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KTH and Södertälje Municipality: Implementation of Food Supply Strategy

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Published Apr 03, 2024

Izabella Ståhl is studying the master's program in Sustainable Urban Planning and Design (SUPD) and is writing her master's thesis on the implementation of Södertälje Municipality's food supply strategy. The thesis addresses issues of how to create a sustainable and resilient food system that is robust and able to withstand disruptions.

"It's an exciting opportunity to find out how strategies in food supply can contribute to meeting societal challenges and promoting long-term sustainability," says Izabella Ståhl.

During her education at KTH, she discovered her interest in food and sustainability issues. She discussed her master's thesis with her supervisor, Rebecka Milestad, the vice director of KTH Foods, and it felt natural for her to use both her education and interests to write about sustainable food supply systems.

Cooperation between KTH and organizations

Many students are eager to work with companies and other organizations during their thesis writing: both to make a difference and to enter the job market. Rebecka Milestad believes that the collaboration between KTH and Södertälje Municipality is a win-win situation.

"At the same time as Izabella gets her thesis done, Södertälje Municipality gets help with something they need more knowledge about."

Jordan Valentin Lane, an architect and sustainability strategist at Södertälje Municipality and Izabella's supervisor at the municpality, also sees that the collaboration benefits all parties involved. The project allows them to answer questions they previously had about Södertälje's food strategy, and they receive work-related assistance from a student who brings new perspectives.

Valentin Lane emphasizes the importance of continued cooperation between municipalities and academia. He himself studied architecture at KTH and was employed by Södertälje Municipality after writing his master's thesis in collaboration with them. However, he also sees a need for the municipality to take a more proactive role. This could involve contacting course coordinators or departments at the university to present challenges the municipality faces. They could involve master's students or invite guest lecturers from the municipality to relevant courses.

"An established relationship would facilitate continued cooperation in the future," comments Valentin Lane.

Södertälje Municipality is part of KTH FOOD's reference group. The municipality is at the forefront of sustainable meals in public kitchens, working with small and medium-sized food companies, and holistic thinking regarding food supply (in collaboration with KTH, the parties exchange knowledge and participate in each other's projects).

Changed focus on food planning

Jordan Valentin Lane points out that the focus has shifted since the municipality began looking at public meals. What was previously mainly a focus on sustainability now also involves crisis preparedness, and to address both of these challenges, a resilient food system is required.

"The subject is really topical right now," comments Izabella Ståhl.

Izabella's hope is that her work with Södertälje Municipality will contribute to promoting knowledge on how to best plan and communicate food supply strategies. By exploring ways to create sustainable food systems, she hopes to contribute to a deeper understanding of how we can address challenges in this area and strengthen our communities for the future.