Last week FIT4FOOD2030 was pleased to welcome the 26 coordinators of the Policy Labs and City Labs from 12 different European countries to sunny Amsterdam for their first training and learning session. From Tartu to Barcelona and from Oslo to Sofia, the team of Lab coordinators is diverse and not just in terms of geography and nationality; the group includes academics, civil servants, educators, and researchers bringing together a wealth of experience and expertise.

Based at the Vrije Universiteit (VU), the focus of the two-day session was on how the labs can set up a transformative network; a network of people who together create the change needed to tackle complex societal issues. These transformative networks will work towards new ways to do research and innovation (R&I) around Food and Nutrition Security (FNS), to future-proof the food system. A challenging and innovative prospect, the two days aimed to provide the foundation for realising this change Lab coordinators’ local contexts, as well as providing the chance to meet with one another to form a learning community.

Day one was dedicated to exploring the aspired transformation of the food systems and the hoped-for impact of the Labs. This saw coordinators engaging in a variety of interactive visioning and reflection exercises.  Day two was more practical and focused on the formulation of strategy and tactics for building the transformative networks. Alongside learning key skills in stakeholder analysis and how to create communication strategies, there was also a much-valued opportunity to discuss plans for the labs.

By the end of the two-day session the coordinators left the VU, equipped to start the first phase of their lab activities: actor identification and mobilisation, visioning and systems understanding. This was the first of five trainings, the next one is scheduled for May.