Global and Local Agendas: The Milan Urban Food Policy Pact and Innovative Sustainable Food Policies in Euro-Latin American Cities
2. Materials and Methods
3.1. The Milan Urban Food Policy Pact: The Beginning of an Urban Commitment
3.2. Comparative Analysis of Sustainable Urban Food Strategies: Madrid, Quito and Valencia
3.2.1. Madrid, Spain
- Main motivations to sign the Milan Food Pact. According to the governmental informant, there were two main motivations: to guarantee the human right to food and to contribute to environmental sustainability (MI1, MI2). These two motivations were intrinsically linked with the main priorities for the city: to create a more sustainable environment through reducing pollution and promoting human rights. However, according to an ecological leader who was interviewed, “Madrid signed the Milan Urban Food Pact because there was a strong ecological movement which pushed the local authorities. Agroecological ideas had been present among social movements in Madrid since the 90s, and finally in 2014, the Platform for Agroecology was created” (MI3). In fact, in 2014, social economy activists as well as agroecology organizations had signed the “Letter for Food Sovereignty in our Municipalities”. In this public proposal, among other actions, the creation of agroecological councils in each city, the sustainable protection of agrarian soils, and support for agricultural employment and sustainable local economic development were claimed.
- Main actors involved in the design and implementation of the urban food policy. During the design and implementation of the food policy, the relevant actors were the local government, the Platform for Agroecology, the Association of Neighborhood Associations, and the FAO’s Spanish Office. Inside the local government, many councils were involved (equity, social rights and employment, health, security and emergencies, and environmental issues and mobility, coordinated by the Council of Territorial Coordination) (MI2, MI2).
- Impact and changes generated after signing MUFPP. After signing the Pact, sustainable and healthy food issues were moved to the center of the political agenda. Until then, there were several actions that were dispersed and not strategically planned (MI1, MI2). In order to follow up on the commitments, a monitoring table was established with the usual participation of all the actors involved.
- Main programs and city projects. The main city hall program around food issues was the Urban Food Strategy (2018–2020), whose design began after engagement with the MUFP, and was finally presented in July 2018. The strategy tried to coordinate previous actions and outline new proposals. Some of those previous actions had been developed by the innovative action of social activists and associations, such as community green gardens and school green gardens, which were later supported by the town hall (MI3, MI4). New innovative mechanisms were introduced to change food dynamics; for example, innovative public procurement was used to include ecological and local food at nursery schools, and social economy was introduced in the local food distribution in two peripherical neighborhoods thanks to the financial support of the MARES project selected as an Urban Innovative Action by the European Commission (MI4) [37,38,39].
3.2.2. Quito, Ecuador
- Main motivations to sign the Milan Food Policy Pact. In Quito, the main motivation to begin being involved in food-related policies was historically to “regulate the spontaneous urban agriculture production and secondly to promote the surplus commercialization” (QI1). According to the FAO , the historical proliferation of urban gardens in Quito can be explained as a spontaneous strategy to access food by the previous waves of internal migration since the 1980s. Since the beginning, those orchards were tolerated by urban planners, and an Urban Participatory Agriculture Program (AGRUPAR) was developed in 2000. In this case, the economical approach of the food policy is more relevant, because AGRUPAR has ben guided by the Metropolitan Agency for Economic Promotion (CONQUITO) since 2005. Therefore, this agency also supervised the urban food strategy.
- Main actors involved in the design and implementation of the urban food policy. Among the actors involved in the elaboration of the urban food strategy in this city, were the universities, the Agriculture Chamber of Zone 1, general consumers, food processing associations, agroecological producers and consumers, the touristic sector, the national government with representation of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Health, and the Pichincha provincial-regional government. The coordination of the process was held by CONQUITO, where there were also two councilors from the Social Responsibility and Shared Value Area, which has the ability to localize the 2030 Agenda. (QI1, QI2).
- Main programs and city projects. The oldest food-related action implemented in Quito was the Urban Participatory Agriculture Program (AGRUPAR), launched in 2000 thanks to the support of the United Nations and other international organizations, located in the El Panecillo neighborhood, in the historical city center (QI1, QI2, QI3). After a long trajectory of AGRUPAR, between 2015 and 2017, Quito was part of an alliance of seven cities called “the City Region Food System Partner Cities”, which was supported by the FAO and the RUAF foundation. This partnership provided the city with a comprehensive diagnosis of its food system, which was the first step of the urban food strategy, which was finally launched in October 2018.
- Impact and changes generated after signing the MUFP. The international partnership and the MUFPP membership (2016) allowed the local authorities to increase the visibility of the food issue in the city. After this, the food question was progressively included in different strategies and programs, until the Agri-Food Strategy was presented in 2018. In this case, the rural and peri-urban relation with the city regarding the food system was clearly a focus of the strategy.
