Food for the cities programme

Food governance structures

The CRFS assessment in the Medellín city region, and policy processes associated with this, has resulted in the establishment of new governance structures in the region. The CRFS assessment resulted in an increased awareness amongst public authorities in the region that joint and concerted actions are needed to improve the city region food system, especially in the area of food provisioning. A new institutional platform was set up to discuss and define coordinated actions to improve food provisioning in the Medellin city region in which different public authorities, including the Municipality of Medellín, the Metropolitan Area of the Valley of Aburrá (a collaboration of 10 municipalities with strong environmental competences and responsibilities) and the Provincial government of Antioquia collaborate. This tripartite governmental platform on territorial food policy issues,  called the “Mesa de Buen Vivir” (the “Table of Good Living”),  is an important innovation and result from the CRFS project and is intended to serve as a space and mechanism for coordination and articulation for the collective development and implementation of policy and project interventions in the Medellin food system from a territorial governance perspective.  One such planned projects involves the establishment of a regional food distribution centre or ‘food hub’ which directly links local food demand and production of basic food products by producer associations in peri-urban and rural areas.

In Colombo, the CRFS project has contributed to strengthened territorial governance structures between the Colombo Municipal Council, Western Province and the newly established Western Megapolis development board.  It supports the inclusion of ‘food’ in the new Megapolis development plan.

In Quito, the need for participatory governance in the territorial food system is well recognised to guarantee achievements of the set goals and outcomes of the food strategy (contribution to the Right for Food, promoting sustainable diets, improving urban-rural linkages and ensuring participation of small producers and local authorities in the city region). Through a consultative process, Quito is designing an appropriate food system governance structure, that may take the form of a food policy council, seeking involvement of local, provincial and national government actors, private sector and civil society.

In Toronto, complex, long-term and deep food-related ties between food and governance have existed for many years. That said, the CRFS project contributed to increased attention to regional food opportunities and concerns, a growing awareness of multi-scaled policy interactions starting with the Toronto Food Policy Council through to the emergent National Food Policy Council, as well as opportunities to build synergies through for example a food-energy-water nexus.

Image: The proposed food hub for the Medellin city region

Project tools and examples

Improving food governance: capacity to do policy work

A Food policy assessment toolkit from Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

This participatory group work toolkit was developed for any food system group that works (or aspires to work) on policy issues. It can be used to evaluate current performance or learn more about the process of working on food policy using a stakeholder model. It can also be used as a guide to aid discussions on food policy work.  The goal is to assess the group’s capacity to do policy work. A list of recommended resources is provided for each section, intended to increase knowledge, improve skills and educate about specific topics.