Kenko: a wink of a child
Developing sustainable diets in Barcelona city through circular economy and inclusive society.
Lead Applicant Organization Name
Go Zero waste Sociedad Limitada
Lead Applicant Organization Type
Small company (under 50 employees)
Website of Legally Registered Entity
How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?
Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?
Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?
Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?
What country is your selected Place located in?
Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.
Barcelona is the city where we have live most of our lives.
We have all had the chance to live abroad and travel, see how other cultures work and how people live in other cities and countries. However, we always feel very lucky that Barcelona is our hometown.
Barcelona has many things to offer, is a big city but not too large; the weather is very good; the cultural offer is good; there is a lot of technological and social innovation happening; is modern and cosmopolitan but at the same time conservative and rooted at its traditions.
We are currently working trying to develop circular economy projects within the city, promoting zero waste style of living, reuse projects and solutions, conscious consumption, etc. Circular Economy requires of systematic changes and we believe Barcelona has the right size to demonstrate that things can be done in a different way.
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.
Barcelona is located on the northeast coast of the Spain, facing the Mediterranean Sea, on a plain approximately 5 km (3 mi) wide limited by a mountain range, a river to the southwest and another river to the north. This plain covers an area of 170 km2 (66 sq mi), of which 101 km2 (39.0 sq mi) are occupied by the city itself. It is 120 kilometres (75 miles) south of the Pyrenees and the border with France.
Barcelona is the administrative capital of the region of Catalonia. Catalonia has a very strong identity and its own language, the catalan.
With more than 1.5 million inhabitants, Barcelona is the second biggest city in Spain, only behind Madrid. With only 101km2 of city and more than 1,5 million inhabitants, it is quite a dense city (some neighbourhoods have the highest densities of Europe).
Barcelona is a city of many contrasts. It has an open mind and is cosmopolitan but at the same time traditional in its customs and Catalan culture.
Additionally, more than 200,000 of its inhabitants are foreigners, and so it is not hard to see that it is a multicultural place where folk of all nationalities live alongside one another. There are also many visitors from the rest of Spain.
On the other hand, there is a very neighbourhood feel. This is something very typical of Barcelona. That in spite of being a big city, it maintains its essence, which makes the city very authentic. The inhabitants of Barcelona when they are not at work, spend much of their lives outside their houses, in the park, at the beach or on a terrace in the open air and often do so in their own neighbourhoods.
Barcelona has become a tourist destination for many years and this success is now one of the biggest challenges the city and its inhabitants are facing (crowded areas, increase cost of living, housing, etc..).
Barcelona enjoys a culture of food. While typical catalan diet was based in plant based proteins like chickpeas, beans, lentils and vegetables, there was an increase of meat consumption during the 70s that has changed the typical daily food intake of citizens in the last 30 years. However most people diet is considered “mediterranean” (lost of vegetables, fruits, fish, bread, olive oil, etc.). Even if it is considered a very healthy diet, unnecessary intake of quantities of food and sedentary lifestyle makes non-communicable disease a common reality.
Many people stills cooks at home.There are “farmers” markets in all neighbourhoods open at least 6 days a week. However locals also like to enjoy eating out and there is a huge offer and variety of restaurants and bars all around the city.
Barcelona does not have agricultural land. The closest big agricultural areas are located at least at 20-50 km from the city.
Current local government was born from a grassroots movement. They are implementing “green” initiatives (bicycle routes, car limitation zone, air contamination…, ) that are not always well perceived /accepted by the majority, but once implemented opinion of many people change. They have for instance improved the school canteen dietary options (replacing some of the meat by plant-based proteins, including organic products, etc).
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.
Barcelona current food system could be described as an ”importer system” meaning all raw food is produced outside the city boundaries.
Barcelona current food system has the following challenges:
very limited space (110km2) and no agricultural land available.
limited green spaces (current policy efforts are taken to increase green areas)
aging population (in 2017 the aged between 45 and 64 years formed the 56.9% of population)
the city attracts a lot of tourism which makes the quality of some local restaurants and “street food” decrease as well as price rise. Also some shops that use to sell food for the local communities have change their offer towards “ready to eat” food for tourists.
While typical catalan diet was based in plant based proteins and vegetables, there was an increase of meat consumption during the 70s that has changed the typical daily food intake of citizens in the last 30 years.
percentage of population with non-communicable diseases is increasing
food waste (biggest percentage of the municipal waste if the organic fraction)
lost of good quality traditional affordable food.
gentrification in the city center is causing higher prices in quality food.
online food purchase is causing mobility traffic jams, poor labour conditions (riders) and decreases people consuming in local groceries, markets and some restaurants.
most children from 3 to 12 eat their lunch at school canteens, therefore a big part of the Barcelona’s children balanced and nutritious food intake relies on the catering industry.
In the future food system (2050), like many cities located in the mediterranean, Barcelona will be affected by:
an increase of population (in the inner city and in the metropolitan area)
increase of temperatures (expected an average of 2.5C)
increase of sea level
fish species, that were part of traditional diet, extinction due to overfishing and climate crisis
lost of people culinary skills
changes in traditional dietary choices (from animal protein to plant based proteins)
concern for healthy diets
demand of transparency on the entire food value chain
more environmentally conscious population
increase of food intolerances and allergies
Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.
