Recent systemic shocks (health, climate, biodiversity, conflict) have raised questions about how cities can build more resilient food systems. Building resilience requires looking at food systems within a wider, urban-rural framing, while addressing interconnected issues such as water, energy and mobility.
At such a turning point, we need holistic, integrated approaches, and we need to rebalance power farmers’ and consumers’ position in the food value chain. Now is the time to build fairer, more resilient food supply chains.
Public food procurement can directly influence food production patterns. Through the use of procurement criteria, public authorities can create a market for local and small farmers, support the transition towards organic and other agroecological practices, and help preserve biodiversity.
- ICLEI has worked for over 20 years with cities and international partners to promote minimum standards for sustainable food procurement, including on organic products.
- ICLEI co-leads together with FAO the One Planet Network Interest Group on Sustainable Food Procurement, which supports the development and implementation of ambitious food procurement policies for sustainable food systems.
- ICLEI leads the Public Food Procurement Taskforce as part of the EU Food Policy Coalition, a coalition of 60+ European civil society organizations advocating for an effective transition to sustainable food systems.
- ICLEI Europe runs the EU-wide Buy Better Food campaign (BBF), funded by the European Climate Foundation, which calls on EU, national and local policy makers to use public food procurement to fight biodiversity loss and soil degradation.
- In its SchoolFood4Change project, ICLEI supports cities in the development of ambitious tenders, calling for 40% of organic products, and helping them monitor progress through dedicated environmental indicators on land use, soil fertility, and biodiversity.
- ICLEI’s recent Manifesto for establishing Minimum Standards for Public Canteens (developed as part of the EU Food Policy Coalition) calls for at least 20% of procured food to be certified as organic, and for agro-ecological practices to be scaled up across the EU.
Recent disruptions in food supply chains have highlighted how interconnected - and fragile - countries, regions and cities are. They have also raised increasing awareness about the negative social, economic, health and environmental side effects of globalized food chains. To build city resilience, we need to support shorter food value chains and to reshape rural-urban linkages through food, taking into consideration the energy-water-mobility-food nexus.
- Through its AfriFOODLinks project, ICLEI will enhance urban-rural linkages by improving access to finance for micro, small and medium enterprises - including in local food markets.
- ICLEI’s work on social innovation and food sharing aims to enhance urban-rural linkages through knowledge and skills sharing as well as stronger local food supply chains.
- ICLEI strongly believes in the power of wholesale markets to create stronger urban-rural linkages. This topic is central to ICLEI’s South Asia office.
- ICLEI actively advocates for legislation changes to promote shorter food supply chains and support small farmers, such as in Europe with the EU Farm to Fork Strategy.
- Together with IFOAM Organics International, CityFood explores synergies between bioregions and cities.
- Through the annual#AfricanCITYFOODmonthcampaign, every July, ICLEI invites city leaders and food stakeholders to highlight diverse, innovative and evolving African urban food systems.
Extended food value chains and power imbalances make it difficult for farmers to access markets and earn a decent income. Farmers are often in a weak position in the value chain and lack bargaining power. At the same time, many consumers want to support local farmers and choose healthy, sustainably produced food. Food markets have the potential to be place-based catalysts for sustainable food system change, to rebalance farmers’ position in the food value chain and reconnect them to consumers.
- ICLEI actively participates in COACH, an EU-funded project which aims to facilitate collaboration between farmers, consumers and local governments to scale up short agri-food chains and create win-wins for producers and consumers.
- ICLEI’s recent Manifesto for establishing Minimum Standards for Public Canteens (developed as part of the EU Food Policy Coalition) calls for greater market engagement and stakeholder dialogues to better connect farmers and public institutions.
- Slow Food, a long term partner of ICLEI, launched the Earth Markets project to create market opportunities for small-scale producers and facilitate dialogue between producers and consumers.
- Through its AfriFOODLinks project, ICLEI will help small entrepreneurs access finance to secure decent incomes for producers and healthy, sustainable food for consumers.