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Rikolto's Food Smart Cities programme, towards more sustainable and inclusive food systems

  • Published on January 9, 2020
At Rikolto, we believe that cities can play an important role in sparking a shift towards a fundamentally different food system in which healthy and sustainable food is affordable and available to all through mainstream channels. Working together with municipalities and various other stakeholders (producers, processors, retailers, consumers...), we follow a three-tier approach: piloting in city-regions, facilitating a peer-to-peer learning cycle, and influencing the international agenda.
The objectives of the Food Smart City Programme are: 1. To include smallholder farmers in sustainable urban food chains under fair trading conditions, including women and the youth 2. To increase the affordability, availability and acceptability of safe, sustainable and healthy food to city-dwellers 3. To reduce the environmental impact and increase the resilience of urban food systems 4. To facilitate participatory governance mechanisms for urban food systems Thanks to their position in the food system, city governments and urban businesses are ideally placed to influence the type of food that enters the city as well as how and where it is produced. While rapidly-growing urban areas are an important part of the food challenge, we also believe that cities have the right scope of governance to bring about change to contribute to global sustainability. By working with businesses on sustainable procurement policies, and with city governments on urban food policies, we can improve peri-urban and rural farmers’ linkage with markets. This can in turn improve their livelihoods and create strong incentives for them to produce food more sustainably. The impact aligns with the objectives: * Hundreds of rural, peri-urban and urban farmers and processors making a decent living out of their agri-business, and being able to fulfill their families' needs and to afford a diverse and healthy diet * Resilient agricultural systems based on regeneration, climate-smart practices and circularity * Dozens of examples of how inclusive business models can enable the transition to sustainable food systems by creating incentives for all actors in the food chain, inspiring more businesses to follow-suit * Thousands of urban consumers having the ability to choose and access healthy, nutritious, safe and sustainable food * A more enabling environment for the production, distribution and procurement of healthy and sustainable food, thanks to more cross-sectoral and participatory governance structure and policies * Local initiatives inspiring nationwide and even regional and global food transitions thanks to vertical integration and peer-to-peer learning

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