Photo by Moritz Schmid

Feeding the Future: Innovating Urban Food Systems

This event marked another successful step in Swissnex's commitment to fostering dialogue, collaboration, and innovation on the global stage.

Basel, October 24, 2023

“What I take away from this event is that it is important to look at the complexity of the topic future of food locally, and work on solutions globally”
Sophie Schumacher, University of Basel

Swissnex in San Francisco continued its anniversary event series with an exploration of the future of food. Under the theme “Feeding the Future: Innovating Urban Food Systems,” the event brought together over 100 guests, and shared diverse perspectives from Switzerland and the Bay Area, delving into the latest advancements and solutions for a more sustainable urban food system.

State Secretary Martina Hirayama set the tone for the evening with words of inspiration, noting Switzerland’s continuous recognition as the world’s most innovative country. She emphasized the nation as a breeding ground for brilliant minds quietly shaping the world. Our CEO, Emilia Pasquier, urged attendees to channel the bold spirit of Switzerland from two decades ago when the country made the courageous decision to establish an innovation outpost, now known as Swissnex.

To infuse the Basel gathering with Bay Area insights, Ricardo San Martin, Director of Alternative Meats Lab at UC Berkeley, challenged conventional thinking about plant-based foods. “Food is culture. Food is what defines us. There is no one size fits all,” he asserted, prompting attendees to reconsider their approach in light of evolving culinary landscapes.

The event transitioned to breakout sessions and a panel discussion featuring a diverse group of food innovators:

The discussions ranged from cutting-edge research to entrepreneurial endeavors, providing a comprehensive view of the innovative strides being made in the realm of food sustainability.

The key takeaway, as eloquently expressed by Sophie Schumacher from the University of Basel, is the importance of examining the complexity of the future of food locally while working on solutions globally. As we continue to navigate the complexities of our food systems, these conversations become essential in shaping a more sustainable and inclusive future for us all.

A special thank you goes to our guests and contributors who made the event possible, including the Innovation Office University of Basel and kühne wicki / Future Stuff. The event was sponsored by Swiss Life Asset Managers and received support from, Cluster Food & Nutrition, Future City Alliance (SmartCity Alliance & CityZen), Innovation Booster Swiss Smart Cities, Innovation Booster Swiss Food Ecosystems, Swiss Food & Nutrition Valley, and Swiss Food Research.

The evening was captured by Moritz Schmid.


Meet The Metropolis Projects

Metropolis creates a space for visionary ideas to emerge by connecting dreamers and doers from both Switzerland and the Bay Area to co-create practical solutions for the future’s most pressing issues. For one week in early November 2023, Pier 17 will turn into an Urban Futures Lab, where participants receive targeted support in exploring the US landscape and thinking big.

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Out now: The Anniversary Season

In our anniversary season we share the stories of selected Swiss innovators, that play an active role in co-creating the future. Listen as they share why they do and what they do, what challenges they've faced and what's next on their audacious journey to change the world.