Copenhagen's organic food revolution

From having to settle for pre-cooked meals citizens are now served up to 90 per cent organic food.

Lord Mayor Frank Jensen (Soc.Dem.) calls the result a historical lift to the city’s core welfare.

Today, 23 May, the 1,750 kitchen staff of Copenhagen are cheered at the City Hall of Copenhagen. They are praised, because they since 2007 have taken the lead in the ambition to turn Copenhagen 90 per cent organic. A new assessment shows that the majority of the more than 900 municipal kitchens today serve 90 per cent organic food, and in some places the ratio of organic food is even higher. That especially goes for nurseries, kindergartens and the large “EAT” kitchen, which every day feeds the city’s public school students more than 6,000 portions of healthy and freshly prepared food.

So now, Copenhagen is not only one of the world’s best cities for cyclists, and on route to be the world’s first carbon neutral capital in 2025. It is also a green frontrunner when it comes to the food it serves its citizens. 

Copenhagen’s kitchens purchase 11 tons of foodstuff every year, but the high ratio of organics has not led to costlier purchasing. Instead of spending more, new ideas have thrived – while before bags of frozen goods and semi-finished products were simply cut open and poured into pots, today, food is cooked from scratch whenever possible. The bread is home-baked and the cucumbers are pickled by hand, which is far cheaper than purchasing them as finished goods. At the same time, the kitchens allow vegetables to take up more room replacing meat, they buy produce by the season – and, not least, everyone works with a dedication to avoiding food waste.

Lord Mayor Frank Jensen will later today host the 1,750 kitchen staff, when they are celebrated at the City Hall of Copenhagen.

“The transition to organic living is fully in the line with the green profile that we have in Copenhagen. The City of Copenhagen is a large player in the edibles area, and by setting the standard on organics, we protect the environment and help to ensure clean drinking water free of pesticides”, says Frank Jensen.

“But equally important, the high level of ambition has specifically led to a higher quality of life for every citizen, who is dependent every day on food delivery from the City. For me it is absolutely basic core welfare that we are able to serve healthy and tasty food in the City’s schools, nursing homes, shelters, and day-care centres. Those employees, who completed this tabletop revolution, deserve great recognition for it”, says the Lord Mayor.

FACTS: Copenhagen’s organic advances

  • In 2007, the City Council unanimously decided that all foods purchased by the City of Copenhagen would be 90 per cent organic by the end of 2015. At that point in time, the City’s ratio of organics was 51 per cent.
  • The transition from conventional to organic food has taken place within the existing budgets of the kitchens. In other words, no further funds have been allocated to the kitchens to purchase the more expensive organic goods.
  • By cooking from scratch, buying goods in season, reducing food waste, and using less meat it has been possible to increase the organics ratio within existing budgets.
  • Today, the majority of the approx. 900 kitchens in the City are 90 per cent organic – and in some places, the ratio of organic food is even higher. That goes for nurseries, kindergartens and the large “EAT” kitchen, which all have an overall organics ratio above 90.
  • Today, the City’s total organics ratio stands at 88 per cent.
  • Given the total ratio, the Municipality of Copenhagen is the most organic municipality in Denmark. At most, other municipalities have an organics ratio of 60 per cent.