In our Vision the challenges that Barcelona food system is facing now and in 2050 will be addressed by making an effort to reconnect to its traditional food systems and diets while embracing what the technology evolution and new models of social participation in the design of the city allows. While designing its future food system, Barcelona will also take into account global challenges like climate crisis, increase and ageing of population and human migrations.
Barcelona is a city holding a lot of innovation companies, tech and social start-ups, and at the same time people are in love of its traditions and culture...no one wants to lose the essence of the city. Therefore challenges will be addressed by keeping a balance between what we already are doing right and love but making it more efficient, inclusive and sustainable thanks to innovation and systematic design.
Barcelona will secure a food system allowing “Sustainable Diets” for all its citizens.
The food system will have low environmental impacts while contributing to food and nutrition security and to healthy life. The food system will be:
protective and respectful of the biodiversity and ecosystems,
economically fair and affordable,
safe and healthy
optimizing natural and human resources
So for instance, how could Barcelona ensure that most people can access affordable traditional food (plant-based proteins, vegetables, fruits, etc) in the city?
Combining solutions to connect offer-demand from the city with the network of suppliers and at the same time avoiding food-waste;
using technology for calculating personalised nutrition intake needs;
promoting more city orchards in the green areas and roof-tops;
incentivising household hydroponics systems;
How will the local government enhance these changes:
educating citizens and children from early ages on food systems; giving cook clases at school;
promoting preventive medicine based in healthy diets;
ensuring there is transparency in labelling products;
There will be new jobs that today does not exists (for instance public orchards responsibles), as also other ones will maybe decrease (butchers) or disappear...to ensure that all these challenges can be addressed.
Also the city urbanism will have to adapt to accommodate more people. However policies based on circular economy promoting a service based culture instead of an “owning” culture will mean that people will posed less things and be comfortable living in smaller spaces.
Also the city infrastructure will have to be adapted to climate change (rise of temperature, heavy rains) for instance with more areas providing shadow, by incorporating resilience design (to capture heavy rain and reuse it to water in drought periods), smart and renewable energy systems, etc.
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.
Barcelona will be much greener than today. All the spaces not occupied by housing will be optimised to hold a maximum of edible greens and provide shadow for the very warm days. At the same time housing will have been adapted to incorporate vegetable growing areas. However the city will have more inhabitants, therefore new spaces that previously have been occupied by other things (like parkings) will have been converted into residencies.
Greener areas combined with integrated renewable energy in eco-buildings will allow to better endure the effects of climate change like drought periods or heavy rain, as well as optimising resources like water.
People will not posede many things; they will be using things as a service, renting, sharing,... meaning for instance that there will be few cars in the city. Also the size of flats will be smaller as there is no need to accumulate objects.
People will have access to technology that will measure their “health balance” and make recommendations on what to eat to improve or keep on being well. People will be more knowledgeable with the effects that food have on them and on the environment. This means that they are more demanding with policy makers to ensure transparency of the products (origin, components, traceability,..) and its effects on health.
The city will be more connected with the nearby agricultural areas to ensure that the quantity of food is produced is in the appropriate quantities, minimising food waste.
People will not eat anymore 3 to 5 times per day. They will ensure to have the necessary daily intake of nourishments thanks to technology and then from time to time they will gather with family or friends to cook or go to restaurants and have gastronomic experiences.
Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?
School assignment: Describe how is a typical day of your life
In the morning I wake up around 7am when the curtains open automatically activated by the first rays of sun.
The first thing I do is to look at Kenko (my health device) to see how is my health balance. Few seconds later it tells me that everything is fine. My set of micronutrients and macronutrients will be ready in the kitchen.
I go to the spray clean room. It only takes few seconds for my body to be sprayed and clean and ready for the day.
When I go to the Kitchen my parents, my little sister and Hamal are already there. Hamal comes from North Africa where heat is becoming unbearable and has been living with us for a while until he starts “new citizens adaptation school”. I sit down, take my set of nutrients with a glass of water and we all discuss what are we going to do that day.
At 8am I leave home and take a monocycle on the street to go to school. I meet few friends on the cycling roads.
The school starts at 8h30. First thing we do is to go to the school orchard, clean a bit around and take some of the fruits and vegetables that are ready.
When we are back in class, the teacher talks about the composition of some of the aliments we have taken, we all make a drawing, learn how to spell it and say it in 5 different languages.
Then we all go to the nearby kitchen and prepare a fruit and vegetable salad that we all share together.
At 12am, after several lessons and a bit of sport we go to the school canteen. I look again at Kenko who send a message of the quantities and type of food it recommends me to intake from today's menu. A bowl is automatically prepared with all the ingredients. I sit with my friends to discuss and enjoy lunch.
After lunch I go back home and get ready for the afternoon activities.
In the afternoon I go to the community center. We get and update on how the neighbourhood has been running during the morning. Typically we look at data on the estimated food reserves and demands for the day, the levels of the water in the deposits, amount of energy stored, etc. Then sometimes we are given some specific tasks to be done like collecting some specific products from roof gardens or public orchards, accompanying some technicians to do some infrastructure repairs, etc. but most of the time everything has been sorted by the adults in the morning and we can just play around.
Around 6pm I go back home and I meet my family there. We all look at our Kenko’s and then we get few recipes options for dinner to cook together. I love eating catalan food, but sometime we like to learn how to cook recipes from other places.
Once dinner is over I go to my room to play some games.
At 9 the curtains close and the light in my room slightly go down.
Good night, sweet dreams and good health.
How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?