Delicious Food for All
Bring plant-based food options into schools to instill healthy, sustainable, just and delicious eating habits in young students
Lead Applicant Organization Name
Lead Applicant Organization Type
Large NGO (over 50 employees)
Website of Legally Registered Entity
Entry in the register of associations.
Register court: Local court Berlin (Charlottenburg)
Register number: VR 32501
How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?
Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?
Berlin, the capital of Germany
Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?
Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?
Berlin, the capital of Germany, covers a total area of 891.1 km^2
What country is your selected Place located in?
Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.
In 1892, we were founded under the name Vebu in Berlin. Vebu worked within the city and Germany until 2017 when we expanded into a global vision under our new name, ProVeg International. Headquartered in Berlin, we maintain strong Berlin networks and connections; many of us call Berlin our home.
We are ProVeg International, a food awareness organization working toward our mission to reduce the global consumption of animal products 50% by 2040 as a way to address a multi-problem - the link between global food choices and many of our planet’s most urgent and pressing problems, including the climate crisis and human health.
ProVeg collaborates effectively with governments, public institutions, private companies, medical professionals, businesses and the public to help transition to a more plant-based society and economy that is sustainable, healthy, just, humane and delicious.
Proveg has a long history and connection in Berlin. We have built vibrant networking bonds and created a strong reputation that we proudly uphold. We collaborate broadly with NGOs, scientists, health professionals, environmental agencies and others globally and within Berlin. For example, we are a proud member of the German Climate Alliance, a network of more than 120 civil society organizations.
Our work in Berlin began with a small group of people but has since then flourished to a larger team we now call family. We address a rising need on our planet, working globally with community-based organizations in eight countries across four continents, while our flagship headquarters office is grounded in and continues to serve Berlin. We remain deeply connected to Berlin’s unique blend of tradition and innovation.
Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.
Berlin is an old city, first documented in the 13th century. Sitting at the crossing of two important trade routes and rivers where it has grown into a global city of innovation, culture, technology, politics and art. The historic fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 came to symbolize the power of humanity to envision and create a new and better future.
Home to around 3.7 million inhabitants, Berlin is Germany’s capital and its largest city in both population and size. Nearly three million of Berlin’s residents are German, and it is also home to at least 180,000 Turkish and Turkish German citizens, making it the largest Turkish community outside of Turkey.
It is a young city with a full 23% of Berlin’s residents under the age of 25, so the city has many school and university-aged constituents. Around 875 primary and secondary schools teaching as many as 350,000 students.
A hub for higher education, home to four public research universities and 30+ private, professional and technical colleges. Over 175,000 students were enrolled in these programs in 2015 and 18% of these enrollees have an international background.
Berlin rests in the broader food culture of Germany, a country whose citizens consume meat at higher averages than their European counterparts. Known for a love of sausages, German citizens face high rates of heart disease, diabetes, and overweightness as compared to other European countries. Yet, there’s also an appetite for change. Residents from Turkey bring forward an emphasis on vegetables, rice, and bread from their homeland’s cuisine. In 2016, Germany launched more plant-based foods than any other country. Most were plant-based versions of traditional meats, underscoring the unique fusion of innovation and tradition that Germany’s capital city exemplifies.
What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)
What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?
Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.
Berlin, like the rest of the planet, faces the effects of a global climate crisis. In 30 years, Berlin is likely to face temperatures most like those of Canberra, Australia. In 2018, Germany faced record droughts, leading to its fourth driest year since 1881 and causing agricultural losses of over 1.4 billion euros and an eight million ton drop in grain production. Climate change is strongly linked to our food choices and can no longer be ignored.
Meat, dairy, and egg production are among the leading causes of human-caused climate change, including soil erosion, water pollution, and decreases in biodiversity. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, farmed animals are responsible for 14.5% of total greenhouse gas emissions; animal agriculture accounts for at least half of all food-related greenhouse gas emissions.
A study published by the American Institute of Agriculture and Trade Policy found that even if the energy and transport sectors successfully cut their emissions in line with the Paris Climate Agreement, we will still fail to prevent catastrophic climate change if the livestock sector does not change. If the demand for animal products continues to rise, the livestock sector as a whole could consume 80% of the planet’s annual greenhouse gas budget by 2050.
Germany also contributes inequitably to the global climate crisis. The Global Carbon Project 2018 ranked Germany as the 6th largest emitter of carbon dioxide globally. Studies show that it is the poor and marginalized people and places worldwide who are most affected by climate change, making Germany’s climate challenges a matter of global justice.
Germany faces health challenges as well. In 2015, Germany ranked eighth for rates of heart disease-related deaths and had higher than average rates of diabetes and overweight citizens, when compared among countries within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation (OECD). The 2015 report said Germany needs to do more to “promote healthy lifestyles.”
The Harvard Medical School’s blog summarizes the link between these health issues and diet, saying, “Science has shown us over and over again that the more meat we eat, the higher our risk of diabetes, heart disease, and strokes. Conversely, the more fruits and vegetables we eat, the lower our risk for these diseases, and the lower our body mass index.”
Despite significant health and environmental concerns, which, in turn, have major economic implications, the majority of German citizens still consume more animal meat than the European average. In 2016, Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture Christian Schmidt expressed concern with Germany’s dietary habits, stressing that the meat-heavy food culture could lead to a “competence deficit” among young people and their ability to eat healthily. He said, “Diet must be prioritized, particularly because of its high social cost” and underscored the need for better nutrition education in schools.
Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.
The production and consumption of animal products is linked to some of Berlin’s most urgent challenges. Yet there is a solution to help: reduce the consumption of animals and increase the consumption of plant foods.
