Ghent En Garde: promoting sustainability from production to waste processing
For many years, Ghent has been a pioneer in sustainable food (policy). In 2013, the City launched its food strategy titled “Gent en Garde”. With the establishment of the Food Council, Ghent has promoted sustainable initiatives from production to waste processing. The strategy is based on 3 objectives:
- Short and sustainable food supply chain: Ghent aims to bring consumers and producers as closely together as possible through initiatives such as Vanier, De Korte Keten and numerous (organic) farmer’s markets.
- Zero waste: By managing food surpluses intelligently, Ghent has considerably reduced the amount of waste produced. Take, for example, Ghent’s initiatives with regard to restaurant leftovers (Restorestje), food surpluses (Foodsavers) and the redistribution of these surpluses among social organisations.
- Sustainable food for everyone: Sustainable food is made accessible, feasible and affordable.
Did you know that Ghent is the first city to develop a local protein strategy? Below you can read about Thursday Veggie Day and Ghent’s Green Bowl
Thursday Veggie Day
Not eating any meat or fish one day a week can make a real difference. That is the basic idea behind the campaign Thursday Veggie Day. Since it was launched in 2009, the campaign has really caught on in Ghent. Its example has been followed in many other cities, both on a national and international level. And the more people worldwide have a vegetarian day once a week, the bigger the impact on humanity, wildlife, the environment and the climate. Not only does it limit your CO2 emissions and support fair food distribution, it is also beneficial to your health. And vegetarian food is simply delicious.
Ghent’s Green Bowl
In November 2021, Ghent was the first city to launch a local protein strategy: a plan to achieve a climate-neutral food supply chain by 2050. At the same time, Ghent aims to lead the way in sustainable protein production (plant-based, animal-based and alternative). To this end, the city has joined forces with producers, innovators, retailers, etc. who wish to contribute to the transition towards sustainable protein production and consumption.
Ghent against food waste
The City of Ghent takes initiatives to combat food waste. In a lot of restaurants, you can ask to take your leftovers home in a practical box called “restorestje” without feeling embarrassed. The boxes are made of FSC-certified cardboard and are compostable.
You can recognise the restaurants in Ghent that participate in this initiative by the sticker on the door. You can also take your own box to put the leftovers in. Thanks to this initiative, you can repeat your culinary experience in Ghent!
What is it? It’s simply a reusable cup for everyday takeaway food and drinks such as coffee, soup, juice and ice cream. The initiative comes from two Ghent entrepreneurs who launched the so-called ‘Billie Cup’ in 2019 during the Plastic-free May campaign. This was the beginning of the fight against avoidable plastic waste.
How does it work? You pay € 1 for the reusable Billie Cup. You get the full deposit back if you return the cup to one of the participating establishments. The cups can be reused for a long period of time. A lid for the cup is on sale for € 1.5, is non-returnable and can be cleaned in the dishwasher.