Exploring the role of food in urban transformation

Urban food is key for boosting a change towards sustainability

Through immersive exhibition spaces, meetings and educational activities, the event Terra Madre Salone del Gusto – which took place in Turin in September 2022 – offered a space to reflect upon the regeneration of our food systems as a response to climate, health and geopolitical crises.

Urban food is key for boosting a change towards sustainability. Cities and local governments play a crucial role to reverse the trend and to speed up the shift towards sustainable food systems. Under these premises, several representatives from local governments, universities, research centers and civil society organizations gathered together in the “Feeding the Cities” area within Terra Madre Salone del Gusto to explore the role of food in urban regeneration.

Food as a bridge to peace: the regenerative message of Terra Madre 2022 was an invitation to all visitors: to develop a fresh outlook and new enthusiasm for the future of our food. An outlook that considers food the key to regenerating our planet, and a bridge to peace. This is the message that the words, actions of our representatives all express.

Terra Madre Salone del Gusto 2022

Energy Cities, in collaboration with its member cities, moderated the workshop «The new European Bauhaus redesigns cities and our living spaces » which saw the participation of European cities, New European Bauhaus ambassadors and food system transformation champions to explore how food system transformation and the regeneration and transformation of urban areas can go hand in hand.

The New European Bauhaus calls on all Europeans to imagine and build together a sustainable and inclusive future that is beautiful for our eyes, minds, and souls. Food is a vital part of our future, and historically it has been a connecting element between people and food environments. As a unique cultural and social identity element food is part of the immaterial heritage upon which cities of tomorrow should be built.

High-level speakers highlighted the strong link between urban regeneration and the role of cultural heritage in boosting urban transformation, touching key elements, that have to be part of the process: i) sustainable agriculture; ii) art and architecture; iii) food and culture.

Antoine Back, Deputy Mayor from the City of Grenoble, talked about urban agriculture, sharing the inspiring example of the city, where agriculture is playing a crucial role to create employment, boost more sustainable habits and increasing the city’s resilience. On the other hand, Francesca Scazzina, President of the Master in Food City Design, Department of Food and Drug, University of Parma, Giocampus Scientific Committee, talked about the example of the city of Parma, which belongs to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, representing the gastronomic centre of the “Italian Food Valley”. Parma’s vision of food and gastronomy is intrinsically linked to environmental sustainability being based on local production and urban-rural reciprocity. Lastly, Eleni Baldi, and Maria Thiseos, from Nicosia Municipality, talked about the regeneration process that the city has been carrying out, having the regeneration of the area in the centre of the walled city, as priority.

The workshop was organized in the framework of the Energy Cities Hub on future-proof food systems and land policies and of the Project HUB-IN « Hubs of Innovation and Entrepreneurship for the Transformation of Historic Urban Areas ».

The Energy Cities Hub on future-proof food systems and land policies aims at exploring ways and strategies to accelerate the transition towards sustainable and resilient food systems, and to build new territorial solidarity via land and food policy.

Stay tuned and register here!

Cover photo credits: Alessandro Vargiú