This is a translation of this article published in: http://agriculturadecatalunya.blogspot.com.es/2016/01/lalimentacio-lagenda-de-les-ciutats.html
The last 15th of October, Barcelona City Council signed, jointly with 116 city councils around the World (Amsterdam, Genève, London, Madrid, New York, Windhoek and Osaka), Milan Urban Food Policy Pact. This pact was framed in the EXPO Milan 2015.
Is the food a systemic service?
The aim of this pact is to achieve that the cities develop their own sustainable food systems. This pact recommends 37 actions; these are divided in six main areas: governance, nutrition, social and economical equities, food production, food chain and food waste. According to Louis Malassis (1996), food systems are the way that men are organized for obtain and consume their food.
Some cities around the world have begun to introduce the food in their political agenda, with the aim to promote that the citizens can eat a healthy diet and avoid the food deserts. Other objectives are to reduce obesity rates and other illness related with a bad nutrition (diabetes and cardiovascular diseases)
Can the municipalities solve it?
There are some cities that they have included the nutrition in their local agenda. This policy reflects feeding within the food system concept. This system includes: food production (vegetables and livestock), food processing, food chains (wholesale and retail markets), food cooking, food consumption and their recycling, and very important in the Catalonia context, economical connection between rural and urban areas.
This multidisciplinary approach is based on cross policies that affect together different vectors related to food, such as agriculture, health, architecture, engineering, planning, education and the social media. All of them must work together.
It is in the productive aspects where farming becomes crucial, and where urban and peri-urban agriculture achieve their prominence, given that most food policies are made from the cities. It is for this reason that these policies emphasize the role of agriculture inside the city and its nearby areas.
Import models of urban agriculture from Canadian cities, North-American cities and British cities is often complicated, given that our towns (Catalonia, Spain) are dense, compact, with little space and an unfavourable legal framework.
All models of food systems are agree in that food production is the main function of the suburban agricultural areas, and its main attributes are sustainability, proximity, resilience and food security. These principles are generally accepted, but the real success of these initiatives can only be achieved if you know how the cities are fed, and therefore, what is the significance of territorial aspects.
This means that food policies are considered in the spatial planning and urban planning, that a coordination between all levels of public administration exists, that there is a will or interest of all stakeholders, that there are campaigns to promote local products and producers, that the change of model to agriculture intended for local markets is incentivized, that the consumption of local products, either privately or collective food services is promoted. We should profit by this social debate and political commitment to start implementing policies that promote this vision of food from the cities.