Milan launches Food Policy project

With input from residents

Milan city hall has launched an ambitious project to make food policy more sustainable in the future, and is consulting residents for their habits and views.

In collaboration with the philanthropic Fondazione Cariplo, the project aims to address how food is produced, distributed and consumed in the city. Aspects to be studied include access to food for all, reduction of wastage, reorganisation of neighbourhood markets, nutrition education, and shortening the supply chain to Milano Restorazione, the city-owned supplier of meals to schools and rest homes for the elderly.

The project started with research into how the city deals with food, and developed a list of ten issues which need to be addressed, from production to marketing, from citizens’ welfare to safeguarding Milan’s agricultural patrimony.

To consult the city’s residents, public meetings are planned in all nine city zones between Saturday 9 and Thursday 14 May (click here for the programme). City officials will present the ten-point action plan, and then ask for residents’ priorities, to be collected and discussed in a final public meeting on Sunday 14 June.

Fruit in the supermarket

The project has already generated some practical results in Milan schools. One, headlined “I don’t waste”, has been the distribution of “doggie-bags” for the kids to take home their school lunch left-overs. Some 15,000 children in 750 classes of 65 primary schools are being encouraged to save the food they didn’t eat at school for an afternoon snack, or to give to the needy.

“This should help the kids to develop solidarity,” said city councillor Francesco Cappelli, presenting the project in the Italy pavilion of Expo 2015, “and at the same time provide help for some families, [because] we’ve noticed that the kids who eat everything at school are often those whose only meal of the day is their school lunch.”

Another practical result is the “adopt a granny” scheme, with 30 school classes inviting some 250 elderly people to have lunch three times a week in the school canteen together with the students.

The final phases of the project, after the public meeting in June, will be the drawing up of a city-wide food policy, to be approved by city hall, and the launch of pilot projects in the second half of the year to implement the policy.