Ths city of Bruges in Belgium is working hard to improve its food systems and policies. They have designed a Sustainable Food Strategy with six priorities:

1| Short chain

  • They increase the visibility of short-chain products in the catering sector and in shops.
  • They encourage the sale of local products directly from producers.

The ‘short chain map for the north of West Flanders’ contains a handy list of

  • farms selling their own produce
  • restaurants using local products
  • “buurderijen” collection points (a group of citizens buying directly from farmers)
  • food teams
  • markets
  • beekeepers
  • CSA farms (Community Supported Agriculture) or pick-your-own farms
  • farm picnics
  • food cooperatives in the north of West Flanders

2|  Urban gardening

  •  hey set up model projects on urban gardening.
  • They promote urban gardening among the general public.

For people who are into gardening, but do not have their own garden, they can rent an allotment garden.

3| Urban agriculture

  • They offer urban agriculture possibilities that meet the specific needs of Bruges and the Bruges area.
  • They make urban agriculture more sustainable.

4| Food waste prevention

  • They redistribute food that is left over at e.g. (fish) auctions, schools, mass catering businesses and events.
  • They help prevent food waste in public organizations.

5| Encourage Fair trade

  • They increase the visibility of fair trade products in the catering sector and in local shops.
  • They make fair trade products available in more shops.

6| Education and campaigning

  • They provide education on sustainable food.
  • They promote vegetarian food to midfield organizations and city departments.

The Food Lab is the hub of the sustainable food system in Bruges

Around 40 organizations already participate in the Bruges Food Lab, a knowledge and meeting platform, including several city departments (the Environmental Department, the North-South Department, the Parks and Gardens Department etc.) and many organizations and associations. Among the priorities of the Bruges Food Lab are the following food issues:

  1. More emphasis on sustainability in cooking schools.
  2. Processing and redistributing surplus fish at the auction.
  3. Acting as a sounding board for research into short chain hub(s) in Bruges.
  4. Linking supply and demand of grounds intended for urban gardening and urban agriculture.
  5. Bringing together suppliers and demanders of surplus food.
  6. Developing a manual on sustainable food for events.

They are also starting up a project of food waste in hospitals and there is a study ongoing about short chain hubs. Next schoolyear they will be working together with an NGO on sustainable foods in schools

You can know more about the Bruges experience in this brochure or in their website (in Flemish), as well as in the website of the FSC project in Bruges (in English).