New European Bauhaus
EIT Community Initiative
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- You can support up to 2 projects.
The collaborative kitchen / La cucina collaborativa (Reggio Emilia, Italy)
‘La Cucina Collaborativa’ is a project to increase the circularity of the food donation system in Reggio Emilia by engaging people and organisations in a co-creation process to rethink the system of food donation — not only to reduce food waste, but also to include and nourish people and communities.
Circular economy through actions sticking to the principles of the food waste hierarchy and efficient reutilisation of bio-products and bio-waste, achieving reductions in emissions and waste as well as fostering the second life of products. (Includes tech solutions on safe ‘clean packaging’, smart waste management system). (EIT Food)
Solution proposed, focus area
The food donation system operates at the intersection of the food system and the social care system. On one hand, it is a way to manage food waste and overproduction; on the other, it is about supporting people with nutritious meals, while respecting their preferences and dignity. The main objective of La Cucina Collaborativa is to explore and frame opportunity areas based on the diverse needs of the actors involved, and to develop potential ideas in response.
The project identified four key opportunity areas, and developed ideas in response to each:
Improving the efficiency of the food donation system through smart logistics, including traceability of products and automated decision making (e.g. better meeting dietary needs and personal preferences)
- Improving the experience of managing and participating in food donation through more seamless communication and organisation between Caritas, volunteers and donors
- Enhancing the ability to attract more donors and volunteers into the system and showcasing the impact of food donation on the community
- Using food as a starting point to better address people’s holistic needs, including developing their innate human talents and creating opportunities to realise their potential.
Secondarily, the project seeks to strengthen the network of stakeholders in Reggio Emilia and to leverage their local knowledge to develop the ideas. It also seeks opportunities to invest in realising the ideas surfaced through the La Cucina Collaborativa initiative.
- Low-income individuals and families
- Current and prospective food donors
- Current and prospective volunteers
- Third sector and charitable organisations
Main activities / milestones
- Field and desk research Co-creation/co-design workshops
- Long-term municipal and regional partnerships
- Politecnico di Milano, Department of Design
- Caritas diocesana Reggio Emilia - Guastalla
- Reggio Children
- Fondazione Reggio Children
- Pause – Atelier dei Sapori
- Laboratorio Aperto dei Chiostri di S. Pietro.
The project reinforced how sustainability topics (such as food waste) should not be separated from the social missions usually tackled by the third sector organisations and charities fighting against poverty and for social assistance. The insights, opportunity areas and ideas generated through the La Cucina Collaborativa process shared with stakeholders in Reggio Emilia. An open access publication is scheduled for Spring 2022, and will be available on the project’s website. Overall the La Cucina Collaborativa traced a path toward a new way of imagining food donation, moving above the subordinate idea to which this concept is usually associated. The workshops showed how much potential and willingness to change exists among the actors of the food donation system of Reggio Emilia and in the territory.
The partners are willing to continue the La Cucina Collaborativa initiative by collaborating to identify and seek funding opportunities to finance the further development and implementation of the ideas, and the scaling of the initiative to other cities through the Caritas network.
For more information: http://www.designpolicy.eu/cucina-collaborativa/
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