- Specific contribution to food security and nutrition. The main objective of the urban food strategy in Quito is to guarantee food security. This food security is focused not only on food access but also on the quality of food production and the way in which food is consumed. Therefore, sustainable and responsible consumption is relevant, as much as the aim to increase the capacity of production following agroecological, fair trade, and solidarity market practices.
- Perception regarding the impact of the international agenda at the local scale, and the city’s capacity to influence it. In this sense, for the experts in Quito, ever since the MUFPP has been followed by the FAO, it is easier to work locally and internationally with the same agenda. Moreover, food-related problems and food policies have become key elements for local authorities’ networks, such as C40, ICLEI, and UCCI (QI1). This confluence of objectives and approaches among local and global arenas is the best way to implement food strategies, because all efforts are joined (QI3).
3.2.3. Valencia, Spain
- Main motivations to sign the Milan Food Pact. In this case, there were economic and social motivations to sign the Milan Food Pact. The priority of the town hall was to defend and praise the farmer’s role, guaranteeing the economic viability of farms’ production activity. The city of Valencia is situated in the middle of the region called La Huerta (The Orchard) and, therefore, it was a priority to recover the food production and distribution of this area, as well as the heritage of the territory, in order to avoid the loss of knowledge.
- Main actors involved in the design and implementation of the urban food policy. With the arrival of the new local authority, a new Council of Agriculture for The Orchard and the town of Valencia was created in 2015. Other relevant actors involved in this municipal action were several non-governmental associations, such as the local section of Food Justice, and NGOs such as Mundubat, as well as academics from the Centre for Rural Studies and International Agriculture (CERAI) and the Chair of Sustainable Earth at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, among others.
- Main programs and city projects. In 2015, after signing the MUFPP, the Integral Action Plan for the Promotion of Municipal Agricultural Activities and Municipal Agri-Land was launched. From the beginning, this plan was focused on supporting social and academic innovation practices that already existed (VI1, VI2). Later, in 2018, an advisory and participative body, the Municipal Food Council, was created to coordinate food policies, with a wide open and participatory structure trying to integrate actors, actions, and sectors. This was where the Valencia 2025 Agri-Food Strategy was designed, trying to establish a sustainable agri-food system in which relationships between the community and territories (urban, rural, and peri-urban) were balanced, and based on social and environmental justice [41,42].
- Impact and changes generated after signing MUFP. Although there was an already existing social and agroecological movement in the city, the Pact has had a clear influence as a starting point for creating the Municipal Food Council and, consequently, the food strategy (VI1, VI2, VI3). This process has generated a new governance structure in the city, based on mutual recognition and shared commitment around food-related policies.
- Specific contribution to food security and nutrition. According to our research and interviews, the most relevant contribution of the urban food strategy and food-related policies is to defend the uniqueness of its territory and the small-scale farmers. Analyzing the institutional policies and the social innovation practices, the reterritorialization of the food system, using Sonnino’s concepts, was a key element of this strategy. Moreover, the creation of the first Municipal Food Council, as a participatory governmental structure, was very significant in diagnosing different problems affecting the local population, such as obesity, being overweight, and malnutrition, for example [42,43].
- Perception regarding the impact of the international agenda at the local scale, and the city’s capacity to influence it. In 2017, 85 city delegations and more than 300 people met in Valencia for the 3rd Annual Gathering of the Milan Pact, and it was declared as the World Sustainable Food Capital. This was an international recognition of the city due to its development of food polices. Progressively, politicians and citizens are receiving more support from international and supranational organizations, such as the FAO and the European Commission. This means more funding and financial support for strategic projects to develop a systemic change (VI1, VI2, VI3). In that sense, Valencia was selected to be the headquarters of the World Center of Sustainable Food (CEMAS), which was promoted by the city hall in alliance with the FAO and opened in 2019. These kinds of alliances among local authorities and UN organizations to spread the need to develop sustainable urban food policies are very relevant to understanding the functioning of mutual (i.e., local and global) relationships.
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Conflicts of Interest
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Martín, D.; de la Fuente, R. Global and Local Agendas: The Milan Urban Food Policy Pact and Innovative Sustainable Food Policies in Euro-Latin American Cities. Land 2022, 11, 202. https://doi.org/10.3390/land11020202
Martín D, de la Fuente R. Global and Local Agendas: The Milan Urban Food Policy Pact and Innovative Sustainable Food Policies in Euro-Latin American Cities. Land. 2022; 11(2):202. https://doi.org/10.3390/land11020202Chicago/Turabian Style
Martín, Diego, and Rosa de la Fuente. 2022. "Global and Local Agendas: The Milan Urban Food Policy Pact and Innovative Sustainable Food Policies in Euro-Latin American Cities" Land 11, no. 2: 202. https://doi.org/10.3390/land11020202