Tirana, the capital of Albania, is the 7th largest city on the Balkan Peninsula, with a population of 800,000. Having recently signed the Milan Global Compact on Urban Food Policy, the municipality has launched a number of projects to actively promote the development of a sustainable food system. In particular, since 2020 it has been leading the European Food Trails project. This project brings together 11 territories in Europe and aims to bring together and engage local stakeholders to create a global food policy focused on food waste and access to healthy, high-quality food for all.
Through the Food Trails project, the city of Tirana aims to :
- Engage in dialogue with local stakeholders to assess the food system and build a network of local food players, centred around producers, restaurants and shops;
- Raise citizens' awareness of healthy and sustainable food choices, and reduce waste;
- Create a multifunctional food centre bringing together consumers, farmers, restaurants and shops to promote the purchase and use of locally grown produce.
To achieve this, Tirana is involved in distributing quality food to those who need it most and reducing waste. The city's Department of Social Affairs runs an initiative that collects unsold food from supermarkets and other operators for use in social centres, while UNICEF and the Ministry of Education are working together to include healthy food and reduce food waste in elementary and secondary schools. The mayor of Tirana, Erion Veliaj, said that "the best allies are the children. If you want real change in the city, use the children as ambassadors".
The Food Trails project is also a way for the municipality to become more involved in food issues by developing a city-wide strategy. In this way, Tirana could become an example for the rest of the country.
"We wanted to learn from other, more advanced cities that had already developed their food policies. Food Trails helped us to launch this process", explains Kojdheli.
Food Trails is a four-year (2020-2024), €12,000 million project funded by the European Horizon 2020 programme, in response to the call for proposals "Food 2030 - Empowering Cities as agent of food system transformation".
This European funding dimension is important in that the Food Trails project is developing, on a European scale, as an advocacy action with European, national and local institutions, demonstrating that cities are ready to collaborate with European players for sustainable, healthier and inclusive food systems.
The Food Trails Living Lab, based on consultations with local stakeholders, has enabled the city of Tirana to launch a food policy in June 2022, centred around several projects:
- To create a multifunctional food centre, an infrastructure that will bring together consumers, local produce and farmers. In the form of a local network of restaurants, bars and food shops that buy and use locally grown ingredients and products, the idea is to promote the widespread use of local produce;
- Offering a special menu based on local organic food one day a week;
- Organise an organic food fair in Tirana on an annual or monthly basis.
Ultimately, the city wants to award certification to restaurants whose food comes from short supply chains and which combat food waste. This certification is a way for the city to publicly reward healthy and local food choices, as well as decisions to reduce food waste.
This initiative sheet was written by Sylvia Dal Molin, student at BSA in January 2023.
Last modification : 12 Jun 2023.
Municipality of Tirana
As a signatory of the Milan Global Compact on Urban Food Policy, the municipality of Tirana has launched a number of projects to promote the development of a sustainable food system within the city.