Local and regional food systems are an important element in cities' efforts to move towards carbon-neutral and sustainable futures. Transport, food production, distribution and consumption are contributing in myriads of ways to emissions, health and quality of life. Inevitably, achieving some form of coordination between the many actors involved in the system is a challenge in this process of systemic change. Digital information systems have the potential to facilitate the transition by allowing actors - be it local governments, consumers, entrepreneurs, or grassroots organisations - to connect and coordinate, to find up to date information and generally to get a pulse of the whole system. This EIT Food funded project had the ambition to develop such a digital platform to support the regional food system of the city of Leuven in its transition towards social and environmental sustainability.
shiftN was part of a consortium that included Leuven 2030, Rikolto and KU Leuven. An Italian design team was subcontracted for the technical development. The shiftN team particularly contributed expertise on systems mapping and on visualisation. In barely six months time a working 'minimum viable product' was developed. The resulting dashboard provides access to more than 100 relevant indicators, a database of local actors and initiatives, and a whole systems overview of the food system in the form of a geographic map and a systems map. All elements in the platform are tightly interconnected.
The Eco Food Map Leuven will be a key instrument to support stakeholders in their efforts to progress in their vision of a sustainable local food system. Obviously, the system is completely modular and its functionality can be expanded. Also, this development could be useful for other cities with similar ambitions. EIT Food will continue to seek partners for broader distribution and commercialisation of the Eco Food Map.