Regional Food Systems in the Rural Urban Nexus
"More organic, more regional food, fit for the future – transition of food systems through urban-rural cooperation". That was the motto of this year's STADTLANDBIO congress on 14 and 15 February 2019 that took place as part of the BIOFACH – the international trade Fair for Organic Food in Nuremberg. Stephanie Wunder, Senior Fellow at Ecologic Institute, presented the policy recommendations of the research project "Rural Urban Nexus" funded by the Federal Environment Agency in an opening lecture. In her presentation, she focused on the relevance to secure access to land for regional food producers as well as the necessity of an integrated policy that combines agricultural production, sustainable consumption and healthy nutrition, e.g. in the form of a federal food strategy.
In the panel discussion with Dr. Till Backhaus, Minister for Agriculture and the Environment, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Margit Gottstein, State Secretary for Consumer Protection and Anti-Discrimination, Dr. Torsten Mertins (Deutscher Landkreistag) and the agricultural journalist Dr. Tanja Busse, it was pointed out that successful nutrition strategies also require contact with other policy areas, such as housing policy and urban development, and stronger cooperation with other actors, such as health insurance funds. Panelists also discussed the problem of land deals to non-agricultural investors and the legal reforms this requires.
The panel concluded with a discussion of the role of cities and municipal administrations and their numerous possibilities for influencing regional and sustainable food systems, e.g. through the development of regional food strategies, measures against food waste, the integration of food cultivation into land use planning or the improvement of communal catering (hospitals, schools, day-care centres etc.), for example with regard to organic shares, regionality or less meat.