What are the main challenges?
2GETHER focus on linking the use of full potential of blue-green resources and waste in a sustainable, circular and convergence research approach. The main challenges relate to the ambiguity of food sustainability, reducing blue-green food loss and waste, and how to add value to the resources. How should a vital circular economy based on valorisation of residuals be arranged, in a way that both blue and green economies are adapted to innovation? How should we in the future move from waste to feed to food by reusing of both green and blue residuals to promote sustainable food consumption and facilitating the shift to sustainable diets. Challenges arise when studying food quality, food safety, tastes, flavours, and regulations related to e.g., toxicity and pathogens when new blue and green resources are in play. Further, key considerations are posed on individual behaviour change that will potentially allow for advancement of the adoption of new foods fashioned by blue-green interaction.
The ability to add value to residuals is illustrated by e.g., blue resources and side streams such as shellfish, jellyfish, seaweeds, and small pelagic fishes that can be used as bio stimulants, micro and mineral rich super fertilizers, organic fertilizers, for soil quality improvement, and as a sustainable protein source. In addition, using blue resources can aid in moving aquaculture and sea farming on land.
One way to rethink the use of food waste and other potentially useful forms of biomass produced in the agricultural sector are through use of different blue and green biological environments to add value to different waste and by-products. Different invertebrates, bacteria and fungi are examples of this, and can utilize both blue and green resources as growth substrates, that are otherwise of low value or lost, to produce e.g., protein relevant in both blue and green economies. They can thus link use of both blue and green resources together.
The success of blue-green innovations is contingent on discovering the right combination of product qualities that match market demands.
Current resources in the HUB include experimental sites and pilot plant for different biological systems, as well as chemistry/ biotech labs for testing valuable ingredients, and biorefineries for extracting and fractionating biomolecules. Socioeconomic living labs alongside the supply chains, and feed and food production labs are also represented in the HUB. Cognition and Behavior Lab is also an asset of HUB 2GETHER that has necessary infrastructure for studying human behavior, interaction, and thinking, such as labs for sensory and experimental research, equipment as eye-tracking, VR, EEG, psychophysiology, and other resources the researchers need to conduct controlled behavioural experiments.
The HUB expects to be able to characterise the efficient use of blue-green waste and resources from farm to fork, through convergence research approach. In addition, the goal is to identify links between use of friendly blue-green resources and waste using an iterative approach. HUB 2GETHER also aims to identify best practices for sustainability-related behaviour change and its adoption that could be further implemented into demand-side policies. Finally, the HUB work should facilitate policy advice on the macro, meso, and micro level.