ProVeg’s Delicious Food For All (DFFA) is a solution designed to bring plant-based food options into schools to instill healthy, sustainable, just, and delicious eating habits in young students, the demographic who will inherit the future of 2050 from us. DFFA works to reduce the consumption of animal products 50% by 2040 in Berlin’s school system by influencing institutions, focusing on caterers and schools and through teaching students, focusing on bringing healthy eating workshops to classrooms. DFFA is grounded in Berlin yet scalable, it can be easily regionally and culturally adapted to other places. In increasing the availability and acceptance of plant-based foods, it delivers a critical solution to a neglected area and revisions the environmental, economic, health and cultural landscape of Berlin in an accessible and positive way.
DFFA networks with, educates, and trains catering companies to offer plant-based cafeteria options, offering product testing to ensure added menu items are healthy, sustainable and delicious. DFFA also goes into classrooms to educate, motivate and inspire students to choose plant-based menu items, increasing student literacy in fruits, vegetables, and the deliciousness of veg options. In 2018, ProVeg received the United Nations’ Momentum for Change Award for this work.
In increasing the availability of plant-based options in Berlin schools, while also educating students to choose plant-based foods through their lives, ProVeg creates a vision of 2050 that is healthier, sustainable and more just than our current path.
Studies suggest that personal food-related carbon footprints could be halved with the adoption of plant-based diets. In a landscape of increasing drought, a third of our world’s available freshwater now goes to animal agriculture. Animal products require an average of about 2.5 litres of water per kilocalorie, but plant-based products such as cereals, roots, fruits, and vegetables, use only about half a litre of water per kilocalorie. Reducing the consumption of animal products helps mitigate peak water.
Similarly, for Berlin’s health challenges, studies find diets of predominantly plant foods and lower in animal foods are associated with “lower risk of incident cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular disease mortality and all cause mortality in a general population,” with benefits for cardiovascular risk factors including obesity, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes mellitus.
In reducing animal consumption, one University of Oxford study found that by 2050 the world can save $20-$30 trillion in reduced health and environmental costs.
We need to start working toward a better world today. DFFA provides a scalable and effective solution to multiple challenges.
High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.
ProVeg’s vision is one where everyone chooses delicious and healthy food that is good for all humans, our planet, and animals.
Delicious Food For All works to transform Berlin into vibrant, sustainable, just and healthy community that supports our planet and humanity in positive ways. Working within the school system to encourage plant-based food options, we arm children with the tools they need to succeed in a rapidly changing landscape, creating a future that is not only survivable but that is also thrivable.
Food connects everything and everyone. It’s a place where our innovations and our traditions come together. ProVeg International’s vision of Berlin in 2050 is of a city where the youth of today are our leaders. Where the city’s residents are eating 50% less animal products and where our food choices are sustainable, healthy and most importantly delicious. Our vision is a place where we can look back on 2020 and say, “we turned the tides - we created a livable future for all. Delicious Food For All creates the foundation for this vision by reaching youth in Berlin. We effect large scale change by corporate work with catering companies, and create personal empowerment through reaching youth in classrooms.
This is a scalable and adaptable program that can be offered worldwide and grow to leverage technology solutions that can be culturally adapted, making a significant difference for our health, planet, and economy.
In increasing the availability of plant-based options through catering and school institutions, and in educating children about the benefits of plant-based eating, we create a new way forward for our planet and one another.
Our choices can harm the world or help it, and Delicious Food For All is a gateway to a better world, one that mitigates multiple challenges by reducing animal consumption.
Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?
Our vision is a regenerative one where climate change, health and animal well-being is addressed through the successful implementation of a default plant-based meal option in schools and universities.
This means on one side, bringing awareness of the health benefits that come from having a plant-based nutrition while clearing misconceptions of false nutrition standards attached to it. On another side, successfully teaching the effects that food choices have on the environment and animals. The vision is of course only possible through a holistic approach revolving around caterers, catering companies, municipalities, parents and children which start locally, paves the way nationally and contributes globally.
It is a vision reducing carbon footprint by addressing water shortages through a rise of plant milk in school meals. Knowing that the water footprint of any animal-based product is bigger than the water footprint of plant-based products, with an equal nutritional value, introducing these is crucial. In comparison to the different varieties of plant milk, cow’s milk has the biggest environmental impact in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, land and water use.
Through municipalities in our holistic approach, the impact can grow in scale. Meaning, reducing the amount of animal products purchased with municipal funds and serving more plant-forward options, such as plant milk, on the Berlin municipalities, will cut urban GHG emissions and reduce water footprints, all while saving money and offering healthier food. Beyond leveraging the city’s purchasing power, municipalities can inspire school districts, private institutions, restaurants and community residents to shift their purchases towards climate-friendly foods. Compared to the majority of climate mitigation strategies, plant-forward institutional food purchasing is a cost-effective approach that will downsize Berlin’s carbon footprint while improving the health of the public.
These changes will trickle down a revision in the food industry. Empowering the food industry to go more into the direction of plant-based cooking where it will also consequently empower women to take careers in a heavily male dominated sector which in turn boosts gender equality.
Lastly, there is also a growing receptivity and interest in Germany for meat replacements among other substitutes, driving the food and retail market to expand the plant-based portfolio especially in terms of taste and price. The eating habits of children, the future generations will end up nudging producers and largely shaping food supply and demand as well as land use systems. Bigger companies in the food and beverage space from retailers to producers have now recognized that the plant-based market will establish itself as its own category for years to come and are already changing alternatives at supermarket shelves. DFFA will contribute in this transition to a more plant-based city simply with a plate, fork and a school meal at a time.
We seek in our vision, as the saying goes, “to educate a child in order to turn walls into doors.”
How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?