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Food and climate as part of public kitchens' sustainability work

Conference contribution
Authors Kristina Magnusson
Karin Ingelhag
Mirek Dymitrow
Jonas Dahlin
Monika Carlsson
Published in Chalmers Sustainability Day Conference: “Good Health and Well-being”, Chalmers University of Technology, Session “Loin, larvae or lentils – On eating for health and climate”, 23 October 2018, Gothenburg, Sweden
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Economy and Society, Unit for Human Geography
Mistra Urban Futures
Language en
Keywords food, sustainable meals, school meals, public kitchens, farm-to-fork, health, well-being, Gothenburg
Subject categories Environmental psychology, Environmental Management, Climate Research, Learning, Public Administration Studies, Domestic science and nutrition, Human Geography


Food and meals are central elements in our lives: a source of pleasure, a social activity and a bearer of culture. Our eating habits are also very important to health, which implies that the organization and content of meals is a prerequisite for well-being and learning. Schools, in particular, have unique opportunities to promote healthy lifestyles, help develop good eating habits and raise environmental and climate awareness among children and youths by embedding food in a wider context. Unsurprisingly, there is also an increasing interest in school meals and food-related education among researchers, many of whom agree that the quality of school meals can be seen as one of the most accurate indicators of the cities’ sustainability potential. Systematic quality work, however, requires shared targets and ambitions, regular quality checks and discussions on development and improvement. In that vein, the City of Gothenburg has launched the project Urban Rural Gothenburg, which assembles, develops, tests and implements new solutions for the city’s public kitchens. This involves climate-smart and environmentally sound perspectives and programs regarding meal planning, food procurement, food preparation and food-related teaching and learning (e.g. “Lärande Hållbara Måltider”, “Mindre Matsvinn”, “Pedagogiska Odlingsträdgårdar”). One important approach deals with the normalization of increased vegetarian consumption and greater awareness of food’s origins and travel from farm to table. Another approach deals with conscious choices of raw materials that are beneficial for both the environment and health. A third notable approach focuses on new ways of handling food waste to reduce climate impact. In line with the third Sustainable Development Goal, this presentation captures and reaffirms the fundamental assumptions and methods involved in Gothenburg's work with food sustainability in public kitchens, with an emphasis on health and climate as cross-cutting issues that matter to us all.

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