Our ambition is that Sustainable Food 2.0 will support the creation of a new and competitive Swedish sustainable food production based on modern technology and Swedish expertise and know how.
Based on Swedish research and the latest technology, we want to help build a circular production and supply of fish and vegetables using bioenergy, and exploit synergies with organic waste, carbon dioxide and other similar resources. This will enable us to fulfill our vision of building circular cultivation in Ljusdal and thus take the first step to a new Swedish industry.
We want to contribute to:
- increasing employment, as a result of new local sustainable production, where we create conditions for building a competitive industry in Sweden;
- creating a closed sustainable food production with minimal environmental impact without using precious farmland;
- producing healthy food by creating a new and competitive production of fish and vegetables using efficient technical systems, and exploiting the synergies of organic waste, carbon dioxide and other unused resources; and
- creating a secure and sustainable supply of food through controlled circular supply chains in our country.
Today, Sweden depends on cheap logistics functions to meet its daily food needs. We believe that it is of national strategic interest to secure a sustainable food supply, and why we see this project as key for building a competitive food production in Sweden.
Insight No. 1 which is the basis for this initiative
Residual flows are an unused resource but can be utilised for the innovative development of food production and sustainable environments.
With the help of residual flows from neighbouring farmers, quality-sorted food waste from the municipality, and carbon dioxide, we can build a completely new and competitive circular food production of primary products such as fish and vegetables.
Insight No. 2 which is the basis for this initiative
Circular onshore farms are an efficient and competitive industry, and are very beneficial for Sweden as they:
- creates new competitive jobs of both simple and more qualified skills;
- produce sustainable locally produced food;
- recycle residual flows of different types depending on the location and conditions;
- use existing Swedish infrastructure; and
- create great environmental values through industrial land-based food production systems.
Insight No. 3 which is the basis for this initiative
Ljusdal has very good conditions for obtaining a competitive large-scale circular food production, including available land planned for this purpose with possibilities for large expansion.
Today, more than half of the world’s population live in cities and the urban population is growing at an increasingly faster pace. Therefore, feeding the global population is an increasing concern, as is the need for increased food production and employing the urban population. One hundred years ago, 70% of Sweden’s population worked in food production, specifically in the countryside. The corresponding figure today is 2%. Parallel to this development there has been a migration to the city, and Sweden is one of the world’s most urbanised countries, with 85% of the population in urban areas. Furthermore, the food supply since the mid-1900s has undergone a significant change from a national to a global base, which in turn has enabled a scale of unprecedented proportions, both in the concentration of production and of ownership constellations.
Sweden yesterday and today
With regard to food production Sweden was self-sufficient until after World War II. For years after the war it was understood that Sweden would be able to feed its population. However, since the early 1970s, this situation has fundamentally changed. Today, over 50% of the food we eat in Sweden is imported and the trend is increasing at an explosive pace towards a decreased self-sufficiency. Economically, the situation is somewhat better than in real terms and because of that Swedish food production is increasingly focusing on exports of processed high-priced food.
Closed industrial systems provide great opportunities to take advantage of surplus energy, organic waste and nutrients from industry and cities. These may then be used in food production and create circular systems simultaneously with the creation of new jobs. Through increased closed-loop systems for production and space-efficient methods, it is possible to reduce the need for land for food production, while control, predictability and sensitivity to external factors such as weather, climate change, environmental changes, and more can be reduced.
The three components included in a circular system
Aquaculture in closed systems
Aquaculture is dominated by so-called open systems, which is water that is supplied from one source and then out of the system to a recipient without being reused. How much of the water that is changed is regulated by the amount of culturing organisms per unit volume, species, intensity of cultivation, and water. The development is driven towards more closed-loop systems and the need to save water by reusing the same water after purification. This development of more of these systems provides, in addition to greater control of the actual production, greater freedom in the location of fish farms, which can then be placed close to the consumer or other resources such as waste heat.
The importance of horticulture in the world’s food supply is extremely large and growing. For example, starch bananas, cassava, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, and peas are the staple food for a large number of the world’s population and crucial for human survival .
Horticulture in Sweden does not need much arable land for its production. If one excludes potato production, the surface area used today is not much more than 20,000 hectares. This industry is developing rapidly towards larger, more rational and more environmentally friendly production systems, which are in turn becoming more intense and closed . The industry may be involved in developing industrial symbiotic food and supply systems close to towns, and can help to exploit food waste, excess heat, excess carbon dioxide, and infrastructure (underutilised district heating systems) even further. Above all, the industry can employ many more people, as it has a need for both trained staff and those with relatively low levels of education.
Feed from residual currents
Today, almost 30-70% of the world’s fertile land is used to produce animal feed, wherein soy, corn and cereals dominate. This corresponds to almost 40% of our food production. Accordingly, nearly one-third of our marine catches is used for animal feed. To find alternative feed for our farmed animals that are not based on food is one of our most important global challenges.
Part of this challenge is to secure future food supply and enable animal production to resume its role in a sustainable adaptable food production. This is possible today, and can also create great economic synergies.
The integration of the three areas
The objective is to achieve a truly sustainable and closed system called aquaponics. In this system fish farming is combined with the cultivation of vegetables or other plants, wherein the plants recover excess nutrients from the fish farm. Cleaned water can then be reused within the fish farm, ultimately substantially reducing the environmental impact for the overall system.