Conferences Events Festival Nordic Food Policy Lab Sustainable diets

The road to EAT Stockholm Food Forum 2018

EAT Stockholm Food Forum 2018 kicked off on Monday, June 11th. This year, EAT Forum brought more than 600 of the brightest minds from science, politics, business and civil society from over 50 countries together to discuss how food can address some of the most pressing issues of our time. The EAT Forum seeks to drive progress and coordinate action across sectors and disciplines to tackle the intertwined challenges of the global food system.

Here’s what I got up to during my time in Stockholm:

Saturday, June 9

The Nordic Food Policy Lab and the SDG2 Advocacy Hub hosted an event at Torsåker farm, sponsored by Eachmile and Fishcoin. This dinner brought together a group of chefs from around the world to discuss the Sustainable Development Goals and traceability of ingredients to drive change in our food system. The group spent time exploring Torsåker farm and their work as a development centre for sustainable meals of the future, before sitting together to enjoy a tasty meal, prepared in line with the New Nordic Kitchen Manifesto, and enlightening discussion on the ways to drive action for a sustainable food system tied to the Chefs’ Manifesto.

Located 30 km north of Stockholm city centre, Torsåker farm is a development centre for sustainable meals of the future. Led by the Axfoundation, Torsåker will gather farmers, business leaders, entrepreneurs and researchers to test cultivation, raise livestock, refine and develop new foodstuffs, new foods and new meals. With the meal as the final destination, Torsåker contributes to the creation of economically, ecologically and socially sustainable products that are better in terms of environmental sustainability, food quality and nutrition as well as better tasting.

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At the beautiful Torsåker Farm

Sunday, June 10

On Sunday, I headed to Taste of Stockholm, Sweden’s largest food festival, to check out the International Chef Challenges lead by the SDG2 Hub Chefs’ Manifesto. Chefs representing the Chefs’ Manifesto took to the stage and cooked meals that represented the values contained in the Manifesto.

Chefs bridge the gap between the farm and the fork – transforming raw ingredients into delicious, nutritious meals. In doing so, they influence what we grow, what we put on our plates and how we think and talk about food. Chefs can be powerful advocates for a better food future – inspiring people to make changes in their kitchens and communities and empowering them to call on governments and companies to also play their part.

– SDG2 Hub Chefs Manifesto

Monday, June 11

MORNING Early Monday morning, I headed to the Talanoa Dialogue: Putting food systems front and centre of the climate agenda side-event. This side-event focused on sustainable food consumption. Sustainable food is paramount to achieving the Paris Agreement but is still not recognized centrally in solutions to climate change. It’s time to change the discourse around climate and food systems. This can be done through a process called the Talanoa Dialogues. Input from this event will be brought to the table at COP24 later this year.

AFTERNOON – In the afternoon, between all of the fantastic talks on the main stage, I moderated a Nordic Food Policy Lab side-event, Designing your menu of food policy solutions for sustainable diets. During this side-event, we launched the Solutions Menu: A Nordic guide to sustainable food policy! We have put a lot of hard work into this document and it was very exciting to share it with the world. This side-event explored concrete tools, materials and behind-the-scenes advice on devising innovative and non-invasive policy tools. We connected ‘solutions-owners’ with ‘solutions-seekers’, allowing for a joint exploration of the secret ingredients that will help us proactively address the SDG targets related to poor and unsustainable diets. During this session, we collectively harnessed knowledge that was intended to help others to engage more effectively in the development of robust and impactful policies.

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Five groups discuss concrete solutions that can be implemented into food policy 

Tuesday, June 12

EARLY MORNING – On Tuesday morning, I attended an event hosted by FReSH that discussed technical, organizational, and policy barriers that prevent true cost approaches to be widely used today. By reaching out to partners active in this area, FReSH aimed at overcoming those are barriers and transform food systems for sustainability & health.

A joint program between EAT and WBCSD, Food Reform for Sustainability and Health (FReSH) is designed to accelerate transformational change in global food systems, to reach healthy, enjoyable diets for all, that are produced responsibly within planetary boundaries. To achieve this ambitious goal, FReSH has brought business and science to work together. It draws on knowledge and efforts from premier research institutions and is working with the business community to develop successful, high-impact solutions.

MORNING – Following the side-event, I participated in a ‘Disruptive Dialogue’ session called Protein, People, Planet: What’s the Plan? 

About the Disruptive Dialogue: While red meat can play an important nutritional role where hunger is pervasive, rapidly changing diets towards high levels of red and processed meat consumption with combined population growth and affluence drives real environmental and health concerns. No single other food category exhibits the same degree of impacts on both health and environment with several global models indicating that shifts towards plant-based diets are central to attaining global health and sustainability targets. Based on dietary needs of a low-risk diet, IHME estimates that red meat is overproduced by nearly 435% globally. Ruminants can play important ecological roles, and can be critically important sources of nutrients in undernourished communities.

Building on the first FReSH Science to Solutions Dialogue held in Washington in April of 2018, this EAT Stockholm Food Forum Disruptive Dialogue will present a four-dimensional solutions framework (environmental, social, dietary health, and business case) which sustainably produced meat, meat alternatives such as synthetic meats, or plant/fungal based proteins can be evaluated against. Six to ten food items volunteered by the participants will be presented as “solutions” contributing to equitable access to protein, reducing meat overconsumption, and eliminating the climate forcing and land expansion impacts of meat production. Through a facilitated discussion, participants will comment on the impact of the food item on the four framework dimensions. The discussion will be facilitated in order to (1) test the evaluation framework developed by FReSH, (2) test the strengths and weaknesses of the product and its contribution to EAT-Lancet targets, and (3) identify opportunities and barriers to addressing the identified weaknesses. We present specific protein-rich food items volunteered by the participants as real business solutions to dietary health and sustainability, and use the conversation to enable the identification of specific and real barriers (technological, political, consumer choice) to scaling.

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Discussing which kinds of products will help us to transform the food system and which are just a part of the status quo

AFTERNOON – In the afternoon, the Secretary-General of the Nordic Council of Ministers, Dagfinn Høybråten, was on the main stage talking about how we can maximize partnerships to ensure that healthy and sustainable is the ‘new normal’ of food consumption patterns. Dagfinn touched upon some of the main takeaways from the Solutions Menu: A Nordic guide to sustainable food policy. 

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Secretary-General, Dagfinn Høybråten, presents the Solutions Menu at EAT Forum 

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If you missed #EATForum18 this year, it’s possible to check out the videos of the presentations by clicking here.

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