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Retox: Local food and sustainability

11.10.2019. – 12.10.2019. 14h / RiHub

You are invited to the inaugural two-day Retox conference on the sustainability of the food system – sustainable local food production and distribution and the link-up between the producers and customers via short food supply chains and solidarity models of mutual support.

Over the course of the two-day programme consisting of lectures, panel discussions and workshops, we will present innovative local and global sustainable methods and trends in organic food production and discuss fairer food distribution systems. We will deal with strategies for securing the food sustainability of the city and/or neighbourhood through legislative changes and various means of self-organisation by civic groups.

We will discuss how to locate public areas and have them designated for planting gardens and orchards, by taking into account the growing role of cities in resolving issues pertaining to global food systems, e.g. providing wholesome food to everyone, reducing climate change, combating the obesity epidemic, protecting rural life, building infrastructure and resistance.

The need for cities to become vanguards in implementing sustainable food systems has been recognised at the global sustainability level (Sustainable Development Goals) and as part of the New Urban Agenda adopted at the UN Habitat III conference in 2016. The Agenda has been acknowledged worldwide in hundreds of cities, which have started developing and implementing urban food policies in the last two decades.

The food policies in cities call for city authorities to take strategic action in resolving food issues. They are generally aimed at specific issues (e.g. obesity, food waste), although they can also prove beneficial in several other areas of politics. They were designed to resolve the manifold issues regarding food systems and require coordinated efforts between the city departments and the community, while simultaneously advocating the establishment of new governing structures.

We will also introduce alternative methods for enabling a local sustainable food system – guerrilla initiatives, co-ops and small local gardens, as well as creative ways to educate and include the larger local community in the food production and supply chain.

​The first day of the Retox programme will be discourse-oriented and will consist of a series of presentations and a public panel discussion. On Saturday, the second day of the event, we will visit several urban gardens in Rijeka, school and therapeutic gardens, GSR distribution centres and hold a workshop for initiative members in the food industry, urban gardeners and activists.

The entire programme is open to the public and free of charge.


Conference participants:

Retox will welcome Frances Ajena, an agroecologist from IPES-Food.

IPES-Food strives to reform the food system by conducting research aimed at policies and direct involvement in worldwide policy-making processes. The panel brings together scientists in the fields of environmental protection, development economists, nutritionists, agronomists and sociologists, as well as experienced practitioners from civil society activity and social movements.

Francesco is currently the Advisor on Agriculture, Health and Food Policy for the Belgian French-speaking Green Party. He worked for the European Green Party from 2015 to 2017 and has held internships with Amnesty International and the European Coordination of La Via Campesina. More about Francesco:

Local participants include activists from Rijeka that advocate, educate on and produce local food. The Solidarity Exchange Group (Grupa solidarne razmjene – GSR), Rijeka Transitional Initiative, Eco Kvarner Association / Slow Food Liburnia. Also participating are organisations that distribute wholesome food, such as the Primorje-Gorski Kotar Kašetica Centre for Indigenous Products and the Food Network, a platform for the joint programmatic action of legal and natural persons with the aim of establishing an efficient national food donation and distribution system in the interest of the public in the Republic of Croatia. We also invite city authority representatives, representatives of the County Centre for Agriculture and Rural Development and representatives of Rijeka Plus d.o.o in order to detect possibilities for public and civil cooperation with the aim of establishing a sustainable local food system.

On the second day of the conference, we will visit urban gardens in Rijeka, the “Green Path” First Communal Urban Garden in Rijeka and school gardens. We will also visit the Kašetica Centre for Indigenous Products and the GSR eco-farmers’ market. The programme will conclude with an interactive workshop for initiative members in the food industry facilitated by Francesco Ajena (IPES-Food).



Friday, 11 October

Presentations and public panel discussion:

  1. 2:00 pm “Green path” First Communal Urban Garden in Rijeka and the Solidarity Exchange Group, Sonja Katana and Lena Povrženić – Urban gardens in Rijeka and eco-farmers’ markets
  2. 2:45 pm Primorje-Gorski Kotar County Centre for Agriculture and Rural Development and Kašetica, Teodora Cimaš – a Short food supply chain and support for local producers in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County
  3. 3:30 pm Slow Food Liburnia, Vjeran Piršić – How to reconstruct and modernise indigenous agriculture on the islands via the Slow Food movement paradigm

BREAK 4:30 pm – 4:45 pm

  1. 4:45 pm Rijeka plus d.o.o, Slavica Šćulac-Strenja – Brajda eco-farmers’ market
  2. 5:30 pm Food Network, Andrej Kljun – Platform for the joint programmatic action of legal and natural persons with the aim of establishing an efficient national food donation and distribution system in the Republic of Croatia.
  3. 6 pm IPES Food – Fair food system, Franceso Ajena – examples of global positive practices

BREAK 6:40 pm – 7:00 pm

  1. 7:00 pm Public panel discussion with all the keynote speakers


Saturday, 12 October, 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

On-site visits to gardens and distribution centres

Visits to the “Green Path” First Communal Urban Garden in Rijeka and school gardens. A visit to the Kašetica Centre for Indigenous Products and the GSR eco-farmers’ market.

Saturday, 12 October, 6:00 pm

Workshop for initiative members in the food industry

Workshop facilitator: Francesco Ajena

This workshop was envisioned as an open platform for sharing experiences and proposing solutions for activists and initiative members that organise urban gardens and the distribution of local food. The workshop will introduce tools for self-organisation, garden system and distribution chain management, and the stimulation and motivation of members and the larger local community, as well as advocate ideas based on examples of global good practices.

The workshop is limited to 30 people and you are required to apply (providing a brief explanation of what motivated you to participate) at