by Marion Nestle
Oct 23 2015

100 Mayors Sign Milan Urban Food Policy Pact

This morning, I received this press release from Franca Roiatti in Milan, announcing that on October 15 the mayors of more than 100 cities signed the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact and Framework for Action.  This pact commits these cities—New York among them—to work for more equitable and sustainable urban food systems.

The mayors made 7 commitments, among them working to

  • Develop sustainable food systems that are inclusive, resilient, safe and diverse, that provide healthy and affordable food to all people in a human rights-based framework, that minimise waste and conserve biodiversity while adapting to and mitigating impacts of climate change;
  • Engage all sectors within the food system (including neighbouring authorities, technical and academic organizations, civil society, small scale producers, and the private sector) in the formulation, implementation and assessment of all food-related policies, programmes and initiatives;
  • Use the Framework for Action as a starting point for each city to address the development of their own urban food system and we will share developments with participating cities and our national governments and international agencies when appropriate;

The Framework recommends 37 actions, among them

  • Identify, map and evaluate local initiatives
  • Develop or revise urban food policies and plans
  • Address non-communicable diseases associated with poor diets and obesity, giving specific attention where appropriate to reducing intake of sugar, salt, transfats, meat and dairy products and increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables and non-processed foods
  • Develop sustainable dietary guidelines to inform consumers, city planners (in particular for public food procurement), food service providers, retailers, producers and processors, and promote communication and training campaigns.
  • Explore regulatory and voluntary instruments to promote sustainable diets involving private and public companies as appropriate, using marketing, publicity and labelling policies; and economic incentives or disincentives; streamline regulations regarding the marketing of food and non-alcoholic beverages to children in accordance with WHO recommendations.
  • Those aimed at social and economic equity (cash transfers, school feeding programs, employment, education, training, research).
  • And those aimed at improving food production and reducing waste.

Finally, it comes with an e-book that collects 49 selected good practices from 28 signatory cities.

The point?  Even though everything about this pact and framework is voluntary, these findings and recommendations ought to be enough to give any city mayor a mandate to start working on sustainability issues.

I am looking forward to seeing how New York City uses the report and framework.

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  • NYFarmer

    What is Mayor DeBlasio’s level of knowledge about sustainable food? food of the region? Anything beyond Westchester County? Milk is the key farm product for so much of rural New York, especially grasslands areas and hill country. Maybe we should have just sold the farm for fracking?
    Does not look like there will be much respect or concern for the dairy farmers of Upstate NY coming out of NYC if this is the new protocol.

  • simply true

    Resign yourself to the reality these urban geniuses couldn’t possibly care less about you or your farm. And as for fracking, well they’ve fixed it so you will be a criminal if you do. So go ahead and sell the farm. That’s what they’ve been maneuvering for all along. They’ve connived to keep commodity and farmland prices dirt cheap so massive profits accrue to developers when you finally sell out for pennies on the dollar. In many cases the grants and kickbacks through state and county development agencies are far larger than the purchase price of your farm. Understand you and your farm are merely a temporary obstacle to the next cheesy outlet mall or organic arugula commune or corrections facility or industrial park. That’s what any 100 mayors spend their time dreaming about.

  • NYFarmer

    Cornell is already reporting some 3,000,000 acres of abandoned farms Upstate, mostly former dairy farms, grasslands. (See Cornell’s “Green Grass, Green Jobs). Unfortunately, NYC’s food movement groups focus mostly on the Hudson River Valley or maybe the Catskills that they are more familiar with.
    Most of NYC’s fluid milk comes from right here in the Northeast. Fluid milk is generally consumed within 300 of miles of where it is produced. (Unless it is organic milk which is hauled very long distances). NY’ers who wish to buy from within the region just need to look at the Plant Code on the container. Plant Code 36 = NY bottling.
    Milk is the traditional food of our region that takes advantage of the great rainfed natural resources that we have regionally. And, much of the infrastructure for NY is geared towards fluid milk and soft products like yogurt. This contrasts with states with massive powdering plants geared towards export. NY’s dairy farmers’ financial position is highly dependent on the amount of fluid milk that NYC people drink.
    The question is…will rural farmers of NY be invited into the discussion of what is “sustainable” in the northeast?

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