.

For this, a ‘Writing Office’ is being launched under the direction of EU4Advice and FoodCLIC, to work with partner networks to attract additional funding, supported by a network of knowledge institutions. In this, we will follow a process of nature-based principles and focus on transformative changes within and beyond the boundaries of our current projects.

We envision a twin-track approach, looking at opportunities for interventions and scaling up both within and outside the frameworks of our projects, in line with our mission to create resilient, equitable and sustainable food systems.

We are happy to engage with you to discover what the new design and Writing Office can do for you and how you can contribute to it.

Jacqueline Broere, on behalf of VU – Athena Institute and FoodCLIC
Willie van den Broek, on behalf of Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions – Wageningen University and EU4Advice
Mark Frederiks on behalf of Amped – Living Lab manager EU4Advice

Appendix: Roadmap of the rollout of a robust, regional and regenerative food system

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