Little girl

Healthy People

CityFood aims to make healthy food accessible and affordable to all - both in and around cities.

So called food deserts, where access to fresh foods is challenging, make nutritious food choices almost impossible. Yet, most non-communicable diseases are preventable through healthier diets, food education and adequate physical exercise. For instance, healthy school meals for every child in every school are a low-hanging fruit to contribute to social equity. At the same time, our planet can hardly afford more meat production and the challenge is how to shift to more traditional, plant-based based and delicious food consumption.


        Implementing public purchasing policies that favor fresh, seasonal and nutritious food supports health and environmental benefits. Healthier societies, in turn, decrease the pressure on public healthcare systems.


        • ICLEI has worked for over 20 years with cities and international partners to promote minimum standards for sustainable food procurement.
        • 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 leverage the potential of public food procurement for positive change.
        • ICLEI leads SchoolFood4Change, a 12 million euro EU-funded project that will impact over 600,000 children  in 12 countries through innovative public tenders.
        • ICLEI makes concrete proposals to policymakers - such as the recent Manifesto for establishing Minimum Standards for Public Canteens and Petition asking the European Commission for action on sustainable food procurement as part of its Farm to Fork Strategy and School Food Scheme.

        Why? Dietary behaviors are strongly dependent on geographical, socio-economic, gender and cultural differences. Tackling the root causes of such behaviors - i.e. food environments - is key. To enable consumers to make informed food choices and ensure no one is left behind, innovative tools and food-sensitive strategies and design are needed. 



        • ICLEI develops community-based solutions to accelerate a just transition to healthier and more sustainable dietary behaviors as part of the FEAST project.
        • The SchoolFood4Change project - which ICLEI leads - aims to improve children’s food environments by promoting food education, actively involving pupils in school meals, and ensuring healthy food is available in the schools’ surrounding areas.
        • ICLEI works closely with different stakeholders in the food system - from academics to consumers and the food industry - to improve food retail and hospitality environments. Through the development of food sensitive planning tools and real-life interventions, as part of the FOODCLIC project, ICLEI directly contributes to place-based policy-making aiming at making food environments healthy and accessible to all.

        Why? Food systems actors and challenges transcend geographical boundaries and require holistic, collective responses. Better coordinating urban food policy and planning from local to national level is key to avoid siloed and fragmented action and to share capacities, expertise and resources. Such approaches are particularly needed in a context of growing food insecurity and climate change, which call for coordinated management of food supply chains and emergency food planning.



        • In partnership with FAO, ICLEI organized sixteen Urban Food Systems Dialogues, bringing together more than 26 local governments and about 1000 stakeholders on the road to the United Nations Food Systems Summit 2021.
        • ICLEI works closely with FAO and GAIN as part of the Secretariat of the Urban Food Systems Coalition, which aims to facilitate multi-level food governance between national and local governments.