Good Food Cities

By Deneine Powell

Communities are beginning to recognize that supporting our food systems – such as organic farming, food loss reduction, and plant-based diets – can help mitigate climate change.  Read on to discover what they are doing and how cities are taking steps to adopt the Planetary Health Diet by 2030. Reprinted with permission from C40.org

Our diets are not just hurting our health but also the ecosystem that supports life. Food is among the largest drivers of global environmental change contributing to climate change, biodiversity loss, freshwater use, interference with the global nitrogen and phosphorus cycles, and land-system change. Research shows that, without substantial changes, greenhouse gas emissions from the food sector will increase by 38% by 2050. The world is in a climate crisis, causing droughts, floods, and desertification, reducing our ability to feed everyone on the planet.

In 2017, emissions associated with food consumption in C40 cities accounted for an estimated 13% of cities’ total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with consumption of animal-sourced food representing roughly 75% of those food emissions. Most of the world’s food is consumed in cities (80% of all food is expected to be consumed there by 2050).

Cities committing to this declaration will work with citizens to achieve a ‘Planetary Health Diet’ for all by 2030, with balanced and nutritious food, reflective of the culture, geography, and demography of their citizens.

They will achieve this by implementing the following measures by 2030:

  • Aligning our food procurement to the Planetary Health Diet, ideally sourced from organic agriculture.
  • Supporting an overall increase of healthy plant-based food consumption in our cities by shifting away from unsustainable, unhealthy diets.
  • Reducing food loss and waste by 50% from a 2015 baseline.
  • Within two years of endorsing this declaration, working with citizens, businesses, public institutions, and other organizations to develop a joint strategy for implementing these measures and achieving these goals inclusively and equitably, and incorporating this strategy into our Climate Action Plan.

Each city will develop and share an action plan, including baseline figures and environmental, health, social, and economic co-benefits where available, upon which they will regularly report.

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