Project Description

FRCT – Regional Fund for Science and Technology is a public agency of the Regional Government of the Azores, under the Regional Secretariat for Sea, Science and Technology (SRMCT), the authority responsible for developing and implementing the region’s Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3). FRCT manages the regional funds available for science, technological development and innovation, promoting and integrating relevant research projects and providing research grants. It is also the privileged channel for the Regional Government of the Azores’ participation in research projects and collaborative activities with external entities. A Food Lab with wide participation will the best way address the particularities of this insular and outermost region and to promote innovative solutions in a natural lab environment.

Contact: Natália Susana






Meeting Fellow Labs in Brussels Participating in the FIT4FOOD2030 Training for Food Labs Our representative, Carlos Leal, went to Brussels for a first meeting with the FIT4FOOD2030 lab coordinators' network, participating in workgroups, learning the structure and personnel involved in the project and more details about the FIT4FOOD2030 module delivery processes. We received the materials, documents and advice necessary to implement a Food Lab in the Azores, focusing on the delivery of two formats: citizen mandates on change in the food system and an educational module that uses newspapers to stimulate system understanding and critical thinking. Brussels; October 2019 Planning Food Lab Azores' main goals for 2020 A Food Fair that couldn't take place We intended to organize a Food Fair over a full weekend and had already received an authorization for the physical space and mobilised participants, food bloggers, nutritionists, lecturers, university teachers, and so on, but COVID-19 prevented us from materializing our main goal for 2020. "Angra do Heroismo, Terceira Island, Azores; November 2019 - March 2020" Securing regional funding After throughoughly preparing funding forms, partner written agreement and budgets, we got approval for extra funding from the Regional Government's Regional Direction for Science & Technology, doubling the sum allocated by the project for 2020. March 2020 Testing a first online activity A webinar about alternatives to plastics in the Expolab of AEO - Azores Environmental Observatorium Expolab's webinar on beeswax food packaging, as an alternative to plastic packaging and an organic tool to store food was organized by Dr. Carolina Ferraz. Expolab - Science Center, Lagoa São Miguel Island, Azores, June-July 2020 Creating a Multidisciplinary Team Existing collaborators and new professionals join the team We set up a team of 5 people who were willing to join and accept the challenge to organize a series of workshops with the Food Lab during 2020. Nutritionist Catarina Faria, Environmental Engineer for Sustainability Catarina Fontes, communication professional Margarida Sodré, Superior Health School and university teacher Helena Vieira, joined the lab coordinator Carlos Leal, Biologist and Environmental Educator. From September to late November, the team held work meetings, both in person and online, to deliver our lab events. July-November 2020 Setting up collaboration with local schools and partners Meetings and visits to check the availability of technical conditions for the workshop realization. We could count on the project "Our Farms - No Planet B 2.0", the Praia da Vitoria Professional School, the University of Azores - Health School, a local Angra's Continente Market and the Expolab - Science Center. With this partner network we carried out different actions to communicate the project to the public: posters, emailings, a Facebook group where we shared pictures and videos, and even local interviews on radio and television. August - October 2020 Defining our focus We chose to focus on a number of leverage points connected to the European Commission's Food 2030 Pathways: the food system waste streams, urban food systems, food from the Ocean, new sources of proteins and the dietary shift. A newspaper articles search, discussion, tagging-labelling and organziation helped us gather the relevant materials. October 2020 A month dedicated to food at school Food-related activities were held in schools on Santa Maria Island - with students from pre-school to the 6th grade - by Expolab's Dr. Susana Cabral in October 2020. Activities included "Let's decode labels" and "The Kitchen is a Lab" and topics such as molecular cuisine, ingredients and packaging. Santa Maria Island, Azores; October 2020 Newspapers to stimulate critical food systems thinking A first try with this educational module The educational module "Newspapers to stimulate critical food systems thinking " was held in person at Praia da Vitoria Professional School for 1st year students taking a cooking course. We opted to re-size, shape and edit the module's lines in order to make it lighter and more focused on the final debate. Four facilitators animated the workshop: Catarina Meneses, Catarina Faria, Margarida Sodré and Helena Vieira. "Praia da Vitoria Professional School; 28 October 2020" Launching a challenge through social media We challenged our community on social media to a 10-question online Kahoot survey about the food system, including consumer choices, importance of food system awareness and the need to be more sustainable and healthy in our food choices. Online; 10 November 2020 Our Food Lab on Regional TV We speak to "Azores Today" Carlos Leal and Catarina Meneses participated in a 25-minute interview with Azores Today - a programme that discusses local and regional impact-projects and innovating programmes. Watch the video (in Portuguese) by clicking 'View More'. View more 10 November 2020 The Sea's Garden A workshop about the benefis of seaweeds We contracted Dr. Cecilia Melo to deliver a workshop that tackled nutritional factors, discussed some traditional and biological aspects of collecting seaweeds in the Azores, and also included some delicacy tasting. "AEO - Azores Environmental Observatorium, Azores; 14 November 2020" More about 'Food from the Ocean' A webinar about seaweed as an alternative source of protein This webinar was a colleaboration with university ocean and seaweed specialists such as Professor Ana Neto and some regional partners from Flores Islands that work on seaweeds collection and use in food. It was organised by Dr. Rita Patarra from Expolab. Expolab - Science Center, Lagoa São Miguel Island, Azores; 14 November 2020 Newspapers to stimulate critical food systems thinking Fewer post-its, going online The workshop was held for students of the Nursing Course from the Angra do Heroísmo Superior Health School. We opted to use an online application - PADLET - instead of paper post-its and to do the first part of the workshop at distance, in order to reduce workshop's running time and to focus more on the debate in person. Have a look at a Padlet working sheet example by clicking 'View More'. "Praia da Vitoria Professional School; 17 November 2020" Newspapers to stimulate critical food systems thinking We are asked to do it once more! A local teacher actually asked the Food Lab Azores team to repeat the newspaper's workshop with another class, 3rd year students following a cooking course . We performed it half online, half in person. "Praia da Vitoria Professional School; 17 November 2020" A Citizen Mandate Workshop This workshop, intended to be held in person, unfortunately took place just a few days as the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic hit, which resulted in a lower number of attendees than we had hoped for. "AEO - Azores Environmental Observatorium; 20 November 2020" A 'Social Experiment' Participants of the citizen manadate workshop held the day before tested with us making a hypothetical food basket while shopping and were confronted with their food choices with regards to nutrition requirements, variety, design, local versus international provenance, packaging, and so on. "Local Continente Market, Angra do Heroísmo, Azores; 21 November 2020 " Radio Clube de Angra' interviews us Carlos Leal was interviewed live about Food Lab activities for 20 minutes. Watch the video (in Portuguese) by clicking 'View more' 23 November 2020 Macaronight - and our Lab activities in video format We produced a video that summarizes visually the main goals and leverage points approached and the activities that took place in the Azores during 2020. The video was featured on the European Researchers Night in the Azores, Macaronight. Watch it (in English) by clicking 'View More'. View more AEO - Azores Environmental Observatorium, November-December 2020 Planning Food Lab Azores' main goals for 2021 We will meet again at the end of 2020 to look ahead and plan for 2021: legacy events in Azores Environmental Observatorium, ExpoLab Science Centre, and other partner locations. View more December 2020