EIT Food gets massive funding boost to improve food security in Europe

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Lasting change comes through building solutions with and for local communities, which is why EIT Food has put co-creation at the heart of the Ample Program. Pic: GettyImages
Lasting change comes through building solutions with and for local communities, which is why EIT Food has put co-creation at the heart of the Ample Program. Pic: GettyImages

Related tags EIT Food Food security low-income communities Citi Foundation philanthropy HFSS co-creation

The world’s largest agrifood community is among the raft of recipients to receive grants from the Citi Foundation’s first-ever Global Innovation Challenge - a new model to identify philanthropic support to community organisations that are developing innovative solutions to overcome the social and economic challenges facing low-income communities.

The inaugural Global Innovation Challenge is providing up to $25m to 50 community organisations working to strengthen the financial health of disavantaged families and communities around the world.

The Citi Foundation launched a global Request for proposals (RFP) in February, receiving over 1,000 submissions across 80 countries. The chosen organisations will each receive $500,000 to support programmes across four key areas: food access, availability, affordability and community resilience.

EIT Food Ample Program

Community food, multiracial people around a table sharing a meal Getty
Pic: GettyImages

The grant awarded to EIT Food will be used to kickstart the Ample Program, a social innovation and enterprise project to co-create interventions with marginalised communities to improve access to and affordability of food.

The initiative will take place over 24 months - running from 2 October to 31 September 2025 - in two European cities and will involve working with local partners to help entrepreneurs access tools, training and funds for food-related businesses.

The initiative is aligned to Citi Foundation’s ambition to do ‘More than Philanthropy’ by creating genuine business development opportunities generated by the communities themselves to create lasting improvements.

The three core elements of Community, Business and Learning support each other to create an effective city-based intervention to improve access to and affordability of food, leading to improved health outcomes, increased food sovereignty and ultimately, improved food security.

The first of the two cities will be Madrid in Spain, where EIT is targeting interventions that include:

  • Working with existing collaborative spaces where (1) food is grown and/or prepared; (2) create new businesses; and (3) sell products and/or services.
  • Tackling the challenge of affordability to scale healthier alternatives to products high in fats, salt and sugar (HFSS).
  • Supporting local entrepreneurs to create new employment opportunities.

“The Citi Foundation's Global Innovation Challenge is designed to help new ideas grow and increase their impact,”​ said Pedro López-Quesada, president of Citi in Spain.

“EIT Food will help us in our commitment to make a positive impact in the communities where we work, providing their experience in finding solutions that can change lives and strengthen the health of disadvantaged groups.”

The experience of the Madrid programme will be used to create a blueprint for a second pilot in another European city. It is also expected that on-the-ground insights gained will be used to empower other communities, groups, cities and funding bodies to collaborate on effective interventions.

A catalyst for lasting change

Feeding the hungry BravissimoS
Pic: GettyImages

“We are delighted to be a recipient of the Citi Foundation Global Innovation Challenge, and to announce the launch of the Ample Program to work with marginalised communities to co-create solutions to improve access to healthy, affordable food,” ​said Jayne Brookman, chief partnership officer for EIT Food, which is supported by the EU’s European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).

“We know that lasting change comes through building solutions with and for local communities, which is why we have designed a programme that puts co-creation at its heart.

“It is only by working to empower communities that we will be able to build a future-fit food system that meets the needs of everyone.”

Added Begoña Perez Villarreal, director, EIT Food South, “We are excited to take this initiative forward from our Southern office and extend our commitment to creating social impact through our projects.

“It’s truly a pleasure to collaborate on the Ample Program and contribute to enhancing food accessibility for vulnerable communities in Madrid."

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