Spin the circular food pantry to create regenerative food cultures
Local actors cooking and living their own visions, all connected in surprising ways within the creative constraints of a food pantry.
Local food culture developing within the creative constraints of a food pantry. Produce is added in proportions according to the scientific boundries of the landscape.
Experimenting with proportions and preservation
Lead Applicant Organization Name
Lead Applicant Organization Type
Small company (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.
The core team consists of Johan Hjerpe (Momentality), Anna Emmelin (Albaeco), Rickard Villard (KIND Co.Lab).
The team has been part of starting the 2000m2 Experiment at Rosendal’s Garden and initiating the work at Fryshuset High School, providing expert knowledge on design, PR, science communication, business development and designing processes for transdiciplinary learning.
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?
The Stockholm region
What country is your selected Place located in?
Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.
Stockholm is our base and where some of us grew up. It’s where we have engaged with actors over time, providing the empirical, experiential and relational roots to our vision.
Stockholm is a place that we have returned to with renewed appreciation of the Swedish welfare state, but also with new eyes on how systems developed in isolation are struggling in a globalised world.
Our vision is based on collaborations between local actors and international researchers. Our key learning experience in Stockholm has been the ‘2000m2 Experiment’ at Rosendal’s Garden, a market garden with 1M annual visitors. It’s located right in the heart of the capital, making it easy to attract experts and to have direct reactions from Stockholmers visiting the work as it unfolds. Of the team that initiated the 2000m2 Experiment, some had long experience of international sustainability science; supporting transdisciplinary learning in research teams at the Stockholm Resilience Centre working on the Planetary Boundaries, The Eat Lancet Report, the Accelerating and Rescaling Transitions to Sustainability and The Rockefeller Foundation Global Fellowship Program on Social Innovation 2015 in Stockholm. Other initiators are from the regenerative farming movement around the Baltic Sea, containing over 40 years of on-farm research (BERAS.org). Yet others represented a big (Polarbröd) and a small food actor developing leading roles in the transformation of food systems in Sweden.
The experiment itself gives an opportunity to work creatively inside a miniature of a regenerative food system, developing an expression of what a local food culture that provides health to the many people, the Baltic Sea and the planet can taste like. It’s also where we met the Fryshuset High School, a diverse and creative school nested in the constraints of the current food system, but with a strong will to transform 1400 daily school lunches to regenerative sourcing, cooking and student learning opportunities.
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.
Fryshuset High School. The grand opening of the new canteen in 2019
The 2000m2 Experiment at Rosendal’s Garden. Photo: Erik Olsson
The 2000m2 miniature model of a regenerative farm and the surrounding landscape. This picture shows the four typical types of landscapes where the ingredients for local regenerative food cultures would come from. The arable land, the grazing area, the forest, and the Baltic Sea! Photo: Gustav Gerdes
Stockholm is the capital of Sweden. It is situated directly where Lake Mälaren is flowing through the Stockholm Archipelago and into the Baltic Sea. The water flows from west to east and the Royal National City Park is running its green wedge through the city from north to south. While Stockholm, with some credit, prides itself as green and forward-thinking, there is no escape from the fact that the Baltic Sea is dying right next to us.
The Stockholm region is home to about a fifth of Sweden’s population. It is a wealthy area, by both Swedish and very much by global standards. At a closer look, Stockholm is as diverse as it is segregated. High incomes in the city centre and stark contrasts between poor and wealthy suburbs and second tier municipalities result in an unfortunate dissconection. The Stockholm region also includes Järna, where research on regenerative farming has been conducted for over 40 years.
There is such a thing as ‘Nordic Cuisine’ in Stockholm, although it is not as prevalent as Italian cooking is in Bologna, for instance. In Stockholm, you can eat your way through food cultures from all over the world, and people do. During the past decade or two, the restaurant table has grown into a strong competitor to the dinner table at home. Fast food is captured by Nigiri, Phad Thai, Calzone, Shish Kebab, Poke bowl, Veggie Wrap, Craft Burgers & Beers. Schools and lunch canteens still offer timeless classics like meatballs with brown sauce and mashed potatoes, and white fish with dill sauce and boiled potatoes.
Potatoes are the staple food of Stockholm and Sweden alike. When the Eat Lancet report hit local news we heard voices more upset about cutting down on potatoes than cutting down on meat. In supermarkets, one can get hold of almost anything from anywhere at any time of the year. The Swedish landscape only truly shines on the shelves as seasonal offerings like apples, blueberries, lingonberries, and chanterelles, or ‘forest gold’ as Swedes refer to them.
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.
In order for chefs and locals to be able to contribute to developing tomorrow’s regenerative nourishing food cultures and food systems, a creative, science-based framework is required. One stating that “these are the approximate proportions and foods that you can use in this place at this time of the year”. Research teams such as BERAS and Elin Röös team at SLU (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences) have completed research that makes it possible to do this for Stockholm and Sweden.
The limits can’t come from science alone. What is produced and to which proportions need to be an ongoing quest involving people caring for all the six themes of the competition, and from a mix of professions.
Towards 2050, the places exporting to Stockholm will not provide what they once did. Hopefully, because they choose to go for regenerative local food production. But just as likely due to lost soils, droughts, floods or new climate-related pests. If food culture does not reconnect to local conditions, empty shelves are doing to make eating a malnourishing and dull exercise.
