Project introduction ---

Urban&Local creates a sustainable local food and restaurant business network

Artikkelikuva: Project introduction

The project is developing a network that supports and fosters research and business avenues in the restaurant and local food industries in the Uusimaa region. Testing platforms, products, and services are developed in cooperation with businesses, local food agents, cities, and research institutes.

Urban&Local Future Food Ecosystem project envisions an ‘edible city’, where sustainable and local food practices are a part of the cityscape, thus supporting nature’s biodiversity. The sustainability and availability of food have risen as hot issues among societal crises. The project brings local food closer to people living in cities, supporting a local and sustainable food system.


The project aims to create a future food ecosystem in the capital region. This is done in cooperation with cities, local businesses and research, development, and innovation organisations. The purpose is to enable a continuous cooperation between agents, exchange of knowledge, co-creation and the use of scientific research in business models of local food industries and restaurants.

The objective is to further a sustainable and lively food culture in cities, as well as strengthen the growth and competitiveness of businesses through innovative solutions. 

The project tests and creates new solutions to support production, marketing, distribution and the use of digital technologies. The aim is to also develop and enable the use of cities as test beds.

Duration, partners, funding and total budget

Duration: 1.1.2023–31.12.2025

Partners: FVH, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, Perho Culinary, Tourism & Business college and the city of Vantaa

Funding: The project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council

Budget: The total budget is 1 890 000 euros, of which Forum Virium Helsinki’s share is 650 000 euros

Our role

Forum Virium Helsinki is the main executor and project coordinator. It is responsible for the mapping of the test beds in the Uusimaa region as well as the development of Tukkutori and Teurastamo areas as test beds within the project. 

Forum Virium Helsinki is also responsible for the agile pilots, which aim to test for example the use of data, digitalisation, artificial intelligence or robotics. Furthermore, Forum Virium Helsinki is also responsible for the communications of the project, to inform and engage stakeholders in the network. 

Benefits for Helsinki

The project promotes the city of Helsinki’s strategy to utilise test beds and the fostering of a sustainable food culture within the cityscape. Active cooperation with universities and businesses enables experimentation and strengthens the liaison between different agents in the local food network. Together we are building a sustainable and vibrant food network in the capital region, which enhances the growth in the field and increases Finland’s reputation as a clean food destination. 


A short and transparent food chain is a more sustainable alternative to the current, global supply chain. Urban farming and food that is produced near cities is more climate friendly and increases the resilience of the food chain in the face of climate change. The development of alternative food chains is a part of national and international climate change targets.

The creation of a network supports economic sustainability by promoting cooperation between local food producers and restaurants, as well as opening new sustainable avenues, business possibilities, and jobs. Cooperation between businesses, restaurants and research institutes increases the awareness of the environmental impact of food and enables the use of topical research data in business models. 

Social sustainability is promoted by bringing food production closer to the consumer, where its sustainability is easier to ensure. The availability of local food and services also increases consumer awareness of sustainable choices. The project raises awareness and appreciation for the female-dominated food and restaurant industry. 

Urban&Local Future Food Ecosystem -project (01/202312/2025) aims to develop innovative solutions, practices, products and services in local food and restaurant business, as well as create a framework for sustainable business models and cooperation between stakeholders. The project is coordinated by Forum Virium Helsinki, and partners are Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, Perho Culinary, Tourism & Business college and the city of Vantaa. The project is partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund.