Helsinki: Food In The Boom

Helsinki recently updated its food strategy. Old market halls are re‐invented and local creative minds of the food culture are planning ahead towards World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 and beyond. 

Helsinki schools, day-cares and elderly homes will enjoy 50 percent local produce. A shopping mall turned into a host of clever food market in the middle of the city where you should taste a healthy morning porridge or listen to the ambient music played for potatoes, just to let them feel extra good.

During Summer 2011 Lapin Kulta Solar Kitchen toured in Helsinki turning the power of sun to food for people. New small-scale food shops, winebars, breweries, bakeries, food-vans and cityfarmers are all building good and green to the urban scene: food is everywhere.

One of the most interesting future food scenes is Tukkutori Whole Sale Market, an industrial wholesale area just outside Helsinki city-center, which is to become the new local food hub, opened for public and events in September 2012. Building work for new, high-quality food processing facilities is underway and mixed-use developments are springing up around the area.

In May 2011 Helsinki arranged its first unofficial Restaurant Day, an initiative by the locals for the love of food, who wanted to open their own pop up restaurants, cafes or kiosks despite the city’s official regulations and restrictions. Anyone could open a restaurant, anywhere, and regardless what the rules say. It became a success; a sandwich bar serving bread in a basket from a third floor apartment window, a Forager Baker kitchen where everyone could make their own pizza from fresh picked ingredients in a stone oven and a Soup King serving soup and advising its customers to buy plates in the nearby flea. Restaurant Day was organised through a Facebook event and food was literally popping everywhere; in the streets, parks, clothing shops as well as Helsinki homes. Restaurant Day is something out of the ordinary and is now arranged four times a year: February, May, August and November.