Francesca Miazzo - Co-Founder of FOODLOGICA

I find someone that shares my enthusiasm and we commit one day per week to the idea, for as long as it takes to get it running. It is a simple method, which has been working very well.

Francesca Miazzo is the managing director and co-founder of CITIES Foundation. Originally from Italy, Francesca is based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where 
she completed a Research Masters in Metropolitan Studies. Francesca manages and coordinates
 CITIES’ multiple projects, initiatives, events and studies. She continues managing several global urban research studies on industrial renewal, food and the city, polycentric development and urban waste upcycling. She has been active in several local interventions related to the above- mentioned themes, designing various urban-related processes. Examples are the global platform and publication Farming the City, the workshop series Pop-Up Farm, the movie format CITOPIA, the Old
 City Food Tour, the sustainable transport business Foodlogica and the WASTED laboratory for neighborhood plastic upcycling. She just finished her second work as a book co-editor (Farming the City, 2013 and We Own The City, 2014). Francesca is the founder and strategist of FOODLOGICA, which is CITIES Foundation’s first fully commercial activity.

Where did the idea for FOODLOGICA come from?

We (CITIES FOUNDATION) have been working on the analysis of the relationship between urban development and the food cycle through an extensive umbrella initiative called Farming the City. We have discovered that both at the local and global scale most of the innovations/awareness focuses on food production and consumption; therefore, we asked: what about transport? Following up on this premise of a gap in the chain of sustainable local food consumption, we have been analyzing how young sustainable food brands transport their products in Amsterdam. The results are summarized in a video, which can be seen here. In short, we saw a problem: when consuming local food, local congestion and pollution are actually increased. This is a problematic paradox, and FOODLOGICA is our attempt at bringing about a solution.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I wake up around 7:30/8:00, bike 5 km with my dog to the studio, and there I basically write emails, applications and plans, and talk to people for anywhere between 8-11 hours/day, accordingly. Every day, there are different people coming to the studio and working on different projects of CITIES FOUNDATION. This is really inspiring, challenging and time consuming, but it is what we do, and we don’t know how to do it differently. I also often take some time to go to the park with the dog, which is good for both of us. Sometimes I go to Yoga after work; sometimes I go for a drink. Most of the time I spend my evening on the couch with my man and my dog watching anything we like coming from the Web. Easy. I try to eat as local as possible, of course. I am very productive by nature, I need to find a way to slow down, and this is a current “New Year’s resolution”, which I did not manage to implement yet.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I find someone that shares my enthusiasm and we commit one day per week to the idea, for as long as it takes to get it running. It is a simple method, which has been working very well.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

Re-industrialization of the western world. I want to see us making products again, and I’m not talking about 3-D printing, I mean to find the way to reuse our resources to produce products, consume them, and produce them again, keeping the loop as local as possible.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I guess I really, really love everything I do, and I select people around me in order to spend pleased days, having pleasant conversations and respecting each other. More practically, I force myself to get stuck in the working routine. Also, there are days when you are not as productive as others. That’s OK; we are not machines. It is important to perform at the right moment.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I was still living in Italy and “working” as an intern for a local environmental protection agency. I learnt about bribery, unfaithfulness, dirty politics, feminism, machismo and nepotism. I learnt I had to go abroad and work on something that would make me happy, and proud.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I would have left Italy earlier, and taken a more business-oriented major.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

It sounds obvious, but I recommend taking high risks. This comes from my father, who is also an entrepreneur, and told me to never put myself down, and that I’m able to do anything.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Communication is key. We have experience in communicating our service for the general framework of CITIES FOUNDATION. This helped for FOODLOGICA as well.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

FOODLOGICA was born as a big, big failure. In 2013, we were entering the magic world of “circular economies”, and we got hyper excited about this concept. So we decided that FOODLOGICA would not only be a zero-emission logistic service for local food companies that runs on off-grid solar energy, but also a tool to bring “food surplus” to the food bank, and “coffee leftovers” to mushroom makers. Magnificent concept on paper, impossible implementation plan, especially at the start-up phase. We got completely stuck; as inexperienced business developers, we did not know where to start.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Locally sourced plastic products factory. (I’m working on this concept myself at the moment, but I believe there is space for many more.)

Tell us something about you that very few people know?

Why?

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

I use BASECAMP, it made the management of many projects and people much more open and organized.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I’m currently reading Michel Houellebecq. There is nothing he says that can be an inspiration for a business idea. However, as he likes to point out himself, he is an acute observer of humanity, which is useful for personal and social growth that contributes to better business.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

First and foremost: my father. In general, I have been building up my thinking pretty much towards a radically critical approach towards many current urban development theories; therefore it is difficult to point at one person that has been inspiring to me. With regard to FOODLOGICA, I must refer to the best entrepreneur I know: Thijl Klerkx – who decided to start his sustainable transport business when he was 16. FOODLOGICA was definitively inspired by this amazing guy.

Connect:

http://foodlogica.com/
http://citiesthemagazine.com/
Cities Foundation on Twitter: @CITIESONLINE
Cities Foundation on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CITIESFOUNDATION
Francesca Miazzo on LinkedIn: http://in.linkedin.com/pub/francesca-miazzo/11/798/912