Wednesday 24 September, 18:00
Participants networked while enjoying wine and canapés at the end of the first day at a welcome reception. Tours of the city began immediately after the reception ends.
Thursday 25 September, 19:30
On 25 September, the City of Ghent provided participants with a vegetarian culinary experience produced by top chefs Nicolas Decloedt, Kevin Storms and Philippe Van den Bulck. The three chefs are Flanders trendsetters in vegetarian cooking, each with a distinct vision and style. The three are united in their desire to make vegetarian gastronomy more accessible, and their strong preference for simple, accessible and local products. The meal was prepared and served by the staff of Duet, a catering company that helps to integrate people into the workforce through providing training in the food industry.
The date of the meal fell on “Thursday Veggie Day” a pioneering initiative supported by the City of Ghent and started by EVA, Belgium’s biggest vegetarian organisation and partner of the EcoProcura 2014 Conference. Ghent was one of the first cities in the world to officially encourage citizens to adopt a vegetarian diet on at least one day of the week.
Held in breathtaking surroundings, the Augustinian Monastery, this memorable dining experience combined art, sustainability and health. It is hoped that the sumptuous meal inspired participants to embrace the potential of vegetarian cooking in their own regions.
Tours of Ghent
Following the Welcome Reception on 24 September, participants were invited to take one of three unique tours to discover more about the city of Ghent.
Architecture and culinary tour: A walking tour showcased Ghent's architectural future. Renowned architects are changing the face of the city, with modern buildings taking their places among medieval towers and facades. The tour concluded with beer-tasting at the celebrated Gruut Brewery, where the local speciality is brewed with spices instead of hops.
Boat tour to Design Museum Ghent: Participants embarked on an eco-friendly electric boat trip on the canals of Ghent to the exhibition ‘No Design to Waste’ at the Design Museum Ghent, which presents the biggest clean-up project in history. Our oceans are filled with tonnes of plastic. This exhibition took a closer look to how floating barriers concentrate the debris, and how the plastic can be extracted efficiently.
Historical tour: The city's gems in the old town were explored in this tour including the historic town hall, Gravensteen Castle, the canals and wharves of the Graslei and Korenlei and the medieval alleys of Patershol. The city's modern face was not neglected, as the tour stopped at the new city hall designed by architects Robert & Daem.