Food security is the focus for a major innovation project

People around Europe are to be given the tools to obtain affordable, sustainable and nutritious food thanks to research from Cardiff University.

The university says Professor Roberta Sonnino is overall scientific coordinator for FOODTRAILS, a €12m Horizon 2020 innovation project which starts in the autumn. Funded by the European Commission, it will focus on implementing new urban food systems and help to address food insecurity across eleven European cities.

Living Labs will be created in each city, giving local governments and residents the opportunity to develop lasting and tangible policies to manage sustainable supply chains, tackle food poverty and encourage healthy eating.

Roberta Sonnino, based at Cardiff University’s School of Geography and Planning, said “A radical transformation of the food system is urgently needed and this has been underlined by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Current systems mean cities do not have the tools to react to sudden crises. After decades of under-investment, we are still seeing high levels of food poverty and insecurity in urban areas. This project – the European Commission’s largest investment in food sustainability – will put power into the hands of those that can enact real and substantial change.”

Led by Milan, the four year project brings together a consortium of nineteen partners, including ten other European cities; Bergamo, Bordeaux, Grenoble, Warsaw, Tirana, Copenhagen, Funchal, Birmingham, Thessaloniki and Groningen, as well as three universities and five prominent food system organisations. Another twenty one cities around the world are set to follow the actions taken by the consortium.

Roberta Sonnino is a noted food security and food systems expert and was Vice-Chair of the FOOD2030 Expert Group. This work led the development of four priority areas of the FOOD 2030 European research framework; nutrition and healthy diets, climate and environment, circularity and resource efficiency, and innovation and empowerment of communities.

Each city involved in FOODTRAILS will be involved in developing projects that address challenges specific to their own priority area.

Professor Paul Milbourne, Head of Cardiff University’s School of Geography and Planning and a co-investigator on the project, said “I am delighted that work from academics at Cardiff University has led to this significant project which aims to improve food security and sustainability for people around the world. We will be working closely with our partners to support the 11 cities over the next four years and I’m looking forward to seeing the results of what we achieve together.”

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