The Fit4Food2030 project entered its second year in November. The project is well underway and has delivered the first concrete outcomes. Seven city labs and seven policy labs are up and running and have had their first meetings, working respectively on food system competences and aligning and further developing food system related R&I. The EU Think Tank has also had its first two meetings, even producing an unforeseen policy brief. Together, the city and policy labs and the EU Think Tank form the beginning of the FOOD2030 Platform, Fit4Food’s tool for systemic change of the food system.

The Fit4Food consortium partners have also been working hard on identifying and understanding the drivers, opportunities and barriers for food system transformation. This has resulted in a list of relevant trends. Overviews of showcases and potential breakthroughs in the food system are expected in the first half of 2019.

Progress of the policy labs
Within Fit4Food2030, JPI HDHL leads the work package of the policy labs. A first group of 6 countries and 1 region started with a policy lab in February 2018. The policy labs aim to maximise the impact of Research and Innovation on their food system. They bring together different stakeholders, including people who are usually not involved in policy discussions. In a series of national meetings over the course of the project, they will analyse the current food systems and related R&I landscape, define knowledge gaps and opportunities and work on innovative R&I policies. Central aspects in this process should be a holistic approach and Responsible Research and Innovation. Potential outcomes could be policy briefs, methodologies or new R&I programmes.

During the last few months, the first national meetings of the policy labs in Flanders, Hungary, Norway, Lithuania, Romania and Italy took place. The Netherlands already had a national meeting in April. In the first national meetings, the policy labs discussed among other things the current state of the food system, related challenges and knowledge questions and existing related research programmes in their country. The policy labs invited a variety of national and regional stakeholders from the various areas of the food system.

As the food system is very large and complex, the policy labs will focus on specific areas. Some policy labs decided on the focus with their stakeholders during the first meeting, others had already narrowed down the scope or chosen a certain angle. This has much to do with their different starting points and specific circumstances. The policy labs of Flanders and Norway are looking at food and health for example, while the focus of Italy will be on aligning the regional approaches. The policy labs of Italy, Hungary and the Netherlands will also work together with the Fit4food2030 city labs in their country.

Next steps
At the end of November the policy lab coordinators had their third training session, which helped them prepare for the organisation of their second national meeting. The second national meetings should take place in early 2019 and will focus on a shared vision and first ideas for a roadmap to improve the R&I landscape so it can contribute better to a future-proof food system. Three more countries or regions will be recruited in 2019 to start a policy lab, completing the total of ten policy labs that will be part of the Fit4food2030 project.

More information
For more information about Fit4food2030 please visit the website and follow #FOOD2030EU on Twitter.