Cities are increasingly confronted with challenges such as climate change, resource scarcity and environmental pollution. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in analysing and designing the city as a nutritional space in terms of a circular economy. Topics such as food security, sustainable agriculture and the bio-economy are already integrated in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. A key objective of various efforts such as the Milan Agreement is to provide urban areas with a sustainable supply of healthy and regional food in order to make them more resilient to crises.
To address these current and future challenges in the city as a nutritional space, the CITY.FOOD.BASKET project aimed to promote regional baskets of food as a measure to increase sustainable regional food consumption in cities such as Graz and Vienna. This is based on preliminary work of the Smart Food Grid Graz project, in which the "regional food basket" was defined as a strategic measure. On the basis of personas, regional food baskets are defined for different consumer groups and created with partners from the practice. In doing so, food baskets are implemented that correspond to the realities of life of these groups. During the development process, the cycles of the urban food system from the producer to the consumer are taken into account and evaluated from an ecological, social and economic point of view.
A comprehensive environmental assessment of the different products in the food baskets and their underlying production systems by means of life cycle analysis (LCA) will enable the environmental improvement of internal production and logistics systems and show consumers the various environmental effects of their food consumption. In addition, the inclusion of actors in the project is supported by two strategic instruments, a project advisory board from practice, research, politics and media, and a citizens' advisory board. The project also used the group delphi method to identify recommendations for the implementation of food baskets. The project results was presented to the public by application project partners (e.g.: Zero Waste Austria) in agreement with the client, among other things by means of social media, in a more target-group oriented way.
Within the project City.Food.Basket, ITA developed three scenarios on possible futures for the promotion of regional diets by means of a multistage delphi-based expert survey. In a final scenario workshop, consumers and experts developed options for policy, production, trade and regional communities to strengthen regional food supply, contribute to sustainable consumption and reduce dependence on global supply chains.
The consortium has conducted a comprehensive analysis for regional baskets. The coordinator, Strateco, compared for different consumption patterns of conventional and regional value chains for ACTUAL and target conditions through Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of the shopping baskets using the Sustainable Process Index (SPI). The "average ACTUAL shopping basket", is the weekly Austrian consumption pattern from conventional value chains. The regional alternative contains the same products, from regional and organic production. The comparison was made by calculating ecological footprint, which calculates the environmental impact (in this case of a basket of goods for water, air, soil and climate) based on an area - the larger the compensation area, the more polluting the food groups are for the environment.
Conventional shopping cart thus shows 3520 m² week*person compared to a regional shopping cart with 2390 m² week*person.
For the regional ACTUAL shopping cart, this is reflected in shortened logistics chains, such as shortened transportation routes, elimination of middlemen, and reduced packaging. As an example, the regional organic tofu (275 m²/kg) shares the advantages of the small footprint in production and logistics and is therefore ecologically most sensible against imported products.
The project partner FH-Joanneum has investigated needs and behaviors of consumers:inside and identified different archetypal personas and matched them with dietary recommendations (e.g. Vegan Diet and Planetary Health Diet). With different households the developed recommendations were tested in practice and experiences in implementation were collected. Shopping cart stories were created to provide insight into the households' experiences. A brief version of the results is available below, and the final report will be available in June 2023.