On July 12th, 2021, the Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Professor Manuel Heitor, together with the Minister of Territorial Cohesion, Professor Ana Abrunhosa, have opened the doors of Food4Sustainability CoLAB, based in Idanha-a-Nova.
The welcome to all the presents was given by the Mayor of Idanha-a-Nova, Engineer Armindo Jacinto who, since the beginning, has great esteem for this project, being always supportive of new ideas and believing that the F4S CoLAB will help "the world to begin in Idanha-a-Nova".
The Minister of Territorial Cohesion, Professor Ana Abrunhosa, congratulated Food4Sustainability for its inauguration, recognizing that "its focus is to find new solutions to large-scale problems in food systems, corresponding to the new European agendas". She also recognized that this kind of initiatives "are very important at this turning point in the sustainability agenda we are living today, namely producing food without using chemicals, making our use of soil and water more sustainable and efficient, and minimizing the environmental impact of agriculture and food industries, while at the same time combining profitability of these economic activities. Dr. Ana Abrunhosa also stressed that the collaborative laboratories in the interior "have helped to generate new dynamics in these territories and helped to draw the attention of the population throughout the country to what is done well and what can be done in an extraordinary way from here", combining "science, knowledge, and innovation to traditional activities”.
From the governing bodies, Engineer Nuno Serra, president of Food4Sustainability, and Engineer Gonçalo Amorim, CEO of BGI-Building Global Innovators and vice-president of Food4Sustainability, presented the CoLAB and its associates, the innovation agenda, and all the team.
Dr. Ricardo Chagas, technical and scientific director of Food4Sustainability, shared some of the ongoing projects, highlighting the by-product valorization projects and two under-implementation demonstrators, one for sustainable agriculture and the other for aquaponics, which aim to test, implement, and disseminate new approaches to food systems. Following this, Dr. Claúdia Costa, Food4Sustainability operations researcher and responsible for the F4S Academy, also showed some of the activities that are being developed. She highlighted the intense activity of the F4S Academy, which has already held 10 webinars (in 3 months), and the BioLog (a platform that aims to aggregate all the stakeholders for an acceleration of the transition to organic and sustainable agriculture systems), among others.
The event was closed by Professor Manuel Heitor, who stated that "these laboratories correspond to a new state of maturity of our scientific and innovation capacity, oriented to the creation of value that is an essential issue: creating qualified employment and better quality of life”. “The success of this laboratory is, firstly, to create value for its partners and then, obviously, to export, to help and facilitate these partners to export and create higher value-added values in global markets."
During the event, the present guests had the opportunity to visit the sustainable agriculture demonstrator located in Hortas d’Idanha, Ladoeiro. This is Food4Sustainability CoLAB's living lab agricultural project, consisting of 13 hectares, aiming to be a dynamic and demonstrative testing ground, where the latest and most innovative sustainable agricultural techniques are developed and evaluated.