Reports Climate Change and Nature

Every mouthful counts: Food in city-based responses to climate and nature emergency

By adopting a healthy and sustainable food policy, how can cities very substantially reduce their carbon footprint and help farmers, fishers and land managers restore nature?


This publication aims to help cities – including Sustainable Food Cities Network members, many of whom contributed to this guide – understand the essential ways in which we must change our food system to help avert climate change and restore nature.

Given the gravity of climate change and precipitous loss of nature, there is growing frustration at the pace of change from businesses and national governments, so some cities are taking matters into their own hands. Over 800 cities and jurisdictions around the globe have now declared a ‘climate emergency’, over 80 of which are in the UK, including many in the UK Sustainable Food Cities Network.

Focusing on practical solutions, this publication explains the role of food, farming and land use in the response of cities to climate and nature emergency. It also provides guidance on how the solutions can be realised in practice. The document sets out priorities under key headings, with the contents list as follows:

  • The role of food in city-based responses to climate and nature emergency.
  • Top priorities for action
    • Declare both a climate and nature emergency
    • Radically increase the market for healthy, sustainably produced food
    • Design out food waste
    • Use land well for climate and nature
    • Measure what matters
  • Additional areas for action
    • Integrate food into city design and resilience planning
    • Make it easy to take action
    • Engage people in the solutions
    • Support community food growing
    • Install drinking fountains
    • Share learning
    • Join the call for national change
  • Concluding thoughts (for now)
  • Useful resources and practical tools
  • References

Many individuals, organisations and leading Sustainable Food Cities practitioners have contributed to this publication, and we have consulted with other leading networks on their initiatives and priorities, including C40 Cities, WWF's One Planet Cities and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation food initiative. We express thanks and admiration for the wealth of enthusiasm, generosity and expertise represented throughout all of these networks, and look forward to working with these and many others to achieve significant change.

Sustain produced this briefing as one part of our commitment to take action, following our declaration of a climate and nature emergency.

Every mouthful counts: Food in city-based responses to climate and nature emergency
19pp - 2019 | 1000Kb


Published Thursday 3 October 2019

Climate Change and Nature: Sustain has taken a keen interest in the rapidly accumulating evidence about the effect of food and farming on climate change and nature, as scientific evidence emerges that our food system is a very significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss.

19pp - 2019


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