A Food Policy is a set of policies that outline a shared vision on the future relationship of the city with food and define the key actions to implement this vision, harmonizing the various projects that the administration carries out on the subject of food.
Milan has decided to commit in order to make its food system more equitable and sustainable by adopting its own Food Policy, the strategy that will guide city policies related to food from 2015 to 2020.
In July 2014 the Municipality of Milan and the Cariplo Foundation signed an agreement for the definition and adoption of the Food Policy. After the analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the Milanese food system, the objectives of the Food Policy were elaborated through a public consultation on the adoption of a City Council Resolution, containing the 5 priorities of the Milan Food Policy.
5 Priorities of the Food Policy of Milan
The Municipality declines in its policies the inspiring principles and the guidelines codified at international level on the issues of the right to food in order to develop a food system that is able to guarantee healthy food and drinking water in sufficient quantities and accessible to all from a perspective of equity, resilience and sustainability articulated in its social, economic and environmental components.
For this reason it undertakes to guide the choices that directly or indirectly concern food and water within the framework of its institutional prerogatives and in the activities of its investee companies, in order to improve the quality of life of people and the quality of its territory and to play a role of innovation on a national and international level. The Food Policy is a project for the whole city: therefore the Municipality also assumes the role of support, stimulus and facilitation of all forms of social, technological and organizational innovation that respond to the principles set out in the Food Policy itself and that can compete to the implementation of the guidelines contained therein.
1. Ensure healthy food and water for all citizens
Ensure access to healthy food and water for all citizens to protect the dignity of the person and improve the quality of life
- The Municipality shall have an active direct or indirect role in providing healthy food produced in a sustainable way that caters to several categories: students, elderly people, vulnerable groups and city employees.
- The Municipality shall ensure that in each district of the city affordable, healthy and sustainable food is available within short distances that can be covered by people with restricted mobility.
- The Municipality shall actively work to promote and facilitate various forms of urban agriculture and horticulture, as well as the establishment and consolidation of networks and activities for creating social inclusion and providing food to the vulnerable population (community canteens, soup kitchens, forms of social aggregation for sustainable food production and consumption, etc.
2. Promote sustainability of the food system
Facilitate the consolidation of all the components and activities necessary for the articulation of a sustainable food system and promote the local production and consumption of fresh, seasonal and quality food.
- The Municipality shall facilitate access to land through its institutional instruments, the co-promotion of specific services (e.g. Mortgage credit, local land trusts, public lands, etc.) and the spread of multi-functional agriculture that contribute to the objectives set out here.
- The Municipality shall encourage agricultural activities and wineries throughout the municipal area.
- The Municipality shall support social, technological and organisational innovation in processing,distribution, logistics and trading activities to facilitate the transition to a sustainable food system.
3. Promote Food Education
Promote a culture oriented towards the conscious consumption of healthy, safe, culturally appropriate, sustainable food, produced and distributed in compliance with human rights and the environment.
- The Municipality shall expressed its commitment to education either directly or through its subsidiaries, or through agreements with schools,
other institutions and educational agencies and the industry, by promoting initiatives that increase the level of awareness of all the citizens
- Education and training to healthy, sustainable nutrition shall concern both the basic content
for all citizens, and more specific content for operators, which are designed to accompany the sustainable innovation of all stages of the food cycle.
- Spreading the contents and orientations of the Food Policy through the enhancement of existing
experiences consistent with the principles expressed in this paper
4. Fighting against food waste
Reduce food surpluses and waste in the various stages of the food cycle as a form of fighting social and economic inequalities and as a tool for reducing environmental impacts.
- The Municipality, in cooperation with the local actors, shall promote actions devoted to the citizens and operators involved in the food cycle in order to reduce surpluses and waste.
- The Municipality, in cooperation with local actors, shall promote the recovery and redistribution of surplus food.
- The Municipality shall promote partnerships with institutional, economic and social entities to promote the rationalisation of packaging and the reduction of waste troughout the food chain.
