A regional sustainable food system

Is your local food genuinely sustainable? Soon it will be! We will create a network of forerunner regions in Finland, piloting a circular economy in the food system. In the network, we will spar with each other and disseminate good circular economy practices.


A sustainable food system, implemented in keeping with the principles of the circular economy, is created by doing things together. To achieve this, we need forward-looking regions and a strong regional network.

Sitra encourages regions to promote sustainable food systems that follow the principles of the circular economy. We will form a network of regional sustainable food systems. The network will refine and disseminate good ideas and practices. Finland will become a model country for a sustainable food system – with cleanliness, safety and profitability at the forefront.

What do we do?

The pilot schemes of the circular economy network of regional food are multidimensional and:

  • bring together different operators to develop and test a food system based on the resources and needs of their own region;
  • create co-operation mechanisms between consumers, producers and the public sector, and develop and encourage the creation of new forms of co-operation;
  • inform people about the importance of nutrient recycling and renewable energy production, as well as the role of local food and an environmentally sustainable food system for boosting the region’s competitiveness;
  • provide information about the existing research data, good practices, legislation and ongoing pilot projects to the operators;
  • motivate operators to embark on common projects and investments;
  • observe the key regional criteria of a sustainable food system and estimate what kind of challenges the information base and usability of the criteria pose.

The criteria to be observed are related to the regional economy, the amount of greenhouse gas emissions, waste in different parts of the food system, the nutrient cycle and nutrition.

To reach the goal, we are already applying the results of and experiences from existing projects and trials as well as other know-how the regions have generated.

Where have we got to so far?

Sitra has established a circular economy network of regional food (link in Finnish), comprised of five regions: Lapland, Central Finland, the Åland Islands, the Saimaa Lake District and Uusimaa. The regions are trialling together a sustainable food system, where the development of the region’s own food culture also plays a visible part. The pilot schemes partner with the key project implemented on the Åland Islands in accordance with the road map to a circular economy (link in Finnish).


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