There is a need for a shift, specifically and especially for young people with climate anxiety. Thinking solely about minimizing negative impact from actions will be increasingly paralysing. We see an acute need to start looking into how one, as a young person, can contribute to conditions for life to thrive. There must be a feeling of pride from taking care of the place that one inhabits, and from taking part in creating regenerative land and seascapes. Locally foremost, but also connecting cross borders.
Towards 2050, the saddest development of all would be to see today’s environmentally engaged youth surrender to escapism with nowhere to escape.
The urban-rural divide is also a divide between eating and producing. Stockholm is a city at a size and with enough urban identity to not think of itself as part of a landscape. Swedes outside of Stockholm uses it as a projection surface for ideas about urban elites and crime rate.
Towards 2050 urban-rural conflict will make a connection-rich regenerative food system impossible. And in turn, be disastrous for the food-producing biotopes.
Today, farmers and actors with knowledge critical for making local regenerative food systems struggle to make ends meet. The current economic systems are not designed to recognize the multiple values created in regenerative practices. Sustainably reports from food producers don’t actually indicate if the company or a place is moving in a regenerative/sustainable direction. A farmer in Sweden can undermine the soil, without this influencing the value of the property or the business.
Towards 2050, we just cannot have a situation where farmers while deeply indebted are living hand-to-mouth from ever increasing subsidizes either as producers or preservers of long lost working landscapes. They need to be heroes for their core business and pride, that of providing healthy, tasty food for the many.
Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.
Our belief in our vision’s potential to address any challenges has grown out of our experiences from the 2000m2 Experiment and some key events and people we met there.
We have encountered our ‘4 Seeds for the Future’ through facing true needs and through discovery. They are the initial ‘pressure points’ and attractors we are suggesting for Swedish food systems.
The 2000m2 events (field–food–conversation) had visitors such as The Ellen MacArthur cities, and circular economy for food team and business advisors, IKEAs food innovation team, Princeton Food lab, all chefs preparing public meals in the neighboring municipality, Minister for the Environment and Climate, Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lövin, Deputy Minister for Finance Per Bodström, among others. We attracted very experienced communication competence, developed a concept for an art exhibition “honoring life and humans capacity to transform” Liljevalchs. We were financed by the Swedish Innovation Agency Vinnova to develop integrated reporting and auditing together with PwC. We and exchanged experiences at Stone Barns. We took part in a workshop organized by Shell’s scenario group on “governance of Nordic common Goods. Together with Fryshuset highschool and chefs from other restaurants, we started sketching ideas on how we could together develop tomorrow’s food culture through a digital and artistic “Baltic Sea Pantry”
4 seeds for the future:
Tomorrow’s Food Pantry
Digital and physical pantries for an immediate understanding of what to cook from this week, in this place at this time of the year, given a diet that keeps you, your region and the planet healthy. These pantries could be guiding eaters in stores and guiding shop owners in what to stock. Digital versions of the pantry could guide chefs when creating and procuring food.
Your Local Foodscape
With the aim to meet the EAT-Lancet Challenge “It is possible to feed the expected population with healthy food in a sustainable way”, the data should be translated into the accessible dimensions of what local land- & seascapes can provide for one person living in a specific place.
Take Care of (Y)our Square
Communication concepts that supports expressing what you care for, how you have chosen to engage in the coming 10 year critical period for transforming food systems, and possibilities to invite to dialogue about whether you are taking a responsibility that is reasonable considering how your actions – eating for example – create interactions with different land and seascapes.
An integrated reporting format for circular bio-based businesses that expresses the values created in regenerative food systems. One that makes it easy for actors to craft circular contracts and develop business models together. It can be used for exchange of knowledge between different regenerative food systems. The report supports risk assessments attracting resources and facilitates healthy relations to funders.
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.
We believe that it is extraordinarily important, when navigating transformations towards sustainable food systems, to have concrete spaces where it is possible to experience together with others alive place-based visions. Real fields give an idea of what future food landscapes will look like when regenerative principles for farming are implemented. Real pantries give an idea of tomorrow’s food culture. Having experienced the real impact this has had on people, companies, and organisations, we are confident that this is a necessary step.
The future food space in Stockholm translates both global and regional science into practice. Furthermore, it also shows that science only can communicate the framework, or a rough direction and on-going learning co-creations of knowledge, design, and much more. There are countless normative decisions to make space for creativity, joy, care for a place, among numerous others. When inviting people, chefs, actors, farmers, and food companies both big and small to be part of creating the Baltic Sea food pantry, the focus almost always shifted away from problems and lack of answers from science, to an inspiring “What can I do”, creativity and ideas for action.
We see a future where people are able to learn and test in turbulent times of societal transformation and climate change. A societal transformation where people from diverse disciplines get a chance to have important conversations, co-create knowledge, and step by step create regenerative food systems. This is also a world where young people can channel their climate anxiety to action, learn the art of democratic societal transformation and feel real, genuine hope. With a global patchwork of places expressing their vision of vital food cultures and landscapes for food production, it is possible to understand what you, your organization, and regional politicians need to do. The sizes and proportions are imperative for creating and maturing regenerative food systems.
Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?
Tranformation method: Local food pantries are created in dialogue with science. They provide a frame for expressing one’s desired future through a place, desired landscape and cuisine. One attractive pantry will spark the development loop of the next.
Visit from a 2000Ha regenerative farm in Poland, who expressed the need for a 2000m2 Experiment. Photo: Erik Olsson
Economist Kate Rayworth visiting the 2000m2 Experiment back in 2018, and sharing her extensive experiences in communicating on the circular biobased economy.
