Food at the heart of cities and families

From the Positive Food Challenge to rooftop gardening, we take a look at cities that are making food a priority


Publication date

July 19, 2021

Food is an integral part of many current issues, including reducing waste, lowering our carbon footprint, local sourcing and developing social and inclusive projects. It is a major local concern in France and throughout Europe.

The Positive Food Family Challenge in Nantes Metropole

The Positive Food Family Challenge is an offshoot of the Positive Energy Family Challenge. The aim is to demonstrate in a user-friendly way how families can eat tasty, organic and local food without increasing their food budget.

Nantes Metropole has organised its Positive Food Challenge for the third year, with some twenty local households signing up for the adventure. Events were organised throughout the challenge, featuring a new format this year.

  • The challenge features a main event each month, including a visit to an organic farm, help from a dietitian in creating inexpensive organic menus, cooking workshops to prepare local, organic dishes using seasonal ingredients and shared meals.
  • It also involves a weekly super challenge to boost fruit and vegetable intake, learn new ways of cooking a particular vegetable or become more efficient in shopping, cooking and preparing meals.

The aim of these challenges is for participants to get used to reading product labels, to reduce packaging by buying in bulk, to take an interest in the way food is produced, to buy more seasonal products and to change their buying habits.

The ultimate objective is for them to make sustainable changes to their eating habits.

The cool food revolution, a Franco-British challenge

The cool food challenge is designed to help the transition to a low-carbon economy and reduce the CO2 emissions of at least 1,300 households in the Channel area, totalling 153 tonnes over 2 years.

Cool Food motivates people to make smart, sustainable choices about the food they eat. The initiative brings together experts from the food, nutrition, and environmental sectors to provide people with information on how making even the smallest changes to our diets can help create a healthier planet.

A counter tool allows people commit to a low-carbon food habit, for example by trying vegetarian meals, going dairy-free, buying locally and reducing food waste. For each commitment made, the app provides individual carbon and financial gains over the course of a year, in real time.

The platform can be used to find events local to participants and to take part in online challenges, whilst the calculation tool displays the number of participants in each challenge.

Green rooftops and a boost to inclusion in Barcelona

Despite the high density of Barcelona, urban agriculture has found a place on the disused rooftops of municipal buildings and schools. As well as developing local agriculture, the city has involved organisations helping disabled people to grow vegetables in these new plots.

The Rooftop Garden project uses horticulture to promote social inclusion, self-reliance and learning for disabled people, as well as increasing the number of green spaces in the city and the consumption of organic and local food.

The project began in 2016 with a hydroponic vegetable garden pilot test and the participation of three occupational centres for people with intellectual disabilities in Barcelona.

Eight further vegetable gardens were then created in various city districts, involving additional types of mental health or physical disabilities.

This project is an opportunity for Barcelona to promote the values of environmental, social and economic sustainability.