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Resource wisdom: Increasing the use of local food reduces emissions and creates new jobs

Locally-sourced fish and vegetables

In the autumn of 2014 at the City of Jyväskylä’s Vesanka day care centre-school, the children were able to experience a taste of real local food. In a trial related to resource wisdom an operating model was formulated by means of which professional kitchens can centrally purchase both vegetables produced by local businesses and fish caught in local lakes.

The aim of the resource wisdom is to save on natural resources, reduce emissions and create fresh business opportunities and jobs. According to Leena Pölkki, Project Manager of the Local Food Resource-Wise for Public Kitchens project, fishing, the production of roots and other vegetables, as well as the refining of raw materials could be increased provided there was more direct cooperation between producers and end users. “The big advantage of local food is its freshness as well as reliable information about both its origin and production methods,” Leena Pölkki underlines.

The kitchen of the day care centre-school in the Vesanka area of Jyväskylä produces approximately 350 meals daily. During the autumn a pilot scheme was implemented in Vesanka, the purpose of which was to make it easier to use locally-sourced food in publicly-owned professional kitchens. For the children’s meals use was made of a coarse fish – roach – caught in northern Lake Päijänne and carrots grown in Saarijärvi, northwest of Jyväskylä.

Towards an ecologically sustainable lifestyle

The City of Jyväskylä and Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund, jointly launched the Towards Resource Wisdom project in 2013. Behind the project lies the concern that the western way of life uses up too many natural resources and is responsible for harmful emissions. For instance, more than three globes would be necessary in order to maintain the lifestyle of Finns.

Sitra’s Lead Expert Lari Rajantie states: “The aim is for Jyväskylä to genuinely become a resource wise city which doesn’t produce any emissions or waste at all. In addition it aims to consume only the amount of natural resources with which the globe can sustain – in other words significantly less than any Finnish or western city at present.”

At the beginning of 2015 results will be obtained from a number of practical experiments aimed at establishing ways of achieving an ecologically sustainable lifestyle. Five households, for example, have tested a way of life which consumes fewer natural resources than at present.

Words by Timo Sillanpää. The article was orginally published in Jyväskylä Human Tech Center Finland magazine

7.1.2015Satu Heikkinen

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