Debating the role of cows in regenerative Swedish food systems: What would happen to biodiversity in the Swedish cultural landscape if ruminants were not a part of it? How many places are there for cows in the Stockholm regenerative food system?
Witnessing an experiment of cooking in the compost at Stone Barns. Visit togheter with Professor Gerald Torres during a workshop at Cornell University called Visions of Paradise – Feeding the World
Visit to Berlin where first 2000m2 field was developed.
A regenerative nourishing food future for the Stockholm region 2050
Power Over Health and Future
Young people feel that they have power over their health and their futures. Everyone has a chance to develop basic knowledge about how to eat well. Everyone has the possibility to express that they care about the place where they live by choosing food that creates beautiful, healthy land and seascapes.
The vision of the Fryshuset rector has come true: “I want my students to take for granted that the food they are served when stepping into our canteen is healthy for them, for the Baltic Sea, and the planet.”
And the 2050 students in Fryshuset will no longer say, “I don’t know how to compose a healthy tasty plate from the vegetarian buffet”, but instead be confident in their capacity to do so.
A young person wanting to challenge a company in a food system to do better has access to the tools that give the capacity to start dialogues whether a company is taking its responsibility to make regenerative nourishment food systems work.
Logic of Living Systems
Societal structures are matching and supporting living systems. Actors in local regenerative food systems are no longer struggling because water management is handled by a million different uncoordinated authorities using old and poor data.
Supply chains are designed to support regenerative food systems. Regional pantries make it easy for consumers, producers, and suppliers to create long term stable contracts that can create resilient economies for all parts of the food systems. And resilient land and seascapes. It is easy for schools other institutions important in the regional food systems to serve good food and contribute to supporting regenerative food systems.
Heroes of a Circular Green Economy
Swedish farmers have developed a sense of pride in being skilled, and important actors that makes the Swedish green economy work. The urban population is well aware of its dependence on the rural surroundings and honour the farmers, chefs and others who make the local regenerative food culture thrive. There are several different ways to invest in your local food system.
Suitable Tools for Circular Bio-Based Economy
Writing economic reports and being audited is a meaningful exercise that gives opportunities to learn together with others and get in contact with relevant new knowledge. Farmers feel they have incentives to have a long term perspective on how they run their farms. The farming community is a diverse proud community; it has been revitalized by attracting women and young people because there are tools, training, banks, and incentives that make it easy to do a good job, work with nature, and be part of regenerative food systems.
The farmers that got stuck in investing in hopeless, not regenerative practices got support to transform their farms into thriving parts of thriving regenerative systems.
They feel safe that financial institutions will support them in a time when there is a need for investments in the regenerative food systems they are part of.
Healthy Baltic Sea
A couple of big companies made it possible for a patchwork of regions to transform towards local regenerative food systems. Animal production is no longer in one part of Sweden and plant-based in another; farmers in a region have the possibility to create balanced regenerative systems. There is knowledge, data, and contracts for the farmers so they can have crop rotation and other practices supporting healthy soils and resilient landscapes that can handle turbulent weather and other effects of climate change. The Baltic Sea is now doing so well that pregnant mothers can eat the fish and the people in the Stockholm region no longer suffer from seasonal depression and Ingmar Bergman’s mood because they get sufficient amounts of Vitamin D from fat Baltic Sea herring. Farmers around the Baltic Sea regularly meet to decide what they need to do to keep the Baltic Sea healthy
Baltic Sea Pantries
The need to transform diets and food cultures in order to produce healthy food for everyone on the planet in a healthy way challenged chefs. They were inspired and got a new framework for their creativity, new partners and amazing new food cultures emerged. Big food chains realized their new roles in the food systems and made it easy for everyone to connect and for consumers to transform and be part of the new regenerative food futures. The old Swedish cooperative movement had a chance to be reborn and took it – supported by the excellent Swedish design community, the thriving game developers and amazing capability on all sorts of technology in former East Europe (who by the way had much better knowledge than Swedes on how to be prepared for food crisis) Still, there were the “future food spaces.” Their advanced learning kept the food cultures and capacity to handle turbulent weather vital.
Owning your Data
Data and tools to monitor and control health have matured. Individuals received ownership of their data, and could connect it to the food systems they wanted to be part of. Extraordinary things happened because of this; eating disorders such as anorexia disappeared and the whole society got a much better understanding of how to cooperate in a harmonious way with nature – including the own body.
Connected to Many Places
The food culture in the Stockholm region transformed from today’s international “eat as many planets as you like” into a more realistic and responsible ideology. Instead of using 4000m2 arable land per person and year for food production, and not having a clue how the soya beans and avocados in the salads affected the possibilities for other people in other places to create their local regenerative food systems, Swedes went down to using 2000m2 arable land/year and person. They realized the country needed to increase production and export. If everyone has 2000m2 arable land/year for food production, the arable land in Sweden should produce food for 13.5 million people (E. Röös Swedish university of agriculture). The government facilitated this by accepting an extraordinary offer from the Swedish Academy (the group selecting the Nobel Prize for Literature.) They realized one of their possibilities to restore their reputation and show they were relevant to modern society was to have the Swedish government write a beautiful, understandable, and inspiring vision and policy for transforming Swedish food systems into nourishing regenerative systems. Members of the regenerative movement managed to make the Academy listen to many wise dialogues, where not only the voices of their colleagues in the royal academies were heard.
