ActivEco Lab offers to learn how to cook with food leftovers and food surpluses
ActivEco Lab has been designed and coordinated by the Centro Idea of the municipality of Ferrara, in collaboration with civic associations: Unione Cuochi Estensi (Chef Union of Ferrara), Bibliocucina and Offcina Dinamica.
In 2015 and 2016, three laboratories were dedicated to the issue of food waste in 4 hour kitchen classes for 20 participants each. The first laboratory («Karmafood»), in collaboration with the cultural association Officina Dinamica, dealt with the reuse of leftovers. The second («Creative ideas against food waste»), handled by the Unioni Cuochi Estensi had the goal of teaching about the use of ingredients that people commonly consider waste, such as peelings and leaves. The third («Cooks factory»), held again by Unione Cuochi Estensi, was dedicated to an ecological Christmas lunch menu.
In Europe, a massive part of food waste is produced at home, so a practical action dedicated towards citizens is a good way to address the problem, with long term results and a general cultural change in the participants. The kitchen classes are a very powerful tool to modify behaviours and spread a different culture on food matters.

Resources needed

Volunteers, coordination, municipal staffs.
The cost of the ActivEcoLab ranges between €500-€1,000 per year depending on the number of courses and teachers.

Evidence of success

70% of participants are convinced or fully convinced that what they learned will make their lifestyle more sustainable, 80% of respondents are convinced or fully convinced that they will use what they learned in daily life. On average it’s estimated that an Italian family throws away €300 of food per year. Learning how to reduce food waste in the kitchen generates a significant saving of money for households and helps to reduce the cost of municipal organic waste treatment

Potential for learning or transfer

ActivEco Lab has generated a big interest among ECOWASTE4FOOD partners and has inspired a pilot action in Devon (UK).

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Main institution
City of Ferrara
Emilia-Romagna, Italy (Italia)
Start Date
January 2015
End Date


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