Katalyst Kitchens - Agrifood Business Incubator
Katalyst Kitchens is creating a fertile ecosystem for agrifood start-ups to gain confidence and flourish, to innovate and scale impact.
Lead Applicant Organization Name
Lead Applicant Organization Type
Small NGO (under 50 employees)
If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.
Katalyst NGO was registered earlier this year by the founders of EcoVisio (since 1999) and Eco-village Moldova (2012). EcoVisio is focused on environmental education while Eco-village is a form of community development. Katalyst started by working with the same communities and stakeholders, but will focus more on food, agriculture and hard skills development. Over the next few years we want to open a shared kitchen/food business incubator as our anchor project, since we already work with over 100 food producers throughout Moldova.
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?
Chisinau / village of Riscova
Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?
Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?
Central development region of Moldova including our focus point - the village of Riscova and the capital Chisinau
What country is your selected Place located in?
Republic of Moldova
Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.
Biggest part of our team was born and grew up here. Also others on our team came to Moldova as volunteers from abroad, some 15 years ago, some more recently. We all feel a deep connection to this place and sense a vibe of change here. Moldova is the poorest country in Europe and the world's bronze champion in dependence on remittances. But we know a lot of amazing people with dignity here. Humble worker bees, creative problem solvers, and empathetic leaders. We see potential of Moldova to become the place to be in terms of regenerative agriculture, healthy organically grown food, innovative products and recepies, vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem.
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.
Moldova has been tradiotonally an agricultural country. Currently the agrifood sector employs almost a half of the population, but bring is less than 20% of the gdp. Some.of the main crops are grapes (for wine), fruits, vegetables and cereal. Unfortunately only 10% of food export goods are processed. The 90% are raw materials, so value adding is one of the key challenges and hopes for the agrifood sector. With it's agriculutral legacy and a strong tradition of appreciation for food, this country can go far, if innovation and real capacity development is added to the mix. With approximately 50/50 rural urban breakdown, Moldova still has a large number of population who are connected to the land. Very high rates of migration or seasonal work abroad have caused a lot of Moldovans to experience other cultures and become quite tolerant and easy going. Many young adults who have studied and worked abroad, especially those living in Chisinau appreciate agrifood innovations and are gradually forming a solid nieche of conscious consumers. They prefer healthy, local, seasonal, organic products ans well as creative food recepies, drinks and snacks. Many people we've came in touch with hope for a reason to stay home. Migration is so strong and job prospects are so weak, that supporting entrepreneurship seems like one of the core approaches to slow down the exodus and create a more viable economic context in the country.
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.
Soils are degrading, climate change is intensifying unpredictable and heavy whether conditions such as droughts or inundations and early frosts or pre-mature warm periods in the winter. Biodiversity is loss is progressing and new pests are invading the crops. People get more and more disconnected from the source of their food, it becomes more industrial, less nutrional, filled with cheap carbs and toxic chemicals, bereft of life itself.
Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.
Katalyst Kitchens - an Agrifood Business Incubator will be a certified commercial kitchen and processing facility, set up to stimulate product innovation and start-ups, host educational events, help small producers with acquiring skills and lowering risks and will increase food safety and promote good practices in the agri-food sector.
It will be set up an organic farm and connect gardening, to processing, cooking and eating.
Our work will help small and medium growers shift towards regenerative agriculture by using agroecological practices. It will help them add value to their harvest and diversify their income sources. It will help small food entrepreneurs learn about healthier production and processing techniques, innovate for attractive and nutritional food products, especially plant - based ones. The educational and promotional activities we'll set up for general population from kindergarden children, over school students to parents, researchers, businessmen, and bublic authorities will create a buzz in the society about healthy, local, seasonal, plant-based and naturally prepared foods.
We have already pulled conscious consumers towards more sustainable lifestyles through our yearly festivals and market of eco-foods running through 2013. Now it's time to put more "gas in the tank" and supply more agrifood innovations with social and environmental impact.
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.
People will have healthier diets, be more innovative and confident about growing, processing and preparing their food. Sharing food experiments with social and environmental impact will bring people together and create purpose and fun.
Small entrepreneurs will have a stable source of income and more people will see their future in their home country. Families will not be ripped away by pressure of poverty-related migration.
Katalyst kitchens will create a platform for small agrifood businesses to take root, grow, become stronger and scale up.
Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?
We envision Moldova as model region for an empowered society, healthy environment, society and vibrant economy connected to a strong global network of regenerative agrifood partners. In this sustainable systems mix, food production and consumption play a major role. A way forward based on regenerative agriculture, healthy diets and empowered, conscious people along the entire value chain, staring from conscious input suppliers and agricultural producers, processors and distributors and all the way up to retailers, restaurants and consumers.
In our vision agriculture is not damaging the environment, but rather regenerating it. People grow, process and eat natural, nourishing healthy foods prepared with a lot of love and creativity in a shared learning process in shared kitchen facilities. The nutrition is mostly plant-based, seasonal, locally rooted, but diversified with some best of's from the global win-win level fairly traded goods. Food preparation is a universal skill and body- and planet-conscious style of producing and consuming food is just a normal thing by default.
Technology serves the food innovations in a responsible way and policies are supporting smart, fair and healthy developments for the society and nature rather than for destructive interests of man and nature depleting industries.
How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?
Bosch alumni network