Make sustainable and healthy food accessible for all
By bringing together the experience of the different systems Ghent wants to increase the supply of accessible sustainable food.
Most people get to choose what and how much they eat. However, a growing group of families does not get to make those choices that seem obvious to others. Because of rising food prices and the energy crisis, people are becoming more reliant on food assistance. Most food initiatives distribute surpluses from department stores and the food industry. It is clear, however, that grocery stores are also considering rising food prices when planning their purchases. This results in less food needing to be redistributed.
How do we make the right to food a reality?
Poverty organisations organise food aid under protest. Redistributing food surpluses is not a structural solution to poverty. People in poverty too want to choose what's in the pot, and sustainable food should not be a privilege for the happy few. How do we ensure that healthy and sustainable food becomes accessible to everyone?
Sustainable does not have to be expensive.
Many existing initiatives are already making healthy and sustainable food accessible to people on low incomes. In Ghent, 9 accredited social restaurants serve a daily hot meal with a tiered pricing policy. Several Ghent neighbourhoods have a social grocery store selling dry and fresh food at greatly reduced prices.
Since the creation of the Ghent food strategy – Gent en Garde –, more and more sustainable food initiatives have emerged, such as farmers' markets and CSA farms. There is a growing interest from several stakeholders itself to reach vulnerable citizens.
These ideas are already in place:
- A plant-based restaurant wants to offer a daily hot meal with a free contribution.
- A CSA farm raises funds from its own members to get and keep on board some families who otherwise can't afford to be a member.
- A cooperative supermarket wants to roll out a solidarity pricing policy for people in poverty
European fundings to experiment
In the Living Lab Gent en Garde of the Horizon Europe project FEAST, we want to optimise existing systems by bringing people together and creating a platform for exchange and knowledge sharing. We will also address the industry's interest in making sustainable food more accessible to vulnerable citizens.
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