Ghent nominated for 'European Capital of Innovation 2020' award

Ghent is one of 12 cities nominated for the 'European Capital of Innovation 2020' award.

Ghent is one of 12 cities nominated for the 'European Capital of Innovation 2020' award thanks to its innovative and participatory approach in its 'Gent en Garde' food strategy. The first-prize winner will receive € 1 million and the five runners-up € 100,000 each. If Ghent is among the winners, the City will use the prize money to increase the volume of short-distance transport by water and to combat food wastage.

Partnerships for a sustainable food system

Since 2014, the European Commission has awarded the title of 'European Capital of Innovation' to the European city that best uses technical innovations to address societal challenges and improve its citizens' lives. This year, Ghent has been nominated for its innovative and participatory approach in its 'Gent en Garde' food strategy. Together with its partners, the City of Ghent has invested in making the local food system more sustainable over the past 6 years. The City thus responds to an international trend with cities playing an ever greater part in providing access to sustainable, healthy and affordable food.

First prize of € 1 million

The City of Ghent and its Food Council are to defend their entry through a brief digital pitch on 3 September 2020. The European Commission will announce the winners at an online award ceremony on 24 September 2020. The winning city will receive € 1 million, and five runners-up € 100,000 each.

If Ghent is among the winners, the City will use the prize money to increase the volume of short-distance transport by water, promote vegetarian dietary habits and rooftop vegetable gardens, and combat food wastage.

European trendsetter in urban food policy

The 'Gent en Garde' food strategy is aimed at creating a sustainable food chain from production, processing and distribution to consumption and waste disposal. Projects such as Foodsavers, Restorestje and Thursday Veggie Day have attracted major national and international attention. Through various projects and initiatives, ‘Gent en Garde’ focuses on short-chain production, the added social value of food initiatives and a reduction of food wastage.

In this context, the City of Ghent has given an important role to its Food Council, a diverse group of Ghentians who help shape the food policy and have their own budget for innovative projects. The Ghent Food Council consists of 30 members from the agricultural sector, civil society organisations, knowledge institutions and representatives of Ghent shop, hotel, restaurant and bar owners.

 

Ghent is a world leader in terms of urban food policy, as appears from the various international awards the city has won, including the United Nation's Global Climate Action Award. We absolutely intend to continue leading the way. Our secret? Our excellent cooperation with the many partners involved in Ghent’s food strategy.

Tine Heyse , Deputy Mayor for Environment and Climate of Ghent

Ghent invests in innovation and partnerships. The participatory approach of the 'Gent en Garde' food strategy is a good example of how Ghent has actively involved local residents and organisations in the policy-making process for over 20 years. This working method has been a source of inspiration at a local and international level

Mathias De Clercq , Mayor of Ghent

For the 2020 title, Ghent competes with 11 other cities that made it to the shortlist: Cluj-Napoca (Romania), Espoo (Finland), Groningen (Netherlands), Helsingborg (Sweden), Leeuwarden (Netherlands), Leuven (Belgium), Linz (Austria), Milan (Italy), Reykjavik (Iceland), Valencia (Spain) and Vienna (Austria).