Act: Inspiration

Social Food Atlas

January 10, 2019

Do you know someone who organises social food projects that create solidarity among people, and connection with the land?

As a legacy of the #Mammaiaaa project in #Matera2019, a Social Food Forum will be launched, in March, to help the social food movement grow. This project has three parts: Atlas of Social Food Projects; Social Food Forum; and Social Food Green Paper.

In preparing to launch the Atlas, we’re looking for meals, festivals, or platforms inspired by the cultural meanings of food and farming, people and place.

(Above:Va’Zapp dinner for young farmers, Italy


In #Mammamiaaa, thousands of dinners are being held across Italy and Europe to celebrate the role of women in creating meals. At each dinner, the different ways in which grandmothers, mothers, fathers, uncles, and children, prepare, cook, and eat, together, are being collected, and shared.

More than 3,500 #mammaiaaa stories have already been shared online here.

These stories are an invitation to the world: Let’s celebrate food as a medium of social connection and solidarity – and let’s find ways to do this more.

Social Food Atlas

Above: a Disco Soupe event in Nantes, France)

As preparation for the launch of the Forum later in 2019, an online Atlas of Social Food Projects will make visible – and findable – a wide variety of social food projects that, right now, are little known – even to each other.

(Above: Foodscape Schilderswijk,the Netherlands. Photo: Urbaniahooeve)

We therefore invite you to submit social food projects for the Atlas.

We’re looking for projects such as food hubs and community kitchens; community supported baking – and brewing; social farming, and care farming; citizen-farmer associations; soil restoration and and seed saver projects; school gardens community colleges and catering colleges with social programmes; food projects with refugees; urban farmers; edible foresters; bee keepers; street food projects; fair trade projects.

The location of each project will be identified on an interactive map, together with a link back to the project’s website.

Social Food Forum

Social food projects do not organise themselves. They happen thanks to the work of Social Food Producers. These individuals co-create – with diverse partners – a rich variety of events, festivals and platforms.

Right now, social food producers tend to be low-profile; their work is not well understood by commissioners in government, or business; and they are not well connected to each other.

As a legacy of #Matera2019, Mammamiaaa will therefore establish a community of practice, which we are calling the Social Food Forum. The Forum will help its members do more of this work, in new places, and with new partners, after Matera2019 is over.

An inaugural meeting of a Social Food Forum will take place in Matera in March.

(Above: Sicilia Integra, Sicily )

Between now and then, a small working group of social food producers will meet to identify core subjects for discussion; prepare short briefing documents; and consider the best way to ensure effective and open governance.

After the launch, an online platform will connect Social Food Producers to each other, and organisations wishing to commission them.

Social Food Green Paper

At a public event in Matera on Sunday 24 March 2019, a working group of the Social Food Forum will publish a Green Paper (discussion paper) as the basis of their work, going forward.

(Above: meeting at AgorAgri community garden in Matera).

The Green Paper will address four initial questions:
1 What is valuable about the kind of work that social food producers do?
2 Can this value be measured – and if so, how?
3 What are the most important success factors?
4 What can public officials in municipalities or regions most helpfully do?

(Above: Funky Tomato, Italy)

The Green paper will identify the skills, connections and resources needed to develop their work. It will invite local government, food organisations and anchor institutions to discuss. together, how to extend social food projects across Europe and beyond.

John Thackara

For thirty years John Thackara has traveled the world in his search of stories about the practical steps taken by communities to realize a sustainable future. He writes about these stories online, and in books; he uses them in talks for cities, and business; he also organizes festivals and events that bring the subjects of these stories together. John is the author of a widely-read blog at and of the best-selling In the Bubble: Designing In A Complex World (MIT Press) - also translated into nine languages. As director of, John organizes conferences and festivals in which social innovators share knowledge. He has lectured in more than forty countries.

Tags: Building resilient food and farming systems, social movements