Building food security and resilience through territorial markets

The World is inclined to crises, even unpredictable ones, and the current system is not the best for addressing them. For example, with Covid-19, we witnessed the collapse of global industrial food chains, and with them, the myth of the security of industry-linked food also fell. In contrast to networks tied to supermarkets and organized large-scale distribution, “territorial” markets have proven to be resilient and responsive, and – unexpectedly – they have continued to feed billions of people every day thanks to their proximity, distribution, but above all due to their adaptability and survival strength. Here, work is life and the reason for life. When we talk about territorial markets, we refer to public markets, street vendors, cooperatives, as well as urban agriculture, direct farm sales, food hubs, and community kitchens.

The World Farmers Markets Coalition aims to spread a sustainable economic, environmental, and social development model, which through short supply chains, supports family farming, promotes local food, empowers farmers (especially women and young people), and combats climate change. Over the past two years, it has witnessed the revolution of farmers’ markets and has been able to see firsthand the strength with which awareness of local food is gaining ground. It is important to highlight the relevance of this issue, especially considering that, just a few days before its second assembly to be held in Rome, the World Farmers Markets Coalition has doubled its members in less than 24 months and has structured a system of know-how exchanges and a true Academy of training to support farmers worldwide.

Confirming all this, the publication of an interesting report by IPES FOOD, The International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food System, titled “FOOD FROM SOMEWHERE – Building food security and resilience through territorial markets,” has just been released. The report is 90 densely packed pages analyzing various aspects of this phenomenon. It starts with considerations on the value chain of companies, defines the concept of territorial markets, discusses the obstacles to security and resilience, and proposes ways to strengthen markets and maximize their characteristics and peculiarities.

This report provides a comprehensive overview of the different food chains. It documents their fundamental contribution to supporting producers’ livelihoods, ensuring access to healthy food for the poorest populations, sustaining cultures and communities, and keeping people fed despite shocks. The report urges governments to reinvest in local and regional supply infrastructures, to relocate public procurement and food security strategies, and to curb corporate appropriation of food systems. I suggest reading it at this link.

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