Main lab’s objectives
The main objective of Quart de Poblet lab is to increase the national and international
promotion and relevance of the Valencia’s ecological agriculture and local commerce.
How Quart de Poblet thinks to achieve this objective?
To do that, the City council desires to define new promotion policies.
Variables to monitor:
The CRFS of Quart de Poblet is the Valencia CRFS.
They are interested in monitoring the promotion and users’ opinion of the local commerce and
ecological agriculture, but also, they need generic statistical data to decide the most suitable
promotion policies to be implemented.
Initially, the variables we have identified Quart is interested into are:
Quart de Poblet aspires to put food systems transformation at the heart of their policy agenda. The Cities2030 project emerges as an opportunity for the city to develop and implement sustainable and innovative solutions for CRFS by encouraging the participation of citizens and moving consumers from being passive recipients to active engagement and motivated change agents.
Although Quart de Poblet has no previous experience in the development of Living Labs and Policy Labs, is a municipality with a great participatory and associative tradition with more than 170 registered associations. CRFS Labs within the Cities2030 turn out to be a powerful tool for the municipality, as they will allow it to identify the main local stakeholders and create a local food community, bringing CRFS actors closer to local government and policy makers, in order to undertake an innovative food policy inclusive of all perspectives, problems and needs of the municipality.
A user-centred and multi-actor approach to open innovation processes may be an instrument to liberate the potential of the local food system, to foster linkages and networks among local stakeholders and to create spaces for collaboration and cooperation among them. It can also be a very useful tool for the local government of Quart de Poblet when it comes to find and design innovative policies and solutions.
Quart de Poblet CRFS Living Labs will be implemented in the municipality with the collaboration of Cities2030 Spanish partners: SINNO (P19), a nonprofit organisation that aims to serve as a catalyst between technology and society by encouraging the collaboration of different actors in the development of products that improve the quality of life of citizens; and UPM (P20), through the Research Group “Network Engineering and Advanced Telecommunication Services Group”.
The territorial scope of the labs will be mainly the city of Quart de Poblet. Taking into account the dimension of the municipality and the fact that its territory is part of the province of Valencia, the territory covered by the labs is open to the whole province. This is also explained by the fact that Quart de Poblet does not have an independent food system.
Quart de Poblet is a municipality of 19,6 KM2 located in the metropolitan area of Valencia, therefore, it is part of the urban belt or periphery of the city of Valencia. The municipality has more than 24.000 inhabitants and its territory is divided into a residential urban district, an industrial zone, a natural park through which the river Túria flows and land protected as non-developable agricultural land.
Quart de Poblet had traditionally been a mainly agricultural town, which experienced the process typical of towns near a large city, with uncontrolled population growth and industrial settlements. Currently, 1978 hectares constitute agricultural land in the municipality. Less than half of this land is cultivated and exploited. Regarding land tenure, most of the land is privately owned. The main problem identified is unproductive and abandoned land, which is also protected from urbanization.
In order to address this problem, in 2019, the City Council of Quart de Poblet enabled a 150 m2 area in the Túria river park located in the core of the municipality, for its use, exploitation and maintenance as leisure and learning eco-gardens for citizens. The aim of this initiative is to promote environmental education, encourage citizen participation and sustainable development, as well as to get to know with direct contact the different traditional and native orchard species. Nevertheless, it is still an issue to be addressed and it will be raised in the Cities2030 labs.
Quart de Poblet is a city that has been highly industrialized. At present, there are about 40 businesses dedicated to the production of bread and pastries, dairy products, processed meats, beers, cocoa products, nuts and beverages. Besides that, there are 40 warehouses and distributors of food products.
Regarding the marketing phase of the food supply chain, food products are available throughout the entire municipality, where there are more than 250 small local businesses and supermarkets that commercialize food products, mainly eggs, meats, bread and bakery, fruits and vegetables, etc. We also find more than 140 bars and restaurants.
The relationships between these actors are unknown, as well as the traceability of food products. Better understanding of Quart de Poblet CRFS and specifically the food supply chain and mapping and identifying the different agents and stakeholders is essential for Quart de Poblet. Shortening the supply chain is another of the issues that will be raised in the Cities2030 labs.
As previously mentioned, the availability of food is covered in the city of Quart de Poblet. However, another of the dimensions of food security, that is, economic access to food is not a strength of Quart de Poblet CRFS. Occasional initiatives have been taken by the local government, especially actions aimed at mitigating food poverty:
In addition to this, food waste and unhealthy and unsustainable consumption habits continue to be an unresolved issue. Promoting a healthy and sustainable diet, as well as reducing food waste by encouraging more environmentally friendly consumption patterns and habits, will be key objectives of the Cities2030 labs.
Finally, reference should be made to the waste treatment plant that collects and manages the waste from Quart de Poblet. This entity has a plant in Quart de Poblet where it produces compost from organic waste and markets it to local farmers.
Setting up CRFS Labs
It should be noted that the lab in Quart de Poblet will be divided into two working groups. On the one hand, we will act on the supply side of products, i.e. a stable working group focused on farmers, companies in the food sector, local trade, etc. On the other hand, a Living Lab working group will focus on the food demand side, i.e. on the citizens. By changing eating patterns and habits, we could transform the food system. If citizens are aware of the importance of consuming local, healthy and sustainable products, they would change their consumption habits and consequently, the food offering available on the market.
Having presented an overview of the Quart de Poblet CRFS, it is appropriate to establish the people to be involved in CRFS labs and the priorities to be put on the table for discussion:
Quart de Poblet Living Lab aims to identify and involve the owners of unproductive land, farmers in the municipality and unemployed students of an agricultural workshop offered by the employment centre of the municipality in order to co-create innovative solutions to make use of abandoned land, cultivate and exploit it, generating a short local supply chain, through which farmers can sell their products directly in the municipality. In short, these will be the key topics of the Living lab: #MadeInQuart #Km0 #LocalFood
The second priority of Quart de Poblet Living Lab will be developing a sustainable food culture and skills in order to change the consumption patterns and habits by promoting healthy and sustainable diets and reducing food waste. The key topics on the side of the demand of food will be #SustainableFood #HealthyFood #ResponsibleConsumption. To this end, Quart de Poblet will identify and engage citizens, nutritionists, local restaurants, school teachers, etc.