Science-Based Democratic Change
People, in general, were happy with the transformation of the food systems. Some rather messy decades have passed, but there were now possibilities to buy healthy food for reasonable prices. A large portion was regionally produced, but not all. The transformation had been guided by “future food spaces”, or miniature replicas of regenerative landscapes where it had been possible to have a science-based democratic ongoing learning and discussion on what future landscapes. Food cultures were desired and safely within the boundaries of what gave health to humans, regions, and the planet. The imported spices, fruits, and other nutrients gave interesting additions to the palette of the Nordic county during the year. And it was possible to tell stories and have conversations about how other regenerative food systems in other parts of the world worked through the experience of these imported flavors. Individuals moving to Sweden from other countries also had a chance to contribute to the Nordic kitchen, since it was possible to get ingredients from the place where they lived before.
How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?
Describe how your Vision developed over the course of the Refinement Phase.
We started with a vision, co-created over two years with almost 4000 persons. The refinement phase focused on talking to the actors we had missed during the first years, getting feedback on our seeds and going deeper into specific issues. It was also a lot about catching the opportunities that came with the corona crisis. The landscape for our questions totally changed. What we talked about was no longer abstract questions.
We learned about how different belief systems, hope, regenerative principles. We got into the details with chefs on the next step of developing the Circular pantry. We got a better understanding for how to work with the big food supply chains supporting new sustainable shopping behaviors. We learned how we could support the already existing work for regional regenerative food systems in our region, the needs for example for new tools for auditing. We learned from people talking about regenerative democracy and how change happens in the fringes of a system.
Please provide the names of all organizations you meaningfully partnered with to develop this latest version of your Vision (they contributed at least 10 hours of time to the Vision development during the Refinement Phase).
Alena Grahn, chef and artist
Patrik von Corswant, farmer and regenerative pioneer
The collective at Power of X, business developers, retail architects, digital platforms and sustainable food retail
William Blomquist, Martin Wessinger, Idde Schultz and samlaget
Gunnar Holm, rector at Fryshuset, forces of the food movement
Josephine Sundqvist, PhD Programme Manager Specialist at the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and global coordinator of the People and Planet—Faith in the 2030 Agenda digital conference
Joey Diana Gates Project Coordinator Dish Truck; Gerald Torres, Professor of Environmental Justice, Yale. Earth day celebration Webinar “Visions of paradise”
Kristofer Lund, Food Shift and Förenade inköp
Johan Sverker, director PwC
Björn Larsson, former marketing director, Coop
Christina Cheng, Food Trend Analyst
Carolina Sachs and Catharina Finin Versteegh, Martas Explorers, AG-tech investors
Ingrid och Patrik Waldenström, Södertälje Municipality, politicians
Describe the specific steps you took during the Refinement phase to include different stakeholders to develop your Vision, including a description (age, profile, and total number) of the stakeholders engaged, and how you engaged with each.
The first phase focused on economic issues and the development of integrated reporting and auditing for regional regenerative food actors. We received feedback from two potential user organizations (CEO for network of organizations in region with 15 million visitors, expert in sustainability reporting, both women)
There was also a pilot project with two classes (45 pers) that were going to test courses that would take them on the journey from learning about climate justice in the classroom to creating a week's “menu for life” that the chef would serve to the school. This was canceled because of the corona virus situation and instead, we worked with small group interviews (80 students) and focused on how to learn to compose a healthy plate. We analyzed what the kitchen had procured during the first 6 months after opening, to prepare suggestions for how to improve the economy and contribute to the Baltic sea pantry.
The Swedish Development Agency asked us to be part of a three day global, digital seminar on the role of faith based organizations in Agenda 2030. Our hub of 30 people was connected to six places in different parts of the world. This turned out to be a good opportunity to work with both the big existential questions the Food Vision Prize is funded on, and to start understanding the new situation corona threw us all into (presentation recording attached). We developed these issues in an Earth day celebration “Visions of Paradise” (webinar with American sustainability experts). We received two surprising invitations to talk about “Paradise and Persian gardens” with networks of female leaders (US and Sweden).
Additionally, we had interviews with ten scientists and experts on food systems (4 women, 6 men) and three small workshops drawing our food systems maps (5 persons representing the big forces for change in our region, 4 women, 1 man)
What signals and trends did you draw from to inform your Vision? Please provide data or examples that back up each signal or trend.
The food system is broken. “I cant go back to work like I did” “Now is the time to involve chefs and give opportunities for training” Alena Grahn chef
The guardian had a number of articles about chefs cooking with what you got in thepaintry during corona isolation.
This gave us the insight that we should act fast on developing a on line course about the Foodscapes and start looking for partners that wanted to invest in giving chefs training in sustainability.
Statistics of how shopping behavior changed during corona
We learned how shopping behavior had changed during the corona crisis and what a unique opportunity it was to work with shop environments (shops and on line)
“We need to have a person with agricultural competens working for the municipality if we should implement the new farming strategy. Now the good examples look good from the outside but there is ano structures giving long term stability, it is too dependent of individual persons, yearly fights about budgets etc." Municipality politician
We got sad insights in how vaulnrable the “good examles” and the pioneers in the regenerative movement are. But also understood that some big actors are agile enough to step away from thir structures to support small suppliers.
“If we only have apicture of how all organisations make different contributins to our sustainability work in the region we will have much better understanding for what the next step should be”
We got insights how important it is to have “good enough” information. How just a little bit better information and alittle bit better systemic understaning means a lot for many small actors in food systems. There is little need for “the perfect tools”. And it seems like it is often the same for big actors, too advanced analyses are not used and does not support transdiciplinary learning.
Interviews with Fryshuset students
We got insights into the details of how much myths and confusion there is about vegetarian food. We learned a lot about common mistakes when introducing people to new diets.
