In October 2016, València was selected to host 2017 Annual Gathering and the Mayors’ Summit of the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP) signatory cities. The event will take place from 19 – 21 October. How has the city being preparing for the MUFPP gathering? Has this event changed the way in which Valencia approaches food and sustainability issues?
Under the label “València, world sustainable food capital 2017”, the city has organized a series of events and meetings throughout 2017 that reinforce its commitment to promote a sustainable food system.
Among the new initiatives linked to València, World Capital of Sustainable Food 2017:
- Promotion of local products: “La Tira de Contar” of Mercavalència a warehouse dedicated to the direct sale of products from the market gardens that date back to Arab times in the 13th century, have been refurbished. In addition, the label “Aphorta” was created to allow consumers to easily identify fruit and vegetables coming from the market gardens of València.
- Creation of a Municipal Food Council: the council has been set up with the participation of different actors (NGOs, administration, consumer groups etc).
- Launch of an incubator for agri-food businesses created in collaboration with the Polytechnic University of València and Mercavalència.
- Establishement of a municipal soil bank. The initiative aimed to serve the various urban garden projects in the city.
- Mapping of of the agricultural land that surrounds the city through the “Observatori Ciutadà de l’Horta conducted by the Department of Agriculture, Huerta and Villages of València
- Development of sustainable school canteens: The Education and Youth Councils launched the pilot project La Sostenibilitat al Plat” (sustainability to your plate) organizing workshops with different actors including management teams, parents, teachers, companies, cooks, monitors, and children. This project strengthens the relationship between food companies and small producers in order to support the direct sale of local products. The Department of Education has already introduced some new rules for the school menus this year: the use of local and organic products is compulsory at least three times a week, while certain ingredients prohibited altogether. The next step is to ensure healthy municipal school canteens for everyone.
- Support of small producers: The Department of Equality has launched 5 pilot projects under the title “From the countryside to the city, production of local rural food and its consumption” including various workshops and conferences in the Popular University of València. Small producers from the rural areas close to València got involved as speakers and testimonies.
- Drafting of a comprehensive action plan for the promotion of municipal agricultural activity and spaces. The main objective is the defense and the reclamation of the municipal agricultural heritage.
València has also launched a consumers’ awareness campaign “Your decisions may change the world” and joined the network of Spanish cities of agroecology .