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We are a research and education centre rethinking the way we live, work and play around the world, by experimenting locally in Barcelona and being connected with global communities of (change)-makers. 

Our mission is to empower local communities by offering easy access to digital fabrication technologies, training and skill development related to open know-hows, fostering creativity and innovation, promoting collaborative learning and co-creation, fostering entrepreneurship and Eencouraging inclusion and diversity.

As an active member of the Fab City initiative, the team contributes in pollinating  an innovative urban model that relocalises production to the city and its bioregional context, by empowering communities with the technology to build their own sustainable, innovative, and regenerative urban futures. 

IAAC / Fab Lab Barcelona assumes the important role of labs as interfaces between bottom-up initiatives and top-down processes with the facilitation of multi-stakeholder processes, acting as action researchers for several approaches such as citizen science with the Citizen Sensing toolkit, co-creation with the Siscode Guidebook, or network development with the  Distributed Design Platform or

With the development of the Food Tech 3.0 acceleration program in the framework of the project FoodSHIFT 2030,  we aim to encourage and support the acceleration of local food technology innovators who incorporate a citizen-driven approach to their work, in any area of the food system value chain. 

This program is based on the following pillars of Food Tech 3.0:

  • community-based, citizen-driven technology that fosters food citizenship;
  • addresses holistic sustainability;
  • incorporates open design practices;
  • operates in an ecosystem of stakeholders;
  • and prioritises equity and accessibility.

Our approach is to identify, develop and implement community-led sustainable solutions and try to solve the following questions: How can cities create and improve open technologies for inclusive food future systems? How can food technology makers include citizens and communities in the tech creation process in order to make interventions that empower them? IAAC / FabLab BCN  sees technology not only as application of scientific knowledge to the practical aims of human life, but as a source of power for people, allowing the inclusion of communities in an open dialogue to amplify their voices. Communities are increasingly the ones demanding change considering they are key players in identifying territorial needs in the food system and have already been working (many times without financial support) to respond to actual problems.

IAAC / Fab Lab Barcelona has been dealing with the topic of food for several years. This has happened mainly through projects such as:

SISCODE, co-creating a solution to food waste in Poblenou with the initiative “Remix El Barrio”;

ROMI, co-developing robotics for microfarms with farmers;

GROW Observatory, empowering urban agriculture communities with open source monitoring tools;

Smart Citizen, empowering communities to understand their environment;

Fabricademy, Fab Academy and Master in Design for Emergent Futures have seen a boom in the exploration of food-based projects, particularly in the design and integration of biomaterials and the exploration of food waste. 

We are currently working on the following sustainable food related projects:

FoodSHIFT 2030 is working towards innovation within themes ten and eleven of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, through advancing production technologies; better education; food system communication; adapting policies around food use, sales and production for a more circular, lower carbon European food system, consuming less meat and more plant-based diets. FoodSHIFT 2030 has 9 core accelerator labs in leading European cities, all focused on different components of the food system. These labs have the option to develop more FoodSHIFT enabling labs in 27 follower city-regions. FoodSHIFT is supported by 31 partners comprising 7 municipalities, 11 SMEs, 6 NGOs and 6 research institutes from 11 European countries.

IAAC / Fab Lab Barcelona’s role in FoodSHIFT is to communicate and disseminate knowledge effectively and also to play a key role in being one of the nine accelerator labs. Barcelona hosts the Food Tech 3.0 Lab, which focuses on the role of agricultural technologies appropriate for urban food production for circular economy strategies.

FoodSHIFT Pathways is a project that seeks to transfer the knowledge acquired in the Foodshift 2030 sister project to school classrooms and their environment, thus multiplying its impact by involving younger generations and supporting sustainable development goals 4 and 12 by promoting a quality education and by promoting the use of more sustainable consumption and production models. The project will foster a learning ecosystem in which teachers and students find innovative learning experiences through a series of practices enriched with digital resources and interactive videos initially designed by the FoodSHIFT Pathways project consortium that is coordinated by Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and involves five more institutions from Greece (Ellinogermaniki Agogi), Denmark (Carsten Meedom), the Netherlands (SUSMetro), Spain (IAAC) and Portugal (Ciencia Viva) and later enriched by the communities of teachers participating in each of the 6 countries involved.

The generated resources will be treated as case studies focused on different parts of the food system value chain for participating schools to explore, develop innovative projects and activities that support their behavior change towards the food system and, at the same time, increase awareness of the problem in the local communities of these same schools.

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