Policy development in general in EU is moving in the wrong directions we are forcing farmers to do things. It undermines their pride. But it is exciting times and possible to change things now. It is a very good time to present the good examples. Swedish farmers Cooperative sustainability expert.
There is an exciting development of how data for biodiversity is used. It is made open and it is possible for anyone that want to do statistical analyses to learn how to use open access tools and start annalysing the patterns of change. It will give us much better ways to analyse changes in landscapes. Scientist from Swedish university of agriculture
Main Documents used:
Regional development plan for Stockholm
The food strategy for Sweden
Food strategy for the Stockholm Region
Describe a “Day in the Life” of a key food system actor within your food system in 2050 (e.g., farmer, chef, supply chain actor, food policy actor, etc.).
This is a preview of the full review attached at the end of the submission.
This film review has been edited for length:
In Gabriella Pichler’s The Homecoming, it takes a day and a night for an introspective boy to discover his pride and for his grandmother to understand that the paradise she dedicated her life to creating has been realized, just not in the way she could have imagined.
[...] The camera is wandering like the eyes of the main characters and lets them slip completely out of frame, allowing for incidental food actions to become the focus of attention. As the pair slowly make their way past a food vendor selling blue mussels in invasivore broth, the camera delves into an almost instructional scene of a chef preparing the special of the week: the popular butternut squash tagliatelle, fava beans, and fermented corn sauce. [...] The night goes on seemingly forever as they interact with the landscape and its inhabitants. The fruit and nut trees gently protected by the foliage and roots of birches. The water buffalos roaming a marshland who are in collaboration with a young techno producer squatting in an abandoned barn. [...] The grandson is visibly excited about introducing his Grandmother to sensory experiences she’s never had. As a guide to everything he is so familiar to, he discovers his pride. A pride in being fully immersed in his environment. He senses it, knows it. [...] Pichler has always kept her eye on the consequences of political and economical structures for those who have to live in them. [...] Perhaps this is what has given her space to explore the spiritual interconnectivity between all things, past and present. Although a sense of urgency tends to make us narrow minded and individualistic, ironically it’s here that expansion and connection to ourselves and each other is crucial to create real systems change. Can we carry the vital fluidity of the possibility of a better world?
Environment | How will your food system of 2050 adapt to climate change and remain resilient?
The big step forward
Sweden, including the Stockholm Mälardalen region, has succeeded in moving from 4000m2 to 2000m2 arable land per person, per year, in any given location. Sweden is 100% self-sufficient and can produce food for approximately 13.5 million people. The food systems are part of the global resilient trade, mostly between regional regenerative food systems.
Your regional square
The landscape of this region is a collage of forests, lakes, streams, grasslands and arable land. In order to contribute to a food production that gives health to all people in the world, to the Baltic sea and to the planet, approximately 2000m2 arable land is used per person and
year. If all arable land on earth was divided, 2000m2 is the amount each person would be allocated if the land was divided equally by the population expected in 2050.
Visions of Paradise
Two research reports gave us hope this “2000m2 regional regenerative equation” would work. The EAT Lancet report from 2018 challenging Sweden, stating that there is “reason to believe it is possible to produce healthy food for the entire world population in a sustainable way”. The BERAS research on regenerative farming around the Baltic Sea gave a picture of what we needed to aim for; an idea of what kind of food
systems and farming practices we need on a regional level. Practices that would manage to produce enough healthy food, stop leakage of nutrients to the Baltic Sea and keep the CO2 level per person and year for food production and consumption under 85% of what the average Swede needed in 2016 if food came from conventional farming.
The typical crop rotation pattern has 3/7 lay binding carbon and nitrogen and allows for winter fodder for 0.1 cow or 2 sheep per person and year (approximately 80% less meat than the average Swede was eating in 2020). This “dry formula” is interpreted by a diversity of farmers into an impressive variety of regenerative farms, big and small. Low tech, high tech, some with areas of agroforestry, and those with more integrated systems. Some functioning as a regenerative organism in itself, while others have cooperating systems that allow for a greater degree of specialization.
There are multiple kinds of cereal, peas, oil producing plants for farmers to choose from when planning their crop rotation. Farmers have a system for taking care of hundreds of different varieties of seeds and have options adaptable to climate change. The seeds and experimentation are part of an ongoing dialogue with other actors in the food system, improving and adjusting to new circumstances.
In addition to the 2000m2 arable land, each individual is allowed food from 500m2 grassland. The g areas are critical to the biodiversity in the agricultural landscapes in Sweden. The ecosystem services of the landscape contribute to the diversity of the regional food cultures with berries, fungi, with fodder for the summer, to climate control; binding carbon, to water regulation; by keeping big trees in the agricultural landscape, to soil health; increasing the amount of mycorrhiza, being home to insects and animals pollinating. In urban areas with surplus of nutrients there are aquaponic systems, green houses and other systems which contribute with fish, vegetables, mushrooms etc.
Water and fish
Excess rainfall are handled mostly with wetlands preventing flooding and nutrient leakage to lakes and the Baltic sea, pollution of soil etc. The amount of freshwater is enough.The capacity to handle droughts have increased. The toxic level fish in the Baltic sea are continuing to decrease and the fish population is getting healthier.
Changing proportions and flavors
The food system has pigs and poultry beside the grazing cows and sheep. It will not be possible to feed them as it was done in 2020. There will be 50% less food waste from the food system, the arable land is not used for fodder production apart from the areas with lay. The other areas are used for production for food for humans. For example, pigs eat mussels grown to take out surplus nitrogen and phosphorus and prevent eutrophication of the Baltic sea. Use of antibiotics will be low.
