Shortening food chains in metropolitan areas – examples from London, Berlin, Rotterdam and Milan

Foodmetres is a 3-year EU 7th framework research project looking at ways of shortening food supply chains in metropolitan areas. FoodMetRes is short for the ‘Food planning and innovation for sustainable Metropolitan Regions’ (

Seven universities and eleven small and medium size enterprises (SME’s) are involved with case studies in the UK, Germany, Nether-lands, Italy, Slovenia and Kenya. One aim of the project is to study innovations and shortening food supply chains – reducing the actual distance food travels but also cutting the number of ‘middlepersons’.

Another aim is to study urban agriculture/horticulture (‘zero chain food supply’) and its potential contribution to food supply in different metropolitan areas. New growing spaces can be found in unexpected places: e.g. roof and vertical gardens or containers on temporarily and brownfield sites. Urban orchards (>12 trees) can be created with pneumatic drills carving out a narrow strip (0.2-0.3m) at the edge of roads or pavements and training fruit trees on slow growing rootstocks along walls.

Computer map tools are used to help identify all the sites possible for new growing spaces and calculate potential cost-benefit scenarios. The presentation will share other practical innovation examples and participants’ experiences on this subject matter – a process academically coined as ‘knowledge brokerage’.


Theme: business markets
Published: 22nd January 2014
Author: Ulrich Schmutz