Ada Colau launches Barcelona World Capital of Sustainable Food 2021

The capital year will include the development of more than 90 projects and policies to promote sustainable food and a program that will run from the beginning of the year until December.

Barcelona will be the World Sustainable Food Capital next year, with over ninety projects and active policies to promote healthy habits among people and a change to the food production model. There will also be a broad programme of events, rounding off in the autumn with the seventh Global Forum for the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact.

On 2 December, the Mayor of Barcelona, ​​Ada Colau, launches the World Capital of Sustainable Food 2021, a project that will go beyond the city limits to reach the entire metropolitan region with the aim of projecting in the world as one of the great global poles of impetus for sustainable food. The city thus collects the testimony of Milan, home of the first Global Summit of Cities for Sustainable Food in 2015, and Valencia, capital of Sustainable Food in 2017.

The event is also attended by the Minister for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, Teresa Ribera, via telematics, and the Councilor for Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food of Generalitat de Catalunya, Teresa Jordà. The Councilor for Trade, Markets, Consumption, Internal Affairs and Finance of the Barcelona City Concil, Montserrat Ballarín, the Councilor for Health, Aging and Care, Gemma Tarafa, and the Commissioner for Social Economy, Local Development and Food Policy, Álvaro Porro, also attend.

Over two hundred cities from around the world will be taking part in the forum, debating and sharing visions and experiences of urban food policies. The goal is to agree on a series of specific global political commitments for a fairer, healthier and more sustainable food model, and to promote access to healthy food, combating hunger and malnutrition.

The event will also give a voice to cities with a view to the historical UN Climate Change Conference to be held in Glasgow in 2021, making the case for the role of municipalities, as the administrations which are closest to people, and the need to move towards sustainable food. Not least because the current global food system is estimated to account for between 21% and 37% of global greenhouse emissions.

A diverse programme

Between 19 and 21 October 2021, Barcelona will host the Seventh Global Forum of the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact. Its central theme will focus specifically on the link between food and climate emergency.

Notable events in the programme of activities planned for next year include Sustainable Food Week, to be held in October and aimed at the general public, the European Agroecology Congress in June, and the State Meeting of Urban Allotments in the autumn.

The sustainable food perspective will also be included in well-established food events in the city, such as the Market of Markets, BioCultura, the Universal Soup Festival and BCN Food Design Week, as well as cultural events such as La Mercè and the Biennial of Science in 2021.

Goals of the capital role

The city aims to capitalise on the opportunity to take a step forward in people’s everyday habits in terms of sustainable food, and for the capital role to mean an evolution in consumption patterns in Barcelona, with firm progress in four main areas:

  • Greater citizen awareness on the need to introduce a healthier and more sustainable daily diet and for all social groups to have access to it.
  • Generation of more economic opportunities for local sectors, with the promotion of local organic food production and the protection of the semi-urban periphery.
  • A genuine change in the food and distribution model which helps combat the climate emergency in the Barcelona metropolitan area.
  • Generation of resilience in the face of global risks and social inequalities, particularly unexpected threats.

Promotion of the food charter

The food charter for the Barcelona metropolitan region is an instrument promoted by the Metropolitan Strategic Plan, resulting from a three-year process involving over a hundred stakeholders from the food sector.

The charter is intended to help promote and guide the development of food policies in the metropolitan area. It must also facilitate the transition to a model for greater food sovereignty, strengthening the resilience of a safer, fairer, healthier and more sustainable food system. In addition, it should build the metropolitan vision into food policies in general and, in particular, into Barcelona’s project as the World Sustainable Food Capital.

Barcelona signed up to the charter in September and will now be encouraging metropolitan municipalities to do so for 2021.