Because of insecure supply from the world of spices, coffee, tea etc. Sweden has started producing regional herbs. The Swedish fika culture will change since food production will be prioritized over sugar beet production. The same change is expected for beer and vodka, grains will not be used for alcohol but for food. Wine however, might be more common and tastier in Sweden in 2050.
Diets | How will your food system of 2050 address malnutrition in all its forms (undernutrition, micronutrient deficiency, metabolic disease) for the people living there?
The gifts from the regional foodscapes have for years been translated into the rich, dynamic, health bringing Baltic Sea Circular pantry. The pantry has many different interfaces; the main idea is to give the proportions of what ingredients are available in a particular time of the year and in what proportions. Chefs have made sure there is an interesting pallet of flavor and texture over the whole year. Farmers and gardeners have contributed with tasty, nutrient dense vegetables, grains, nuts, herbs etc. The food cultures are based on vegetables, however the grazing animals keeping the landscape open provides meat – But in decreased amounts, and dairy products for the people that want to keep this typical part of the Nordic food culture. The calculations made at the Swedish University of Agriculture, turned out to be more or less correct; climate, animal health and biodiversity-responsible ways to keep cows gave approximately 1l of milk, 40g butter, 80g cheese and 40 g cream per week and person. The arable land, grazed land and forests are managed well with an integrated approach. The forest can contribute with quite a bit of meat form boar, roe deer and moose. Fish from the Baltic sea can be eaten in increasing amounts, the levels of toxic substances are decreasing and the fish population is getting increasingly healthy. Sometimes there are invasive fish that need to be caught and eaten. The pantry gives recommendations to a home, a school, a
restaurant - of what proportions of ingredients can be used if the regional food system should be able to provide health for people, the Baltic Sea and the planet. Some people choose to integrate their health data and get very precise recommendations, but some just use it to be guided approximately in the right direction. The pantry is rich, food cultures are thriving in this framed creativity and possibility to express care for the vitality of humans, the places one lives in and the planet. In order to be part of providing healthy food for everyone on the planet the arable land in Sweden needs to prioritize what is produced and this has changed some of the luxury consumption. Sugarbeets are no longer grown. In general the amount of sugar in the world has decreased, phasing out most of the “nutrient- empty” fast food.
The Swedish fika culture has changed but is thriving. When it became clear that ingredients such as cacao and spices would become rare and expensive, it started an explosion of creativity that renewed the fika culture. A similar story occurred with beer and vodka- a wave of invention changed the production and phased out the use of grains directly from the field. The change of climate hugely influenced what berries and fruits were produced in the Baltic region. One effect was locally grown grapes, they both partly replaced sugar beets (since possible to grow in mixed land use systems such as agroforestry) and changed what wines were put on the tables both at home and in fine dining restaurants. All food served in schools, kindergardens, hospitals and elderly care are based on the ingredients and proportions from the Baltic Sea circular paintry. This gives all young people possibilities to learn and get acquainted with food cultures that give them health. Meals are also important experiences where a lot of teaching takes its starting point. Kids learn where food comes from, meet the professionals and get possibilities to learn the connections between good food and soil health, biodiversity etc. All in all, this gives basic knowledge that gives possibilities to develop power over one’s own health no matter your background. Kids are not as easily fooled by food actors attempting to manipulate them.
Economics | Where and what will the jobs be that support living wages in your future food system of 2050, and how will these jobs impact gender equality?
The circular economy is still something new and exciting to people. There have been extremely rough periods. The corona crisis disrupted the whole economy. Swedish BNP dropped with more than 10%. Not having been completely closed down, Sweden had certain advantages when the world and economy started up again. Luckily there had been enough time to make the proper economic analyses and several actors with varied perspectives contributed. The Ellen MacArthur report in cities and circular economy for food was relaunched in Sweden which catalyzed the public debate. Clear regional visions of resilient food systems and the circular biobased economy attracted investments into future resilient landscapes and supply chains; a picture of what a circular economy for Sweden could look like finally emerged and politicians understood the questions they needed to deal with. Sweden started to move away from a consumption based economy. Superficial economic theories about efficiency were scrapped, the value of investments in trust and long-term relations were better understood. People started to spend their resources on basic welfare and health and less on lifestyle attributes. The idea of status changed.
The Stockholm region was expecting one out of four jobs in 2050 to be within social welfare services. The corona crisis became an opportunity to integrate the regional regenerative food systems well in this economy; to invest in structures that would support preventive health care, increase the level of health through food and make the Stockholm Mälardalen region less segregated in terms of health and life expectancy. Public procurement of food was one of the main tools used; it provided long term stable contracts for individual farmers and farmers in regions that wanted to transform to regional regenerative food systems. These contracts gave farmers possibilities to have regenerative crop rotation and focus on good soil health and phase out the dependence of fossil fuel and industrial fertilizers. This also renewed the farmer community, which in 2020 consisted of 70% of men over 65 years. Young people and women saw the possibility to do meaningful work as farmers with the possibility to deliver food to schools, hospitals etc.
Private large food companies and the three dominant companies in private food shopping also changed to similar long term regenerative contracts with farmers. The increased e-shopping and need for redesign of shops opened up for steering customers in new ways and supporting consumption of food giving health in a broad sense (people, place, planet). This was appreciated since individual customers had very little possibility to change the unsustainable structures of the linear food system. The big food chains took different roles in rural areas. One developed into an important hub for the regional economy, one engaged its members in investing in the resilience of the food producing landscapes and one was extremely good at supporting the avant garde farmers and chefs developing the new products, ways to package, preserve nutrients etc.
