Topic: "Food policies in small cities. Towards an inter-municipal food policy governance in Lucca, Italy"
Keywords: urban food policy, governance, food systems, planning, small-medium cities
The key role of food-related practices in transition processes towards Sustainable Development Goals is acknowledged, as well as it is the role of cities. Promoting a sustainable food system at local level implies, among others, healthy food provisioning, adequate remuneration for all the actors of the food supply chain, developing a local economy based on mutually beneficial relations between the city and the countryside.
Organizing and structuring food policies entails different levels of action (i.e. local, national, European) and multiple voices have a role to play in food policy governance. In this perspective, local administrations are increasingly interested in defining urban food strategies by identifying shared principles and adopting governance instruments that impact on the local food system.
Many leading cities have adopted a food plan: Milan, New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Valencia are only few of the well-known examples around the world. However, literature is limitedly available specifically addressing the governance arrangements adopted by food policies in small-medium sized realities. What are the drivers to building a local food policy in small-medium sized cities? What are their expected aims and outcomes? What are the obstacles faced by politicians, civil servants and other stakeholders throughout such processes? To what extent small-medium sized cities provide the suitable stage for the identification and management of rural-urban relations?
This contribution deals with how to structure a food policy governance in a small-medium sized context by documenting the process occurring in Lucca (Tuscany, central Italy), where the first inter-municipal Italian food policy is being setup. The different administrative levels, stakeholders and competences involved are taken into account, together with the identification of – and opportunities for – rural-urban relations.
The Food Plan and the Food Policy Council have been established to test possible governance arrangements and emerging solutions to selected food-related issues; to set up a space of cooperation for many, different actors unused to work together and to create an arena of knowledge exchange and collective reflection upon food-related themes.
By discussing the drivers of the political and administrative process, we reflect upon the role of actors, activities and processes that are taking place in view of the expected outcomes of the local food policy, highlighting limitations and potentials and providing a benchmark to other possible initiatives.