Food SystemiCity programme opens up business opportunities in the food transition for urban environment stakeholders

The sustainability shift in the food system presents prospects particularly for companies in the built environment sector, local and urban food producers, and technology companies. New programme connects them with R&D&I organizations and cities to collectively seize the opportunities.

Currently, global food chains are significant contributors to climate emissions and biodiversity loss. Science indicates that transitioning towards more localized food systems, where nutrients circulate efficiently and primary inputs are produced locally, is a solution. This approach reduces greenhouse gas emissions, food waste, and energy consumption. Food production in urban environments also alleviates pressure on land use and, at its best, enhances residents' well-being through community-based urban farming and local gardens. Additionally, new solutions and digital channels for local food production diversify distribution, improving food security and resilience.

The Food SystemiCity programme assists companies in seizing the business opportunities emerging in the urban and local food through deploying new technologies. This is achieved through five actions:

  1. We identify and describe potential new business opportunities related to the built environment in the transition towards sustainable, local food systems.
  2. We facilitate the discovery of suitable collaboration partners for companies across different sectors, including relevant urban stakeholders and research groups.
  3. We support co-development of new local and sustainable food solutions and seek international experts as mentors for development.
  4. We enable piloting of new solutions, including utilizing testbeds in the metropolitan area.
  5. We provide tools for assessing the sustainability and business potential of new initiatives.

Food SystemiCity brings together companies from the built environment sector, startups developing new food & agri tech, agricultural and urban stakeholders, and research groups to co-develop new solutions and business. The programme facilitates collaboration among these entities to create new piloted product and service concepts for local food production, distribution, and nutrient cycling. This includes initiatives such as urban farming, local food production or circular economy solutions that connect urban dwellers with local rural producers.

Food SystemiCity program brings together various fields such as real estate and construction, housing, urban farming, primary production, logistics, local food distribution, local food processing, circular economy actors, data and telecommunications, and energy sector. Its main idea is that new local and sustainable food solutions can be produced most effectively through shared expertise and collaboration between different actors.

Got interested? Would you like to be involved in seizing new business opportunities in sustainable and local food?

Welcome aboard the Food SystemiCity programme and network: Contact the programme leader: Laura Forsman, Viikki Food Design Factory Manager,


Food SystemiCity programme in a nutshell


A programme that facilitates the development of new business in cities and built environments in the global transition towards sustainable local food systems.


Due to the significant negative impacts of current food production and distribution on biodiversity loss, climate emissions, and the well-being of residents in both urban and rural areas.


Led by the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry at the University of Helsinki, implemented by Aalto University, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.


The programme is focused on the Helsinki metropolitan area and Uusimaa region.


The programme runs from 2023 to 2025.


Co-financed by the European Union's Regional Development Fund and the host organisations of the project partners.