What can the Latin American cities of Cali, Quito and Medellín learn from each other’s efforts to build sustainable food systems?
This paper (PDF) by CGIAR-WLE shares various experiences associated with the construction of urban city-region agri-food practices and policies in Latin-America. Latin America is the most urbanized region in the developing world. Two-thirds of the Latin American population lives in cities. This represents a challenge, which is compounded by factors such as migration and climate change that translate into increased pressure to use natural resources efficiently. When talking about urban planning the need to promote sustainable development throughout the whole territory that comprises a city and its rural hinterland is important. It ensures that city development can be linked to new forms of production and systems that guarantee access to healthy and nutritious food for all people, particularly the most vulnerable groups. The need for such development can only be met when accompanied by the strong involvement of civil society and the establishment of new institutional and governance mechanisms. In recent decades, Latin America has witnessed the emergence of initiatives and movements that seek to promote urban and organic agriculture, waste management, short distribution chains and healthier consumption as part of urban development. In general, efforts undertaken in Latin American cities have aimed to: 1) Increase food system sustainability and resilience; 2) Promote food and nutritional sovereignty and food safety through local, fresh and diverse products for the growing population; 3) Generate employment and income; 4) Strengthen community live. These initiatives have begun to transform agri-food dynamics and the concept of conventional urban development, but have also brought up new challenges for the wide range of actors involved. Regional exchanges allow learning about experiences adapted to the realities of each territory, identifying successful practices, generating cooperation linkages as well as inspiring and encouraging innovation.