Young people in the age 16-20 also got the opportunity to do civil service in regional food systems. High school students who wanted to integrate the civil service into their normal studies could do so. The civil service year opened up for different possibilities to become a qualified worker in the regenerative food systems. Sweden learned from a South African study which type of training would attract young people and make them qualified workers able to accelerate transformation of food systems.
Culture | How will your 2050 food system ensure that the cultural, spiritual and community traditions and/or practices in your Place flourish?
A core feature and practice of the regenerative constellations of the Mälaren Food Region is that they express a purpose. How they are reporting progress is how they are working towards what is engaging people in a particular constellation. That focus on intention has also affected policy work, and it is hard for nationalists to use legislation intended for equal treatment to block affirmative action. Anyone can start a constellation for any reason. The multiplicity of interests that has been doing so is inspiring even more people to both join and start new ones. There are several food constellations only focusing on Turkish kebab. Some of them are collaborating with people in agroforestry constellations for meat from forest grazing. There are thankfully migrants around mälaren now who are growing a Gujarat cuisine. The big religions are part of cycles including a host of restaurants, eaters and regional growers, and are connected to researchers at The Royal Institute of Technology who are offering the food system service of producing food for bacteria. Yes, that means harnessing nutrition from toilets and wastewater.
Societies in transformation develop a need to deal with memory and loss. The scale and pace of loss in terms of aesthetic, historic, scientific, social and spiritual values has brought topics which used to be confined to academic interest into the public discourse. When it is impossible to preserve everything and everyone’s histories and traditions, whose loss is worthy of that spot in our common museums of history and folklore? And who do we imagine to be part of the ”future generations” we are saving things for?
It has been argued that the loss in itself is not what is problematic, but how individuals, communities and societies choose to deal with loss. That may be true from the perspective that death is a condition for life and it is of use when developing policy for handling loss. At the same time it is a cold message delivered to someone who just lost someone, or everything they loved.
This region has developed the collective capacity to handle both grief and preservation. Faith actors and inter-faith groups have played a big role in that. Memorial sites in the Mälaren Food Region are living sites. Not unlike how Dresden is turning Heidefriedhof, cemetery and memorial site of the devastating WWII bombings, into a space for contemplating all types of relationships including those to other species.
The fact that the population in this region is used to growing, building and experiencing futures together has also brought a capacity to do the same with the past. Sites are proposed, prototyped and activated over different time spans and in numerous ways. Early artists who inspired this field is American artist Harrel Fletcher with his participatory work situated in parks, cities and back yards, Stockholm artist Lap-See Lam with her seminal work surrounding early Chinese restaurants in Sweden and Goldin+Senneby’s work Shifting Ground about how the EU-funding for the preservation of agri-historical landscapes gave task of passing aesthetic judgements to county administrators usually, one usually held by art professionals.
The Botanical garden in Palermo is a decaying icon in how art can extend the understanding of plants into societal undercurrents, patterns of memory and lived experiences that the species have been–and are–part of. Especially the work on
Technology | What technological advances are needed to transform your food system into one that meets your goals and embodies the values of your Vision in 2050?
Complex data is handled in a productive way; the regional regenerative food systems actually give health for people, the Baltic Sea’ condition is improving and the boundaries of the planetary ecological systems are respected, making it possible for the planet to recover. Food and agriculture has become a positive driver instead of a negative in terms of climate and sustainable development. There is data for making good decisions on crop rotation systems, contracts creating resilient economies for circles of regenerative food actors. Those who want to have a high level of precision in the connection between their health and what food to buy have this access. Auditors can assist farmers in meaningful learning. Students, researchers and the public have access to the basic data that is part of the decision making process.
Many skilled farmers and chefs have an incredible complexity of patterns, data, and rhythms in their head. The regional regenerative food systems will need transdisciplinary learning and joint decision making and in order to involve these skilled persons, there will need to be ways to communicate and share their knowledge. Ways to facilitate this are board games, computer games and scenario tools which support creative and fun ways to interpret and understand data in different contexts.
These tools are used for transdisciplinary learning and are integrated in decision making and designed to be inclusive so that learning is possible across generations and cultures.
Judgement and trust
Turbulence is inevitable and a need for fast and difficult decisions. The most important thing in this situation will probably be judgment and since critical decisions in food systems will have impact on many persons, there will need to be trust in the decision makers. Technology needs to support development of judgment, needs to assist context specific decisions and can probably support the development of seeing and interpreting dynamic patterns. Technology needs to support, not undermine trust in this society.
The goals of plant breeding have created new varieties of fruits and vegetables. These new fruits and vegetables circulating in regenerative food systems will need to be accompanied by new technology for packaging, transport and storing.
For further notes on technology, see the system map for logistics.
Policy | What types of policies are needed to enable your future food system?
With policies making state procurement of regional regenerative food possible, it has been feasible to transform the food systems and enough stability for permanent new structures. The EU was initially skeptical, but it worked well in the Swedish culture and showed an important example and strengthened some of the appreciated qualities such as trust in a functioning welfare state. However the 2050 policies have developed since then, learning along the way which types of structures and incentives were needed to prevent corruption, support inclusion of new types of actors and other issues that will have emerged on the road towards the circular economy.
