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Food for Cities - international symposium

On 27-28 Arpil 2015 the Copenhagen House of Food, Chora Connection, and the Copenhagen Hospitality College jointly held an initial symposium, which was the starting point for a multi-year endeavour to create a sustainable food system that connects urban and rural development.

Our main goal was to explore the role cities play in future food systems and to take necessary actions with a new, ambitious urban-rural strategy. The goal of the symposium was to explore the role of cities in sustainable food systems and to create a comprehensive strategy for future collaborations.

Over the past 15 years, Copenhagen has converted the 60,000 daily meals it serves in all public kitchens within the municipality to 90% organic - all accomplished within existing budgetary parameters. In itself, this represents an investment in the education of staff in over 1,400 kitchens. Further, the Municipality of Copenhagen has developed a school meal system for the 6,000 pupils of the Copenhagen public school system that is 75 % organic - and aim to reach 90 % in 2015.

The symposium on the role of cities in sustainable food systems was the first step in a multi-year, on-going intervention in Copenhagen. The organising partners, Chora Connection and Copenhagen House of Food joined forces to gather local decision-makers in Copenhagen with a number of internationally recognized experts to explore how we can support broader social, environmental and economic sustainability through our food system, and at the same time forge deeper cohesion between urban and rural areas.

Copenhagen House of Food and Chora Connection entered into a partnership to create a framework for sharing knowledge, best practises and tools regarding a sustainable and resilient food system. The aim of the symposium was to make a call for action directed at people in a position to make actual changes and promote even more ambitious urban food strategies for Copenhagen and beyond.

The following decision makers and international experts participated in the symposium:

Frank Jensen, Lord Mayor of Copenhagen
Frank Jensen has been the Lord Mayor of Copenhagen since 2010. Frank Jensen is a part of the C40 Steering Group and recieved the European Green Capital Award 2014 and the City Climate Leadership Award 2013 on behalf of the City of Copenhagen.

Mette Touborg, Mayor of Lejre
Lejre is the first municipality in Denmark to initiate a comprehensive conversion to organic in every corner of the municipality. The goal is to make Lejre even more attractive and liveable and inspire others to walk the same path.

Winni Grossbøll, Mayor of Bornholm
Winni Grossbøll has been Mayor of Regional Municipality of Bornholm since 2010. Bornholm wants its future to be 100% green; a carbon-neutral community based on sustainable, renewable energy.

Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food 2008-2014
UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food 2008-14, Co-chair of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food and Diets formed in 2014. As UN Special Rapporteur Olivier De Shutter studied global and local food systems and concluded that cities and public institutions must take the lead to support sustainable and local agriculture.

Tim Lang, Professor of Food Policy, City University London
For over 35 years, Tim Lang's abiding interest is how food policy addresses the environment, health, social justice and citizenship. Mr Lang was on the Council of Food Policy Advisors to the Dept for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (2008-10), and was appointed to the Mayor of London's Food Board in 2010.

Emile Frison, Chair of the Int. Scientific Committee of the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation
Mr Frison is member of the International Advisory Council of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault and Former Director General of Bioversity International and he has spent most of his career in international agricultural research for development

Thomas Harttung, Biodynamic farmer and food activist
Co-founder and chair of Aarstiderne, chair of The Sustainable Food Trust (UK), board member at The Nordic Food Lab, Haver til Maver (School Gardens) and MAD Food Symposium.

Mads Randbøll Wolff, Director, Chora Connection

Anne-Birgitte Agger, Director, Copenhagen House of Food

Watch a short video with Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food 2008-2014:




  • The Copenhagen House of Food /Københavns Madhus
  • Bastbygningen
  • Ingerslevsgade 44
  • DK-1705 Copenhagen V
  • +45 : 4090 9109