Online 02/2021

Online 02/2021

Due to the pandemic cities are facing an increased number of citizens in need of food aid support, particularly among the most vulnerable. Due to several phases of lockdown, growing unemployment levels and significant obstacles in the regular activities of existing charities composed of elderly volunteers, municipalities are looking to have an increasingly active role in the design and implementation of local food aid system solutions. While these measures ran in most cities around the world during the Covid-19 crisis, it can be noted how cities with ongoing food policies and strategies reacted promptly to the emergency and established relevant responses to food insecurity, also thanks to a wider knowledge of their local food systems. Now, many of these cities are working to implement longer-term food aid strategies.

The first 2021 WG Food meeting, held online in February, has been the occasion for the Chair to deliver a general update on the foreseen activities for the upcoming year. The goal of the meeting was to focus on the much-stressed field of food aid and the cities welcomed a keynote speech from Paul Milbourne, Professor at the Cardiff University on how to “Move beyond emergency food aid: connecting food, poverty and justice in European cities”.

Cities were extremely active and were involved to present their experience on innovative solutions to the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020. City officers from Madrid, Milan, Glasgow, Paris, Riga and many other cities discussed a wide range of actions, presenting food vouchers, food pantries, inclusive mapping of services and systemic strategies, both in plenary and separate breakout sessions.

Cities in the meeting have all applied for the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact Talks and their practices are on the MUFPP YouTube channel.