Regions will need to have strategies for land use and soil quality in order to support the development of regional food systems and revitalization of the farmers communities. In the Stockholm area there are many landowners who lease land to farming and to hunting. In order to have a well managed landscape, there need to be policies making the land owner responsible for the development of soil quality etc. Banks and other financial institutions need to be able to assess risk in new ways; is the landowner taking care of the landscape in ways that increase the possibility to produce in regenerative food systems or is the value of the land actually decreasing from this point of view? These kinds of assessments need to play a more important role and have a logic relating to whether an actor is contributing in proportion to responsibility for handling climate issues; stay away for worst scenarios. Standards within auditing and reporting should to be developed to support these difficult questions and the learning they will require.
In 2050 the municipalities in the Stockholm Mälardalen region have integrated plans for farming and exploitation of land. A much better term was chosen when the new laws on ecocide and nature rights were implemented in the mid 2020’s. Whis was of course a game changer. Suddenly, focus on soil quality and responsibility for land use opened up. Soil science and tools for analyzing biodiversity also contributed. Sweden developed a strong sense for the importance of understanding “patterns of life” after the corona crisis and have policies and decision making that were much better to handle complexity and uncertainty. Sweden learned a lot about the importance of science and systems thinking in a functioning democracy and what requirements politicians must have on scientist and science communication. When the ecocide laws were introduced there were possibilities for policymakers, politicians, and managers to recieve training to choose the best tools and approaches when dealing with high levels of complexity. This was done to give a fair chance for the responsible persons to cultivate a culture where it was possible to develop the new type of judgment that the laws required.
Soil science and tools for analyzing biodiversity also contributed in making it possible to understand dynamics and patterns of life through the analyses of data. There was open access to this data and the tools which were fundamental for starting to make policies based on the life pattern analyses.
Describe how these 6 Themes connect with and influence one another in your food system.
The main thing to connect the themes are the visions of thriving food cultures and thriving landscapes. The possibility for people to express what they care for and have these images and cultural expressions makes it easier to handle the complexity of every day life situations and big desissions. Laws for nature rights will make it easier to establish structures needed.
The role of the four seeds are to facilitate and catalyse connections
Describe any trade-offs you may have to make within your system to attain your Vision by 2050.
It will be difficult to know when it is time for disruption and when it is time for stability. The good examples that exist in the regions need to get resourses to deepen and accellerate the development towards bigger regional regenerative food systems. There will be tradeoffs for land use and competition between land for growing urban areas and taking care of farmland in the region. It will be necessary to take societal recourses and spend them on changing food culture in schools, hospitals and day care centers.
3 Years | Describe 3 key milestones that you would need to achieve within the next three years for your Vision to be on track?
When the seeds have been planted, the roots have been watered and nurtured, and anchored the ideas deeply in the dreams, desires and communities of those we seek to create a vibrant, vital future with we believe the following sunflowers will be standing tall:
- A multiplatform interactive Masterclass format where some of the world's most exciting chefs and farmers becomes the foundation for a Netflix TV-format with the main purpose of inspiring hobby chefs to fully understand their landscapes and be creative within their limitations. But also making it possible for anyone in the world - experienced chef, young - to learn the basics a chef needs for being part of and contribute to regenerative food systems
- A digital version of the pantry as an inclusive art exhibition where the virtual AR pantries is rendered in homes and grocery shelves leading to innovation process with the aim to create a grocery retail experience framed by a gamified playfull interface
- We have tested and developed the Vitality Report into a useful tool for actors in regenerative food systems. The tool supports building good relations and attracting resources.
10 Years | What progress will you need to make—by 2030—that would set your Vision up to become a reality by 2050?
In ten years the seeds, together with many other initiatives and forces have flourished. The logic is established in thriving exciting food cultures and regenerative farming practises; there are many different tools for staying within the proportions and boundaries.
All in all the principle that we need to share the amount of arable land in a just way if it should be possible to produce healthy food for everyone in a sustainable way is accepted and guides policies and decision making
In order for our vision to become reality in 2050 the food served in the Stockholm region should give health to the people, the Baltic Sea and the planet.
The state initiative to transform food systems through state procurement of food has been successfully implemented and the persons working in rural areas have support for doing their job well.
Auditing standards need to have changed and food actors should be able to take for granted that they will receive support in contributing to an emerging circular green economy.
There is a broad farmers movement and a big interest in supporting the revitalization of the farmer’s community.
There needs to be a shift in policymaking supporting farmers and regions to develop regenerative.
If awarded the $200,000 prize what would you do with it?
How tall is your sunflower?
We aim to focus on the sun flowers' deep and complex root system. Because without them, they’d never grow very tall.
The intended contribution of 150.000 + 50.000 USD will not only help us to continue to plant the seeds, but more importantly water and nurture the roots the coming 12 months. It will help us to keep anchoring the idea deeply in the dreams, desires and communities of those we seek to serve. It will cover the salaries, other fixed costs and overheads for the project team and help propel the processes for the regional launch of our seeds during the spring of 2021. By then we will have reached new funding to scale the root systems into fields of new sunflowers here and hopefully across the globe.
If you are chosen as a Top Visionary, The Rockefeller Foundation would like to share your Vision widely with a global audience. What would you like the world to learn from your Vision for 2050?
We hope to provide ideas for an urban-rural reconnect, a reconnect between where food is produced and eaten, and a reconnect to all beings inhabiting the regions where this is all taking place.
Please share a visual that communicates the structure and operation of your food system in 2050. Describe the visual.
Please see PDF with maps in the last section.