AMS Paris’ Food Future, workshop during COP21 in Paris

How will we feed our cities in the future?

Producing sufficient food for the global population in a changing climate and simultaneously reducing the negative impact of food production: this is one of the greatest challenges currently facing mankind. Cities can contribute to solving this challenge. Producing more food in and around urban areas could help to guarantee a steady food supply and make cities less dependent on imported food. Food can also be produced in a more ecologically-friendly way in general, reducing pressure on the climate and even serving as a means of investing in social cohesion. Whatever our new approach, it will have an impact both on cities and food production practices.

During an intense five-day workshop, 25 international students and young professionals from different professional backgrounds set to work on this challenge. We imagined a Paris 15 years into the future, where the way food is produced, distributed, consumed and discarded has changed and become a visible, integral part of the city’s functioning. We worked in the shadow of the 2015 Paris Climate Conference to make a statement, to provoke, to surprise and inspire, to provide food for thought and to feed the debate on climate change and the future of urban life.

The results were presented in the form of short, stimulating films, each proposing a food project or initiative for the future. For these we collaborated with the Dutch Embassy, l’École nationale supérieure d’architecture Paris-Malaquais, l’École des Ingénieurs de la Ville de Paris (EIVP), NaturParis, Suez and Paris&Co. The workshop took place at Atelier Néerlandais – an inspiring location in the middle of Paris, set up for people from the Dutch creative and cultural sector to work, present and discuss.

This workshop was one of the first events organised by the AMS Institute as part of the upcoming research programme ‘The Feeding City’. Exploring urban challenges surrounding the sustainability of our food system is a key fixture on the institute’s agenda. We have brought the output of the workshop back to inspire similar initiatives in the Amsterdam metropolitan area. We learned a lot in Paris, including about how that city is working on solutions in this area, and forged new partnerships for the future to learn from eachother and to invest in new initiatives.