Reading Development

Random readings on society, politics and change – Jorge Carrillo

On international solidarity in a resilient and sustainable urban food system

What does a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic mean for the transition to a sustainable food system for cities? Using the concrete Dutch initiative Support Your Locals that emerged in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in this essay we address the question of what the mitigation of abrupt disruptions in the food production and consumption chain in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic can teach us about the transition to a more sustainable food system.

We show that creative initiatives inspired by local solidarity are not necessarily intended to restore the food system or to make it more sustainable, but rather aim at alleviating acute needs in the food chain. In this respect, we see a tension between national and international solidarity, between acute and longer-term needs, and between chain and systems perspectives (see figure 1). We conclude that, during the first lockdown, resilience was about solving acute, tangible and specific problems in the chain, but that a sustainability transition requires a longer-term and systemic approach with an international perspective. The transition to sustainable and resilient urban food systems will benefit from diversity in the production/consumption chains, with an eye for broader systemic implications, in which solidarity extends beyond national borders. The solution is not a priori local, but short supply chains are an essential part of it.

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This entry was posted on Monday, 8 February 2021 by in Climate change, Poverty and inequality and tagged , , .

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