On March 14th, 2024, Brussels played host to a significant event in the realm of sustainable food systems: the CO-FRESH final gathering. With global challenges like climate change and food insecurity looming large, CO-FRESH brought together stakeholders from various sectors to collectively address these pressing issues.

Uniting for Change

CO-FRESH served as a platform for collaboration, bringing together policymakers, researchers, industry leaders, and civil society representatives. The event facilitated discussions, knowledge sharing, and the forging of partnerships aimed at promoting sustainable practices across the food value chain.

Keynote Insights

Among the notable highlights of the CO-FRESH final event were the insightful keynote speeches delivered by prominent figures from the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). Peter Schmidt, representing the EESC, delved into the theme of “Towards a Fair and Sustainable Food Supply Chain,” emphasizing the importance of equity and sustainability throughout the food production and distribution process. Piroska Kallay, also from the EESC, addressed “The Role of Governance for the Future of Agri-Food Systems,” shedding light on the crucial role of governance structures in shaping the trajectory of food systems towards sustainability.

Pilot Case Presentations

During the event, particular attention was given to the presentation of the seven pilot cases that formed the backbone of the CO-FRESH project. These case studies provided valuable insights into the real-world implementation of sustainable food practices, with a spotlight on the experiences, innovations, and lessons learned by each pilot project.

Joint Actions with FOODRUS and Fairchain

A significant session during the CO-FRESH event was dedicated to the discussion of joint actions with other projects, namely FoodRus and Fairchain. It was agreed to organize a joint final event with the FoodRUs project. FoodRus event took place on the 13th of March and it has been decided to have two collaborative sessions in each event. On the 13th, the collaboration between the sister projects was presented followed by a round table with the sister projects. On the 14th, the policy recommendations were presented also with the collaboration of the sister projects. 

Committing to Action

The CO-FRESH event concluded with concrete commitments from stakeholders to drive positive change. These commitments ranged from policy initiatives to grassroots efforts, all aimed at empowering local communities and promoting sustainable food practices.

Looking Ahead

As the CO-FRESH final event drew to a close, participants left Brussels energized and empowered to continue their efforts towards sustainable food systems. CO-FRESH, being the result of a co-creation methodology, exemplified the effectiveness of collaborative approaches in tackling complex challenges. However, the work does not end here. The momentum generated by CO-FRESH must translate into tangible actions on the ground. By working together and embracing innovation, we can overcome the challenges facing our food systems and create a resilient and fair agri-food value chain.

In conclusion, the CO-FRESH final event in Brussels catalyzed change, bringing together stakeholders from across sectors to collaborate on building a more sustainable food future. Through dialogue, innovation, and collective action, participants demonstrated a shared commitment to addressing the pressing challenges of our time. As we move forward, let us harness this momentum to drive meaningful change and create a world where everyone has access to safe, nutritious, and sustainable food.

The recording of the final event is available here