Food Tech Playgrounds
Future Food Living Labs are a network of physical spaces that connect food innovation with community outreach. They are permanent and operational laboratories located in vibrant urban areas offering a variety of services to the local community. Designed to be part ‘playground’ for food-tech startups and new food concepts, they serve as spaces to prototype, test, and validate ideas and technologies as they receive feedback from consumers, as well as a platform to let themselves be known to the world.
The FFLLs raise awareness and generate constructive dialogue between communities about issues within the agri-food chain. They provide an outlet to pursue these goals through a wide range of initiatives: scientific aperitifs, workshops and hackathons, dinners, conversations on issues such as food identity, food sector tech meetups, and much more.
Living Lab Network
The first Living Lab to be developed within a futuristic megacity, with the help of a real estate company, a community-driven organization. Given the historical role of the fish and vegetable markets, The Kyobashi neighborhood has been the center of food culture in Tokyo for over 300 years. The Lab merges an innovation hub, a space for market validation and testing; an open innovation platform for creating sustainable cities; and a food destination to strengthen relationships between producers and consumers.
This Living Lab prototype opened in 2014 when the students from the first master on food and innovation were offered an innovation space for testing the theories and projects developed in class. The Officucina contributed to helping citizens rediscover their connection with agriculture, to be seen no longer as an element of tradition but as a driving force for regional and local food policies.
The most recent Living Lab arrived in 2020 in a small community of only 2,268 inhabitants, enriched by its beautiful rural, mountain, and coastal landscapes. It is the first Lab with the specific aim of bringing rural lifestyle alive, supporting the needs, and overcoming the challenges that are typical of small villages and inland areas characterizing this beautiful area.
In 2018, the second Living Lab opened, in the heart of the University of Bologna, to combine and enrich food traditions with innovation. Comprising three specific labs (urban farming; digital manufacturing applied to food; and Food Alchemist Lab), startups and food innovators there have found a playground for showcasing their technologies and testing with real customers every day.