Updated: Jan 7, 2022
The dominant food system models we know today are responsible for a series of damages to the people and to the planet, contributing to alarming levels of hunger and all kinds of malnutrition, reinforcing social inequalities, and favoring deforestation, biodiversity loss and the climate crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic deepened such challenges, especially in the developing world, where food supply chains were disrupted, family farmers lost market access and the number of poor people facing food insecurity increased dramatically.
In other words, food systems need to be transformed and this transformation is urgent. Essential elements for food systems transition are the role of cities, specially for actions regarding behavioral change, and food policy transformation. In a world increasingly urbanized, cities - and local governments - are at the core of the food systems challenges and at the forefront of the possible solutions. And food policies can deliver efficient and lasting outcomes if designed in a coherent way, with interdisciplinary and systemic approach, focused on the territory needs and on the right to food; and if strategically planned and subject to multi-stakeholder governance.
That is why Comida do Amanhã Institute designed LUPPA, a Lab on Urban Food Policies launched in strategic partnership with ICLEI South America in August 2021, supported by Ibirapitanga Institute and Institute for Climate and Society (iCS), and with methodological support of Reos Partners.
The project aims to support local policymakers at shaping food systems that are healthy and just for people, sustainable for the planet, resilient to climate and economic changes, and that puts rights first. LUPPA focuses on strengthening democratic policy-making processes and highlighting initiatives that address urban food challenges through systemic and holistic approaches, by creating a collaborative platform on city-level food policies, through network building, knowledge sharing and interactive activities among municipalities and their food policy councils.
LUPPA’s activities began with a set of 5 introductory and baseline webinars, live-streamed for general access and a call for municipalities interested in joining the first LAB, with topics such as local food policy strategies; intersection of the food and climate agendas at the city level; right to food and universal access to healthy food; food production and food supply within cities; cities and school feeding.
23 cities with a population of up to 1.5 million people, spanning 13 Brazilian states, were selected, highlighting the importance of territorial diversity: Alvarães (AM), Anchieta (SC), Araraquara (SP), Belém (PA), Bragança (PA), Brejo da Madre de Deus (PE), Caruaru (PE), Contagem (MG), Florianópolis (SC), Jataúba (PE), João Pessoa (PB), Lajedo (PE), Maracanaú (CE), Natal (RN), Niterói (RJ), Petrolina (PE), Porto Alegre (RS), Rio Branco (AC), Rio Claro (SP), Sobral (CE), Santarém (PA), Teresina (PI) and Vitória do Xingu (PA). All the respective local food policy councils, through their civil society members, were also invited to join the project.
In addition to these towns, 3 mentor cities, with consolidated policies in the area of food systems, were also called to participate and support the others in their journey towards sustainable food systems development: Belo Horizonte (MG), Curitiba (PR) and Recife (PE).
During the selection process, LUPPA gathered information for the first of a series of publications, with cases of innovative food policies in Brazil: ”LUPPA Journal - Inspiring Cases" (Portuguese only).
With cities selected and local authorities interviewed, the 1st LAB started its activities on November 10th, with weekly virtual workshops happening until December 15th. The workshops will return in early January, and will end on January 26th. The LAB is being developed with 2 main set of activities: a "methodological journey”, by which participants are learning to map their local food systems challenges, opportunities, levers of change, and the processes by which the transformation should be implemented; and a ”thematic journey”, by which participants are encouraged to dialogue and debate, sharing their experiences and challenges on the main topics of local food policies.
By April 2022, LUPPA will release the first findings and data collection arising from the work with these Brazilian cities.
By July 2022, LUPPA is expected to launch its second call for cities and start a new cycle of workshops, activities and interactions among local authorities and civil society, gradually filling the map of Brazil with data on local food policies.
For further information visit luppa.comidadoamanha.org (Portuguese only) or write to email@example.com.