Providing a platform to develop resource efficiencies in food production and supply

CoP-In Focus aims to develop a European Community of Practice with the purpose of examining how Integrated Food Clusters can be used to generate sustainability in high volume agricultural production, to feed large Metropoles.

The Climate Change Issue

Current models of food production and supply are highly inefficient and contribute to environmental degradation. At the same time, high levels of agricultural production will continue to be necessary in Europe in spite of growing environmental and societal stresses. Integrated Food Clusters present an alternative to achieve this by horizontal and vertical value chain integration, and considering principles of industrial symbiosis in the entire food cycle, from production to consumption by end users.

The Project Solution

Integrated Food Clusters involve the spatial, organisational and energetic clustering of different agro-production chain, animal, plant as well as decomposition, making more efficient use of space and resources of water, gas, minerals, energy, heat and cold. The principle is full scale cyclic reuse of rest-and by products on an industrial scale, such as manure, waste flows of processing and CO2, and create new value chains as feed, fodder and new materials. The result is significant reduction in use of resources and emissions and raise of efficient production.

Integrated Food Clusters also imply an improved cooperation of the various parties – knowledge institutions, entrepreneurs, non-governmental and governmental organisations – involved in the agro-food production, processing, consolidation, logistics and distribution in sophisticated consortia and business holdings.

In the Cop-in-Focus project partners from four metropolitan regions have worked together on investigating complimentary parts of the food chain. Protein Empire (Netherlands) focused on agro production and consolidation of protein chains (meat, dairy and eggs), Food Cluster Bag (Hungary) on consolidation and processing of fruit and vegetables, the London case on retail and Metropolitan Food Cluster (MFC) benchmarks, while the Berlin region case examined how agricultural production practices can be adapted to changing and more extreme climatic conditions.

New initiatives on Agroparks and Integrated Food Clusters have been started in Cop-in-Focus . In the follow-up project MFC4Climag, these initiatives will be further developed on a European level. MFC are expected to be applied for promoting food security and safety in developing countries across the globe, thereby scaling up the implementation of Integrated Food Clusters as an answer to sustainability in contemporary food systems.

The role of Climate-KIC

“Climate-KIC was very important for the project, by helping us to place the Metropolitan Integrated Food Custer concept in the climate change as well as European context. Thanks to growing population and urbanisation we need to enhance food production. Yet this has to be done in a more efficient, more sustainable manner.” , Wageningen University & Research Centre