Tales of transformation: Ghent uses participative governance models to transform their local food system

May 19, 2020


IMAGE: Stadt Gent


Local transformation needs to be brought to the next level in all aspects of society. Europe needs solutions for major environmental, economic and social challenges! But we also need inspiring, replicable examples of how urban leaders have transformed their towns and cities.


In the run-up to Mannheim2020, we will showcase examples of how towns and cities across Europe have done this.


This week we take a look at Ghent (Belgium) and explore how they’ve used participative governance models and a food policy council to make their city more #sustainable, #resilient and #liveable.





IMAGE: Stadt Gent

Ghent’s guide to transforming their local food system


Food consumption and production methods have a major impact on the environment, public health, and societies.


Recognising its role in reducing food waste and the emissions associated with food production, the City of Ghent launched the Gent en Garde project to transform its local food system.


The project involves using participatory governance models, including a food policy council, redistributing surplus food destined for waste to people in need through the Foodsavers platform, and investing in agricultural land for local food production.


In addition, schools receive training on how to build and implement community gardens, whilst new initiatives such as ‘Veggie Day’ promote vegetarian diets.


Since launching the project in 2013, the city has seen impressive results, with increases in the number of farmers markets, residents opting for vegetarian diets, and community gardens, with over 42 schools receiving training in community gardening. The city has also seen a marked decrease in CO2 emissions, saving approximately 762 tonnes of CO2 emissions in its first ten months of operation.







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