One of the central activities of the FUSILLI project is the establishment of 12 Living Labs in 12 different cities. The main goal of these “laboratories” is to create local food-related city plans to achieve an integrated and safe as well as holistic transition to healthy, sustainable, safe, more inclusive, and cost-efficient food systems.
The Living Lab in Rijeka has several main topics to address. It wishes to define key challenges related to food waste and food sharing and provides guidance and instructions to link excessive food waste with insufficient food donations. It aims to create nutrition plans for different social groups (with a focus on the inclusion of vulnerable groups), as well as the creation of curricula and the organization of healthy eating workshops for different groups of citizens. Most importantly it focuses on citizens, with particular attention to pensioners and socially vulnerable populations as disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of people.
As an effort to create a broad network of stakeholders which are already involved with serving the needs of socially vulnerable people that can participate in the work of Rijeka’s Living Lab, the city welcomes many initiatives that raise awareness on these issues.
One of those initiatives is “One night under the stars”. An event organized by Depaul Croatia, a non-profit organization working with the homeless. This action aims to point out to the citizens the everyday life of homelessness and bring the unpleasant experience of the homeless, who are forced to spend time in vehicles, on the streets, in parks, abandoned buildings and similar places that are not intended for housing. Citizens are invited to spend a night with the homeless, in conditions that are unfortunately normal for them.
In December 2022 this event took place once more, with many citizens joining the initiative. They have shown solidarity, spending the night in less than favorable conditions.
Meals for the participants and the homeless was cooked by prominent Rijeka chef Deni Srdoč, head chef of the Nebo restaurant at the Hilton hotel: paving the way for the hospitality sector into dealing with issues like donating food, food surplus distribution, etc.
Similar to campaigns that have taken place in 60 cities around the world, Depaul Croatia has been organizing sleeping outdoors or in abandoned spaces on the first weekend of December for several years as a symbolic and solidarity act with homeless people. This organization has been operating in Rijeka for more than five years and is related to the teachings of St. Vinko Paulski and the Sisters of Mercy from Rijeka who run the House of Refuge.
Although the event itself is not directly financed by the FUSILLI project, it gathers the stakeholders of the FUSILLI project and is an integral part of the effort to connect different stakeholders, present significant initiatives and map the entire spectrum of initiatives aimed at the above-mentioned goals of the City of Rijeka in the FUSILLI project.