COP26 is already happening!

Join the movement of European cities engaged for food democracy and sovereignty

Tuesday 23 March 2021, 9-11.30 AM, CET • Online event

European cities have taken the lead in building resilient local food systems. Their engagement is not only about forward-looking commitments but is already a day-to-day reality that is beneficial to the climate, the environment and people’s health.

Cities are already turning concepts such as food democracy and food sovereignty into practice, and this experience should inspire national governments ahead of international climate negotiations at COP26 in November 2021.

Let's embark on a journey into the future of local sustainable food that is already happening!

9.00 - 9.15 Introduction
Introductory words by MEP Marc Tarabella
9.15 - 9.45 Translating food democracy and sovereignty into practice: the BioCanteens scenario
François Jégou, Lead Expert of BioCanteens Transfer Network
9.45 - 10.30

Making the case for cities’ positive solutions to local food challenges

Challenge #1 Addressing the Public Procurement constraint for food supply: the example of Mouans-Sartoux
Gilles Pérole, Deputy-Mayor for Childhood, Education and Food, Mouans-Sartoux

Challenge #2 Building a participatory food governance: the case of Mollet Del Vallès
Albert Garcia MacianHead of the EU project and International relations Office, Mollet del Vallès

Challenge #3 Driving the relocalisation of agriculture: learnings from Södertälje
Sara Jervfors, Head of Diet Unit, Södertälje

10.30 - 10.40 Break
10.40 - 11.00 National networks of cities as key drivers of food democracy
Amandine Pieux, Coordinator of the Club of Territories, Un Plus Bio
Cecilia Delgado, Researcher, Director of "Alimentar Cidades Sustentaveis"
11.00 - 11.25 Making cities' voices count at COP 26
Sofie Quist, Food Policy Project Officer, Nourish Scotland
Nuala Morgan, Head of Unit Communication & Capitalisation, URBACT
11.25 - 11.30 Concluding words
Florence Egal, Local food systems expert

European cities are today at the forefront of the transition towards sustainable local food systems. In a context of increasing vulnerability to health-related risks and climate change, competition-based global agricultural markets and of numerous regulatory hurdles, cities already implement innovative as well as effective public policy solutions.

Ensuring a fairer access to quality food for all, building resilient agroecological food systems and developing a more participatory food governance are not mere objectives but realities taking shape on the ground. Taking stock of their achievements and rich experience, cities’ engagement and commitments in the field of sustainable food need to be further promoted and supported at national and european levels.

The organisation of COP26 in November 2021 in Glasgow is a decisive opportunity for national governments and the European Union to take up these positive local examples to put the issue of sustainable food at the heart of the climate debate, and to actively support the development of progressive and integrated food policies at city or regional levels.


BioCanteens network, funded by the URBACT Programme, is composed of 7 European cities highly engaged in the distribution of organic school meals as a key lever towards the development of integrated and ecosystemic local agri-food projects, protecting both citizens’ health and the environment. Their efforts on sustainable school catering enable these committed cities to act in practice on changing people’s eating habits, supporting local organic farmers, sustainable public procurement, building a more participatory food governance and their local food sovereignty.

BioCanteens cities will share their practical experience, methodology and tools which can be re-used by other local authorities as a support to design and implement their own food policies.

BioCanteens partners:
Mouans-Sartoux (France), GAL Pays de Condruses (Belgium), Rosignano-Marittimo (Italy), Torres Vedras (Portugal), Trikala (Greece), Troyan (Bulgaria), Vaslui (Romania)

More info on BioCanteens transfer network:

Södertälje Municipality (Sweden)

According to Sara Jervfors, Head of the Diet Unit in Södertälje Municipality “School meal is a great educational tool that strengthens the local business and agricultural industry. It bolsters self-sufficiency.”

Since the beginning of the 2000s, Södertälje has worked with a number of different development projects and activities to create conditions for increased sustainable food production in the municipality and its surroundings, among other things by using public meals as a tool. Partly by buying locally and sustainably produced food but also by getting children and young people to adopt good eating habits.

