The project has transformed and cultivated 2000kvm of land, at the organic café Rosendals Trädgård. This is an attempt to change the narrative of sustainable food production and to develop a sustainable food box out of the cultivation testbed.
A just, global food production regime allows for each human being to cultivate 2,000 square metres of land. Currently, however, the distribution of land is asymmetrical and is focussed on maximising output while minimising cultivation spaces, contributing to nutrition shortage and “welfare diseases” as well as to eutrophication in the Baltic Sea, for example. Moreover, the debate around farming in Sweden is polarised between conventional versus ecological farming. There is a need to change the narrative from one positioning humans as victims and/or perpetrators to having a transformative role. 2000 kvm (English: “2000 sq. m.”) explores the overlooked concept and narrative of regenerative farming within the just space of 2000 sq. m. in an open environment located at the organic café Rosendals Trädgård. Thus, Rosendals Trädgård attempts to create means for developing both innovative business models and healthy sustainable meals for tomorrow’s cities, while re- writing the narrative of sustainable food production and visualising transformative scenarios. The concrete purpose of the project is to develop a sustainable food box out of the cultivation testbed.
Good Practices & Solutions
The team of 2000 kvm are conscious of the challenges emanating from initiating such a project. The design process in itself is rigidly structured. The project does not employ pre- designed methodologies but instead utilises three overarching structures to design and facilitate the co-creative process. First, the project’s theoretical starting point is to work with Systems Change in Open Networks, taught within GAIT (Guild of Agents for International Transformation). Many of the involved individuals share experience from GAIT, thus facilitating a common understanding.
Second, achieving a common basic view is prioritised. In order to have a functioning team, utilising official team contracts based on established joint principles is key to achieve an inclusive culture for diverse experiences and epistemologies, as one generally tends to work with like-minded individuals if principles are not outspoken.
Third, a non-coercive principle is emphasised because it is considered necessary for change processes to be voluntary and interactive. People need to be integrated and involved into the change process.
Starting from these overarching structures, methods are designed according to each structure and operation in a flexible way. The same goes for the people involved; depending on which actors are required in a certain phase, the translation of knowledge – and, consequently, the level of ambition – needs to be continuously adjusted.
The concept “Take care of your square” – with regards to global justice and planetary limits – was coined as guidance for everyone involved in testing the 2000 square metre testbed.
Outcome & Opportunities
As the 2000 sq. m. food box is realised, the expectation is that it will eventually expand into a commonly embraced concept, complementary to currently acknowledged sustainable diet options. Another expectation is that this will contribute to regenerative farming becoming an alternative to the aforementioned dichotomisation in the current discourse around sustainable farming.
Lessons learned & Recommendations
Goals of co-creation processes are not likely to be met if calculations do not include time and resources being set aside for developing the co-creative process as an acknowledged practice. Co-creation is dependent on stakeholders “owning the change process not being required to translate their thinking to the concepts of researchers”, while the researcher needs to respect the narrative of these stakeholders to be met in the co-creation process. Thus, funders need to put higher demands on these aspects; otherwise, researchers or other project coordinators might end up ruining the transformative process.
Other more general challenges for co-creation for sustainable development are the lack of concepts and vocabulary, but equally so the lack of co-creation as a practical craft. Knowledge of these aspects is usually non-existent, even though many prefer and encourage working across sectors and diverse stakeholder groups. The reason for this is that there are no professional requirements for initiating co-creation; it is open for everyone.
The creative sector – art, design, and other cultural crafts – is a valuable asset to foster co-creation. However, using artists and scientists together might be deemed unprofessional and even “fudged”, and this is a risk that might prevent some actors from enabling full co- creation.
Nature must be present in co-creation processes such as 2000 kvm, either through research, a certain space, or a craft because the work being done refers to a constellation involving both humans and nature.
Using and targeting public procurement as a means of enhancing and scaling results is a proven asset, at least within sustainable food innovation.
Related SDG targets
- 2.4 By 2030, ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and that progressively improve land and soil quality
- 2.4.1 Proportion of agricultural area under productive and sustainable agriculture
3.9 By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination
- 11.A Support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning
- 11.B By 2020, substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, and develop and implement, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, holistic disaster risk management at all levels
- 12.2 By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resource
- 12.7 Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities
- 12.8 By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature
- 15.9 By 2020, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts
Project: Stockholm Co-creation