MFC refreshing

Research overview

This research aims to find new and optimized combinations of chains to be applied in new or existing Metropolitan Food Clusters (MFCs). In this context, an MFC is a network of combinations of producers, agribusinesses and knowledge institutions that are interconnected and have built value networks addressing common challenges and pursuing common opportunities. These combinations are of importance to keep feeding the ever-growing population in urban areas. In order to increase the overall efficiency of MFCs and to create ideas for new MFCs, this research will use a stakeholder analysis to identify important actors. A major part of this study will focus on the creative process in which new combinations of chains and possibly areas are brainstormed. Consequently, these ideas will be listed and the most promising few investigated in more depth to check their feasibility based on People, Planet, Profit.  


This was be done by a team of 5 Master students with expertise’s ranging from Management and Economics, to Environmental Policy, Farm Technology and Urban Agriculture. A combined of 900 hours were spent, the final due date was 19th of October 2017.

Review from the WMFC team

This was the first Academic Consultancy Training project that WMFC had. The goal was to explore promising combinations to extend MFC agri-food systems. Starting from the initial ideas from the WMFC team, the ACT team had a thoroughly case study on eight previous MFC projects in Mexico, Singapore, China, and the Netherlands. After that, literature review, interviews, reflections, and brainstorms were conducted. In the end, two major potential chains were suggested that can further enhance the sustainability and industry ecology of MFC agri-food systems.



Duckweed and hemp were introduced into the dairy production and processing chain. They are not been considered as feed but also as bedding material and as a part of water treatment process. Such MFCow chain, also has the potential to integrate with the production and processing chains of aqua, pigs, poultry, or industry targeting at pet and human market.


To explore further, WMFC had another ACT project to explore the possibilities of feeding cows with algae (read more).



This is a chain focuses on fish, insects, and algae. Insects and algae can process waste streams and, in the meanwhile, to supply fish production with feed materials. Fish is the main product, but there is also the potential of colorant production. Insect production also can link to other production chains, such as fertilizer or food industry for pet and human.


To explore further, WMFC had another ACT project to explore the potential of implementing insects in Singapore (read more).


Overall, the team deepened the initial ideas from WMFC. Even though some aspects in their suggestions need further elaboration or thinking, such as the biosecurity issues in such industrial ecology model. These suggestions offered us nice directions for further research. The goal is to keep the MFC concept growing towards updated technologies and sustainable development.

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