More info on Södertälje's food project:

Mollet Del Vallès (Spain)

Since 2006, the city has participated in food governance initiatives such as the creation of the Agro Ecological Park of Gallecs together with 5 other municipalities and the Catalan Government. According to Gemma Safont, manager of the Park: “Our experience began fighting to avoid urban pressure and collaborating with our local producers to develop high quality organic and local produce”.

Mollet del Valles became in March 2015 one of the first cities in Spain to pass, by consensus, a local food policy. Since then, and thanks to the URBACT Programme, the city launched a multi stakeholder platform to engage local food stakeholders in food governance and developed a mid and long term food strategy focused on Food and Health. Mollet has also contributed to the Food Charter of the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona which the city joined last October.

Un Plus Bio (France)

Un Plus Bio is a French organisation founded in 2002 accompanying local authorities towards positive change to food systems. Since 2013, Un Plus Bio coordinates a network of more than a hundred territories (le Club des Territoires) engaged towards more organic, local, healthy and sustainable food, using public catering as a tool for food democracy and sovereignty. Its network is a space where territories can get knowledge and resources, as well as share their experiences in order to help one another improving food quality and practices.

More info on Un Plus Bio:

Alimentar Cidades Sustentaveis (Portugal)

The Portuguese national Platform Alimentar Cidades Sustentaveis (Feeding Sustainable Cities) is a civil society movement launched in June 2018 gathering today roughly 400 members coming from Portuguese central and local governments, academia, civil society and the private sector. Its members are seeking to share information to build a common understanding of food issues, best practices, governance, and policies. In March 2020, they published a guide “Innovative Practices in Portugal: from production to sustainable consumption” compiling 46 food best practices implemented in the country at local, regional and national levels.

Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration

Launched in December 2020, the Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration is a commitment by cities, regions and subnational governments to tackle the climate emergency through integrated food policies and a call on national governments to act! This declaration brings together all types and sizes of local authorities – from small and medium sized towns to mega-cities, districts and regions, territories, federal states and provinces – to speak with a unified voice in renewing their commitments to develop sustainable food policies, promote mechanisms for joined-up action and call on national governments to put food and farming at the heart of the global response to the climate emergency.

More info on the Glasgow Declaration on Climate and Food:


URBACT enables cities to work together to develop new and sustainable solutions to major urban challenges, through networking, sharing knowledge, and building capacities for urban practitioners. Since 2013, the URBACT programme has supported 7 networks to learn and exchange from each other on the topics of sustainable food and urban agriculture. As a result, more than 50 cities have worked on all aspects of food policy, from production to consumption to health and planning.

Food systems activities produce greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change, and only a food systems approach can identify effective actions to accelerate climate impacts. In the run up to COP 26, URBACT is pulling together the insights from these cities and beyond into one dedicated page on its Knowledge Hub ( to help cities take action. URBACT is also supporting the Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration, placing food and local action at the heart of the global response to the climate emergency.

More information:

Catherine André (Voxeurop)

Journalist, cofounder of Voxeurop. Catherine André speaks several languages and worked amongst others at Courrier international. She now acts as deputy editor-in-chief at Alternatives Économiques. Catherine André will moderate the event.

Voxeurop is the first European press cooperative, founded by some 60 journalists from 18 different countries. Published online and in ten languages, Voxeurop is driven by the conviction that it is no longer possible to address the challenges of this century at the level of the individual nation.

Thanks to its team and its network of partners consisting of more than 30 European media outlets, Voxeurop publishes cross-border investigations, chronicles of European civil society personalities, photo reports from the four corners of the continent, press cartoons of current affairs, and a selection of articles from 400 of the most renowned sources of European journalism.

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Cet événement se déroulera en anglais, mais une traduction simultanée en français sera mise à la disposition de tous les participants.
Should you have any questions on this event, do not hesitate to contact Thibaud Lalanne, BioCanteens project coordinator:

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