Climate Community Lab grant awarded to consortium from three countries

The Climate Community Lab, a brand-new initiative financed by EIT Climate-KIC and led by Partners, has started driving impact in the CEE (Central and Eastern Europe) region. The winners of the first grant in the IdeaLab stream, led by EIT Climate-KIC Partner organisations Ashoka and 4CF, were announced to introduce the cross-border project aiming at creating new food cooperatives in the agri-food sector. The winning project will receive €20,000 to deliver climate action in Bulgaria, Estonia and Romania.

Central Europe grows its own climate innovations

The Climate Community Lab project (part of which is the IdeaLab) encourages innovators from the region to create new alliances in tackling climate change. It aims to promote new approaches by launching international cooperative projects. The first grant from the Climate Community Lab was awarded on 29 October after a successful ideation workshop conducted by the Polish company 4CF. The aim of the project is to connect community members to local, ecological food chains through intergenerational and transboundary solidarity. The €20,000 seed funding was awarded by an international jury, which included representatives of the food and financial sector, but also from science and social activism.

Sparking radical innovations

In the face of growing climate challenges, innovation in the shaping of agri-food value chains faces serious obstacles. It is not just about technological innovation. The IdeaLab Director, Managing Partner at 4CF Norbert Kolos commented on the results of the IdeaLab: “I am proud that we attracted climate scientists and activists from six different Central and Eastern European countries. Despite the pandemic crisis, they were able to mobilise themselves for four days in a row to work hard to achieve this success. They came as strangers and left our IdeaLab as a team of climate innovators.”

An international team with Central Europe at its core

The winning team is composed of Catherine Zenev (Bulgaria) and Romain Couderc (Romania), who will join forces to set-up a bilateral project. They will be accompanied by Epp Maria Lilippu (Estonia) who will work on scientific aspects of the project.

Catherine owns an organic permaculture farm and a food company called VENETS.T Ltd. which cultivates more than 80 different types of fruit and vegetables, managing biodiversity-friendly, regenerative agriculture and producing natural juices and preserves.

Catherine has also set up a cooperative to improve access to healthy food and promote community-supported agriculture. The project is joined by: Epp Maria from Estonia, a recent graduate in biology who specialises in the use of micro-organisms, especially fungi, in agriculture. The team is also complemented by Romain, who is a member of ‘The Shift Project’, a French think tank promoting decarbonisation, but above all, he is a co-founder of Spinoa, a company specialising in the production of climate-friendly microalgae called spirulina, distributed in raw and unprocessed forms. They will work together to implement their concept of intergenerational food cooperatives. 

More information about the Climate Community Lab project, which is part of IdeaLab, can be found on the EIT Climate-KIC website.

 
Location
Bulgaria
Related Goal
Goal 5: Reform food systems
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