City-Region Food Systems in Germany

prince

From May 25th to June 2nd Lauren Baker travelled to Germany to attend two conferences on the topic of city-region food systems. This is a short report on the conferences.

Langenburg Forum, Hohenlohe Region, Germany

The Langenburg 2013 meeting convened diverse stakeholders from across the EU and beyond, to discuss ways to support small-scale agricultural production and the development of local supply chains. The Forum was jointly hosted by Schloss Erlebnis Langenburg Hohenlohe, the Prince of Langenburg, His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales’ International Sustainability Unit and Joschka Fischer and Company.

The discussions at the Forum focused on the benefits of regional agriculture, and how policy and practice might support businesses to work at a regional level to create resilient food systems. The Prince of Wales spoke on regional food security. City-region food systems planning and local procurement emerged as a key focus for future activity.

It was a special privilege to be invited to a private dinner and discussion with His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales after the Forum. The purpose of the dinner was to “bring together key international actors to explore how to advance the ideas discussed at the Forum further, and how best to place these within the context of the wider food security and global development agendas.” At the dinner the Prince of Wales led a very interesting discussion on global food security, city-region food policy and food systems planning.

Resilient Cities Congress, Resilient Urban Food Systems Forum, Bonn, Germany

The Resilient Urban Food Systems Forum, was held on Saturday, June 1 at the Resilient Cities Congress. Catherine Mah and I presented the work of the Toronto Food Policy Council and Toronto Public Health’s Food Strategy team as the central case study during the opening plenary. Participants included city officials, NGOs, international organizations, businesses, and community food groups from around the world. Joe Nasr and June Komisar from Ryerson University hosted the Carrot City exhibit at the Bonn Museum of Modern Art.

Highlights:

  • Bonn Declaration of Mayors 2013 calling for a “holistic ecosystems-based approach for developing city-region food systems that ensure food security, contribute to urban poverty eradication, protect and enhance local level biodiversity and that are integrated in development plans that strengthen urban resilience and adaptation.”
  • Calls for strong leadership in local governments on the issue of food systems, but these must be combined with participatory, bottom up methods that include all local actors and communities.
  • Constructive and interactive workshop sessions unpacking what cities need to do in order to strengthen their food systems.
  • Joint announcement between ICLEI and Resources Centres on Urban Agriculture and Food Security (RUAF) to work together to train cities and help build capacity around strengthening city-region food systems.