Our diet significantly impacts both our own health and the planet. But eating a healthy and sustainable diet is not always feasible for everyone.
In Leuven, we already have several nutrition centered projects. Both from the food strategy ‘Voeding verbindt’ and from the different project clusters of the program ‘healthy and sustainable food’ of the Roadmap to a climate neutral future.
It is important not to exclude anyone from the climate transition. In this project, we therefore focus on vulnerable target groups.
It’s not easy to change (eating) habits. Therefore, we look at how to communicate through digital media in order to increase food security and stimulate more healthy and sustainable eating habits for vulnerable groups.
Furthermore, we will investigate how digital solutions can support the transition to healthier and more sustainable eating habits, and act as a catalyst. We will do this by further developing and testing our EcoFoodMap and by exploring community action platforms.
Video in Flemish with English subtitles
Get to know the region
Leuven, located in the Vlaams-Brabant region between Brussels and Liège, is one of the ten largest cities in Belgium with a population of 150,000. The city is home to a diverse community of citizens, including students, international residents, and innovators. Leuven is also a mission-driven city, committed to achieving climate neutrality by 2030, among other goals.
Local Food Challenges
In Leuven, there are multiple food-related projects, supported by the food strategy ‘Voeding verbindt’. These projects include community garden projects, CSA farms and farming projects in public spaces.
There are also several initiatives that aim to improve food accessibility for vulnerable groups, such as the social (food) shops and social restaurants.
These initiatives are all listed on the EcoFoodMap which provides an overview of the food system in Leuven.
Living Lab Activities
We believe that working together can be a catalyst for change.
In our Living Lab, we will collaborate with a group of stakeholders who work with vulnerable groups in the same geographical area of Leuven. Our aim is to investigate how digital solutions can support their collaboration and information exchange thereby promoting actions toward achieving food security and healthier diets. Upon identifying their needs, we will select and pilot a digital community action platform with these stakeholders.
As part of our Living Lab, KU Leuven will also explore effective digital communication with vulnerable groups via digital media. We will integrate this knowledge within our Living Lab and share it with the stakeholders through the community action platform.
Furthermore, we will enhance the EcoFoodMap, an interactive tool that displays food actors, initiatives, and organizations in and around Leuven. Feedback from users will be collected to further develop the website, and growth-hacking strategies will be implemented to encourage the use and growth of the tool.
You can find more details about our Living Lab actions on our local website (available in Dutch and English): FEAST: gezonde en duurzame voeding voor kwetsbare doelgroepen - Doorbraakprojecten (leuven2030.be)
Leuven 2030, a non-profit network organisation which supports the transition to becoming a climate neutral city. Leuven 2030 leads the community and tech-based actions of the Living Lab.
KU Leuven, a university renowned for its quality education and innovative research. The department institute of media studies is involved in this project. KU Leuven leads the academic-related actions of the Living Lab.
SAAMO Vlaams Brabant, an organisation that creates opportunities for vulnerable groups. They have multiple projects aimed at providing access to food. They are a partner within the Living Lab.