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Flavors of Change: Exploring the Unique Role of Procurement for Climate Action and Covid-19 Recovery in Urban Food Systems

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Although local and regional governments have considerable leverage over several facets of a city-region food system – from nutrition and health to economic development to land use and resource management – few of them integrate food in a cohesive manner across their different thematic departments, or maximize its potential in service of their constituencies. Sustainable food procurement, such as sustainable school meals, is a strategic instrument to address the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from climate action to regional value capturing. The recent FAO survey on the impact of the pandemic on food systems in cities listed the suspension of school meals highest (86%) – hence, the importance of sustainable school meals for resilient food systems.

This peer-to-peer exchange offers space for procurers and food policy officers to:

  • exchange on how to leverage sustainable procurement for the implementation of sustainable food system programmes
  • discuss the opportunities of aligning climate action and COVID-19 recovery in the food sector
  • learn about the challenges of localising supply chains and the associated obstacles of procurement regulation

Three speakers share their hands-on experience from the USA and Europe.


  • Peter Defranceschi, Head of ICLEI Brussels Office
  • Josefine Hintz, Officer, ICLEI European Secretariat, Germany


  • Chantal Clément, Deputy Director, IPES-Food
  • Tamara Downs Schwei, Food Policy Coordinator, City of Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Latha Swamy, Food Policy Director, City of New Haven
  • Gunilla Andersson, Project Manager, Environmental Department, City of Malmö

The session is linked to another deep dive session looking at climate action and construction procurement as well as a high-level plenary session ‘Procurement Leadership Means Climate Action’. The sessions are organized by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, and supported by the Global Lead City Network on Sustainable Procurement, Procura+ Africa, the One Planet Network Sustainable Procurement Programme and the CITYFOOD Network.