- The Municipality shall apply the principles ofmaterial and energy cycle closing to the foodsystem from a circular economy an bio-economy perspective.
5. Support the scientific research in agrifood sectors
Encourage the development of agri-food scientific research with connotations and repercussions relating to the urban system, aiming at the improvement of processes and the development of cutting-edge technologies.
- The Municipality shall promote the development of a system of collaboration in agrifood research involving Universities, Research and Training Centres, public, private and non-profit organisations.
- The Municipality shall promote the development of Milanese agri-food scientific research with connotations or implications related to the urban system.
- The Municipality shall encourage the development of innovative projects in the agrifood sector.
The Municipality of Milan identifies the following tools in order to plan and develop measures dedicated to implementing the priorities and guidelines mentioned within all policies, programs and projects of its own initiative or that refer to its in house companies ( SoGeMi, the Municipal Markets, Milano Ristorazione, MM, AMSA and AMAT) and due to the complexity of the issues involved.
Internal Governance: Institutional coordination delegation to the Deputy Mayor, Food Policy Office within the Mayor’s Cabinet, Inter-councilor tables Food Policy, Municipal Council Resolution 1041/2016 – Operational tools of the Food Policy.
Metropolitan food council and Community of practice: The Food Council promotes co-responsibility processes of the actors of the food system (large area) through specific participatory paths that have an inclusive character. This co-responsibility is due to the complexity of the issues in the field, which requires a “multi-voiced” work in order to guarantee adequate space for all the components of the Milan food system in the phases of direction and periodic evaluation of the Food Policy, in its updating and in the identification of further objectives and projects, recognizing the value of city practices and economic and organizational innovations as part of a design that sees the institution as a reference. This co-responsibility activity has a procedural character and can take the shape of a city council, a steering committee or other bodies similar to food councils, food boards or other similar instruments present in other linguistic, cultural and institutional contexts. The Milan experience promotes the building of Communities of practice that are involved on specific issues in order to share knowledge experiences and policy making processes.
The monitoring system of the actions and guidelines of the Food Policy will allow not only to analyze, evaluate and monitor the issues, guidelines and actions over time, and the related impacts but also, indirectly, to increase knowledge in relation to the issues involved. This objective responds to the need to build a system of knowledge that enhances what is already available in the structures of the Municipality as well as in institutions, in the world of research and in social bodies and that makes it usable and functional to support decisions and actions. The building and dissemination of this knowledge in an open source perspective is functional to make institutional action and the one of all the actors in the city more effective.
Earthshot Prize 2021 awarded by Prince William’s Royal Foundation, has selected the Municipality of Milan with its Food Waste Hubs from among 750 initiatives for the sustainability of the planet.
Greenbuyer Award 2021 on Social Procurement has selected the company Milano Ristorazione for having significantly contributed, through the introduction of further rewarding social criteria, to the promotion of the labor integration of women even in economic sectors with high gender employment disparity.
Bloomberg Philanthropies Finalist 2019 on actions against food waste. Finalist among 195 urban policies developed internationally within the C40 Awards.
Comuni Ricicloni 2019 awarded by Assobioplastiche in Italy, Milan was selected for the actions against single-use plastic in canteens and in public procurement for automatic retailers.
Guangzhow Awards 2018 was assigned to the Food Policy of Milan for its innovative potential in the strategic planning of a city among 270 cities from around the world, integrating and implementing transformative actions on the food system of the city.
Verso Economia Circolare (Towards Circular Economy) 2018 assigned in Lombardy by the Cogeme Foundation and Kyoto Club to the Milan Food Policy for the systemic approach adopted against food waste and waste.
Fair Trade Territory 2018 assigned by Fair Trade for innovative actions within public procurement aimed at promoting short and fair trade supply chains.
Vivere a Zero Sprechi (Living at Zero Waste) 2017 assigned by the Ministry of the Environment and the University of Bologna to the Milan Food Policy for the strategy adopted against food waste.