Because of climate change, it is now more pressing than ever that cities develop and expand their local food systems to create a more sustainable method of food production and distribution. Many cities across the world are making impressive strides. Citizens, businesses and non-profits are working together to overhaul the way we grow, sell, buy and eat our food. From using e-tricycles to transport food to using empty lots for urban gardens, the revolution is under way. Here is a list, compiled by Emily Seifert at Food Tank, of the top 10 cities leading the charge:
While Amsterdam has long been known as a sustainable food city, they’re tackling another component of their food system: transportation. Foodlogica is stepping in to provide e-tricycles to move local food from farms to shops and restaurants. The revolutionary program solves both environmental concerns and congestion issues in the city.
Austin’s Sustainable Food Center provides the community with a variety of ways to get involved in food solutions. Whether it’s growing their own food, meeting local farmers or learning to cook seasonally and nutritiously, citizens can actively engage in creating a more sustainable food system.
Building upon food programs like sustainable cafeterias and kitchen gardens, the city frequently puts on Taste Walks through Slow Food Brussels. These events spotlight local food and sustainable agriculture practices going on in the city. Many local restaurants are pledging their support by featuring more sustainable food and wine on their menus.
A “city-led, community-owned initiative” Calgary EATS! has laid out a plan to become a more sustainable food city. By 2036, they want to increase consumption of local food to 30 percent, have 100 percent of the city’s food supply be a product of sustainable practices and bring urban food production up to five percent. These targets were set based on feedback from Calgary citizens who saw food sustainability initiatives as some of the most important for their city.
With the ambitious goal of becoming “the most sustainable food city in the UK,” Edinburgh has launched Edible Edinburgh, a plan focused on health and wellbeing, the environment, land use and the economy. The plan recognizes that everyone in the community must be involved: citizens, families, organizations and businesses have been called to action to provide feedback and help create a better food system for the city.
Last year, Food Newcastle launched its Food Charter, a plan to make the city more sustainable, healthy and active in its food policy. The program encourages citizens to sign the charter and pledge to make a difference, big or small, in Newcastle’s food culture. The city is also striving to become the “World’s First Sustainable Fish City;” Newcastle University has signed a Sustainable Fish Pledge, declaring that they will only serve sustainable seafood. Newcastle is one of six cities in the UK chosen in the first round of “Sustainable Food Cities” to receive funding to attain these goals.
Organizations like the Oakland Food Policy Council, the HOPE Collaborative and City Slicker Farms are working to improve the food system in the city by tackling issues including urban farming, regional food hubs and food security for its residents. Oakland is also working to enact the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone Act to allow empty lots to be converted to long-term urban gardens.
Already a progressive city when it comes to their food system, Portland will soon create a one-of-a-kind experience for residents and visitors. The James Beard Public Market will create 45,000 square feet of vendor space selling fresh food, beverages and flowers. The market will focus on sustainability, utilizing solar panels and green roofing, as well as, cutting down food waste. An upper level of the market will house cooking demonstrations and community education.
Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City has been focused on food sustainability since 2009 when the Food Policy Task Force was created. Among its many goals are raising public awareness, increasing urban farming space and encouraging citizens to eat locally. The city recently released its Sustainable Salt Lake Plan 2015, outlining goals for continued growth for the next year.
Seattle has adopted a variety of policies and programs to improve the city’s food sustainability. From mandatory recyclable food containers to local food initiatives and zero waste programs, Seattle is known for its push for a better food system for all. In addition to providing community gardens, the city encourages residents to beautify their streets by growing food in planting strips along sidewalks.
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By Simon Montlake
For more than a decade, Susan Jane Brown has been battling to stop a natural gas pipeline and export terminal from being built in the backcountry of Oregon. As an attorney at the nonprofit Western Environmental Law Center, she has repeatedly argued that the project's environmental, social, and health costs are too high.
All that was before this month's deadly wildfires in Oregon shrouded the skies above her home office in Portland. "It puts a fine point on it. These fossil fuel projects are contributing to global climate change," she says.
Moderates Feeling the Heat<p>If elected, Mr. Biden has vowed to stop new drilling for oil and gas on federal land and in federal waters and to rejoin the 2015 Paris climate accord that President Donald Trump gave notice of quitting. He would reinstate Obama-era regulations of greenhouse gas emissions, including methane, the largest component of natural gas.</p><p>The Biden climate platform also states that all federal infrastructure investments and federal permits would need to be assessed for their climate impacts. Analysts say such a test could impede future LNG plants and pipelines, though not those that already have federal approval. </p><p>Climate change activists who pushed for that language say much depends on who would have oversight of federal agencies that regulate the industry. Some are wary of Biden's reliance on advice from Obama-era officials, including former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, who is now on the board of Southern Company, a utility, and a former Obama environmental aide, Heather Zichal, who has served on the board of Cheniere Energy, an LNG exporter. </p>
The Push for U.S. Fuel Exports<p>As vice president, Biden was part of an administration that pushed hard for global climate action while also promoting U.S. oil and gas exports to its allies and trading partners. As fracking boomed, Obama ended a 40-year ban on crude oil exports. In Europe, LNG was touted both as an alternative to coal and as strategic competition with Russian pipelines.</p><p>That much, at least, continued with President Trump. Under Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the agency referred to liquified U.S. hydrocarbons as "<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/29/us/freedom-gas-energy-department.html" target="_blank">freedom gas</a>."</p><p>Mr. Trump has also championed the interests of coal, oil, and gas while denigrating the findings of government climate scientists. He rejected the Paris accord as unfair to the U.S. and detrimental to its economy, but has offered no alternative path to emissions cuts. </p><p>Still, Trump's foreign policy has not always served the LNG industry: Tariffs on foreign steel drove up pipeline costs, and a trade war with China stayed the hand of Chinese LNG importers wary of reliance on U.S. suppliers. </p><p>Even his regulatory rollbacks could be a double-edged sword. By relaxing curbs last month on methane leaks, the U.S. has ceded ground to European regulators who are drafting emissions standards that LNG producers are watching closely. "That's a precursor of fights that will be fought in all the rest of the developed world," says Mr. Hutchison. </p><p>Indeed, some oil-and-gas exporters had urged the Trump administration not to abandon the tougher rules, since they undercut their claim to offer a cleaner-burning way of producing heat and electricity. "U.S. LNG is not going to be able to compete in a world that's focused on methane emissions and intensity," says Erin Blanton, a senior research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University. </p>
Stepping on the Gas<p>In July, the Department of Energy issued an export license to Jordan Cove's developer, Canada's Pembina Pipeline Corp. In a statement, Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said the project would provide "reliable, affordable, and cleaner-burning natural gas to our allies around the world."</p><p>As a West Coast terminal, Jordan Cove offers a faster route to Asia where its capacity of 7.8 million tons of LNG a year could serve to heat more than 15 million homes. At its peak, its construction would also create 6,000 jobs, the company says, in a stagnant corner of Oregon.</p><p>But the project still lacks multiple local and state permits, and its biggest asset – a Pacific port – has become its biggest handicap, says Ms. Blanton. "They are putting infrastructure in a state where there's no political support for the pipeline or the terminal, unlike in Louisiana or Texas," she says. </p><p>Ms. Brown, the environmental lawyer, says she wants to see Jordan Cove buried, not just mothballed until natural gas prices recover. But she knows that it's only one among many LNG projects and that others will likely get built, even if Biden is elected in November, despite growing evidence of the harm caused by methane emissions. </p>
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