Making the capital region the hub of sustainable gastronomy



During the spring 2018 we drew up some questions with the Smart & Clean Foundation to be asked from the residents in the capital region and influencers in the food industry. What does sustainable food from the capital region look, taste and feel like? What’s your idea on urban food that has enough driving force to take Finland to the world map of food. This resulted in a six-month ecosystem project called Smart & Clean Urban Food, that invited 20 organizations to try out solutions and build cooperation to strengthen sustainable gastronomy in the capital region. The idea is to take advantage of digital platforms to make it easier for the products of local farmers to find their way to people’s plates around the city and for restaurants to order wildcrafted products such as herbs. We wish that in the near future all the more professionals in the food industry start using the waste food products available to create stunning meals for their customers. Sounds good, right?

What happens during the project?

In the style of Smart & Clean we focus on practical actions. The Herttoniemi food co-op SLC (Svenska lantbruksproducenternas centralförbund/The central union of Swedish-speaking agricultural producers in Finland) and SLF (Svenska lantbrukssällskapens förbund/Rural advisory services for Swedish speaking farmers in Finland) are expanding the Uudenmaan ruoka (Uusimaa food) Local Foodhub project to the city of Espoo. The aim is to find a location – or several locations – suitable for a foodhub, a distribution center for local and fresh, seasonal produce. New ways for making orders based on community supported agriculture as well as ways of distribution are developed with the local consumers.

Perho Culinary, Tourism and Business College is in charge of developing and testing models suitable for restaurants for ordering and distributing wildcrafted and local produce. The idea is to test out whether the development of order and distribution services has a positive effect on the number of restaurants purchasing products from wildcrafters and local farmers.

In the third practical pilot the non-profit organization From Waste to Taste tries to find users for the surplus ingredients from the food industry. The users create a network for the industrial companies to share information about ingredients available. The industrial partners for the pilot are Fazer and Apetit.

All the pilots share the aim to find cost efficient and low emission ways for transporting the deliveries. Finding smart ways to organize the logistics for the transportation of small amounts of material is a requirement for the profitability of direct sales via different platforms. Practical experience can for example help see the different ways in which deliveries can be combined. Co-operation is a powerful tool, but it has to be built before it can function. This is done throughout the ecosystem project, and the cooperation networks established are collected within the Sustainable Gastronomy knowledge platform.

Why is it important to develop knowledge and networks in sustainable gastronomy?

Developing sustainable food systems and gastronomy is, in a global perspective, crucial to preventing climate change. In addition to that the food we choose to consume and the way it is produced has a major impact on national health, welfare of waterways and the diversity of nature. The more diverse our food culture and food system is, the more it can adapt to changes. The world’s most resource smart capital region is born from developing sustainable gastronomy simply because food is vital to us – in every respect.

The modification project has been granted financial aid from Helsinki-Uusimaa regional council’s Aiko-fund. The project is also funded by the cities of Espoo, Helsinki and Vantaa, Sitra, Apetit Ruoka Oy and Oy Karl Fazer Ab.