At our final conference in cooperation with the Barcelona Design Center on 10 May, 2019, we presented and discussed the REFRESH project results to spur future action on EU food waste reduction among business, policy, research, social innovators and civil society. Preceding the conference, on 9 May, 2019, a selection of field trips and events was offered, featuring food waste innovators from business and civil society in the Barcelona area.

REFRESH Conference, Berlin, 2017, Photo: Tim Ottenstein


The REFRESH Conference Agenda is available for download


The Conference on 10 May


Key areas from the REFRESH work that were showcased:

  1. The development of voluntary agreements across the food supply chain showcasing the experiences of Spain, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands and China that resulted in the “REFRESH voluntary agreements blueprint”
  2. Approaches to reduce consumer food waste through changed household food management practices, business practices and policy interventions
  3. Ways to use and valorize unavoidable food waste for animal feed, fibers and chemicals, and the assessment of their environmental and economic benefits
  4. Opportunities arising from an integrated perspective on sustainable food systems and food policies that include food waste prevention and reduction and achieve multiple sustainability benefits.

The programme for the main day of 10 May took place in the Disseny Hub Barcelona. It used innovative participatory methods, arts and design, and hands-on activities to achieve maximum impact. 150 participants from across Europe and beyond attended the event.



In the evening we continued networking at our "REFRESH Disco Chop". Together we chopped and cooked rescued veggies to music, reflected on the impressions of the day and shareed a delicious meal made from food that would otherwise have been wasted. The evening programme was planned and implemented by Feedback Global, Plataforma Aprofitem els Aliments (PAA) and CAMPUS-CETT-UB.


Field Trips and Events on 9 May

On the day before the conference, five field trips and events were offered, featuring food waste innovators from business and civil society in the Barcelona area. Please see below for details on each of the events. Participants were encouraged to join the full two day experience as it allowed insights to food waste reduction from a practice and research perspective, offered a broad variety of networking opportunities and planted fresh ideas for sustainable food systems.


1. Food-for-Thought: an Interactive Dialogue over Dinner about Food Sustainability in the City

It’s not everyday you get to sit down and enjoy a delicious vegetarian meal with a guided discussion on food itself! Our host of the evening, Mayya Papaya from Foodisms, facilitated an open & interactive dialogue over dinner to talk sustainable food and what this term actually means in the urban context. As a seasoned conversation starter on the topic, Mayya served up some serious food-for-thought as she drew inspiration from all sorts of sustainable food examples and experiences in the city of Barcelona and beyond. All participants had the chance to share their impressions and stories as we collectively cooked-up an engaging conversation together in preparation for the REFRESH Final Conference! The dinner took place in an up-and-coming kitchen space run by a young & dynamic couple who are real-life champions for sustainable food and living in all that they do. They prepared a delicious a 3-course meal using seasonal and sustainably sourced ingredients and biodynamic wine to fuel the occasion.

Host: Mayya Papaya, Foodisms

Time: 19:00 - 21:00

Location: an up-and-coming kitchen space in central Barcelona


2. Food Waste Reduction at “Mercabarna”, the Mediterranean's Biggest Food Hub - a Guided Walking Tour

Housing more than 700 companies and It operating 24 hours a day, Mercabarna is the Mediterranean’s biggest food hub. It guarantees the supply of fresh food to over 10 million consumers. The companies at Mercabarna specialise in the distribution, preparation, import and export of fresh and frozen products, such as fruit, vegetables, fish and meat as well as processed and semi-processed food. Our guided walking tour lead us to the Central Fruit and Vegetable Market, the Food Bank warehouse which serves as a collection and distribution centre for the excess fresh food donated by the companies, and the “Green Point” where Marcabarna’s waste is collected and separated.

Host and Location: Mercabarna food hub (approx. a 40 minute ride from the airport or a 60 minute ride from central Barcelona by public transportation)

Time: 14:00 (please be there 10 minutes early) - 16:00


3. The Agricultural Park of Gallecs - A Guided Bicycle Tour followed by a Tasting of Local Organic Produce

The Agricultural Park of Gallecs, also referred to as the ‘green paradise’ 15 km north of Barcelona, was born out of social fight to prevent urban pressure, that lasted more than two decades. In 2000, the Consortium of Gallecs was established to protect the land, consisting of six municipalites and the Catalan Government. Since then, Gallecs has undergone a transformation from an abandoned area to a flagship project of sustainable food production and recreational activities. Today, around 50% of the agricultural territory are farmed organically. During this field trip, Gemma Safont I Artal and Albert Garcia Macian from the Consortium of Gallecs will took us on a ride to discover the area by bicycle. We found out how its people benefit from its win – win projects. We met local producers and visited the agricultural cooperative, learning from their activities to recover old local varieties of vegetables. Two particular highlights of the visit were the Can Quildo farm and its project of organic vegetables for public canteens, and a brand new organic egg farm. The visit ended with a picnic-style food tasting of local produce, all organic and delicious, including the infamous TOC beer. Cheers!

Host: Gemma Safont I Artal, Manager of the Consortium of Gallecs; and Albert Garcia Macian, Head of the European projects and International Relations at the City Council of Mollet

Time: 16:15 - 19:15

Location: Gallecs, 15 km north of Barcelona (approx. a 30 minute ride from central Barcelona, Sants or Plaça Catalunya, by public transportation)


5. Zero Waste Mission – A Hands-on Workshop on how to make Bioplastics from Food Waste

Tackling the problem of massive waste generation, more specifically the problem of plastic waste, this workshop focuses on the research of bioplastics and how those can have different physical and aesthetic properties (color, density, strength, odor, etc.). In this 3-hour upcycling session, we created our own bioplastics! Our host was the PLAT, an open-source creative platform that through r&d, innovation and education addresses upcoming challenges of food-related industries. They use design thinking methodologies, cutting-edge technologies to develop effective solutions. Our workshop instructors were Ignacio de Juan-Creix, PLAT’s Innovation Director, imagineer, creative entrepreneur and innovator - he was also our keynote speaker at the REFRESH Final Conference the next day; and Irene Ródenas, PLAT’s Explorer of Interfaces, product designer and mixed media artist.  The workshop was divided up in a theoretical and a practical session. In the theoretical session, we got a glimpse of the bioplastic research conducted at PLAT institute. In the practical session we had the chance to explore different techniques, compositions and recipes for making bioplastics and to develop our own prototypes in small group settings.

Hosts: Ignacio de Juan-Creix (PLAT Innovation Director) and Irene Ródenas (PLAT Explorer of Interfaces)

Time: 16:00 – 19:00 followed by a networking dinner in a nearby restaurant (optional, self pay)

Location: The PLAT Institute’s lab in Poblenou’s Innovation District


If you have any questions about the conference, please do not hesitate to drop us a line at:


in Cooperation with:






Conference Venue:

Disseny Hub Barcelona
Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes, 37-38
08018 Barcelona

Getting There
Metro: Line 1, Stop: Glòries (c. d’Àlaba)
Bus: Lines 7, 92, 192, H12 - Stop: Glòries
Tram: Trambesós T4, T5, T6 - Stop: Glòries


Get an impression of what a REFRESH Conference looks like:

REFRESH Conference 2017 Website

REFRESH Conference 2017 Video


09/05/2019 to 10/05/2019


  • English


Ecologic Institute