Local Food Initiatives in the Context of Global Trade
An EnviReform Event

Munk Centre for International Studies, University of Toronto
July 10, 2003

Event Homepage / Introduction / Program / Reference Materials / Presentations


In what can be seen as the best of times and the worst of times, food security experts from Belo Horizonte, Brazil and Toronto, Canada met for a day-long exchange of experiences and perspectives on Thursday July 10, 2003.

As trade agreements increasingly seek to control agriculture and food policies, is there any point in looking to municipal government and city local action as the way to advance a positive political and social food agenda? If so, what kinds of programs and policies work best to reduce hunger, increase the viability of local and sustainable agriculture, and promote healthy eating?

Food activists in Belo Horizonte and Toronto are implementing some of the most advanced food programs in the world. There has been a 20-year history of exchanges and visits between activists in Canada and Brazil. On July 10th there was a special opportunity for Toronto City officials, politicians, grass roots activists and academics to meet three important Brazilian food security leaders.

The morning discussion featured presentations highlighting what Toronto and Belo Horizonte are doing to deal with issues of hunger, food security and social and environmental sustainability.


10:00 am. A Tale of Two Cities: Toronto and Belo Horizonte:

Cecilia Rocha, Ryerson University
What is the local Belo Horizonte government doing to implement food policies that advance food security?

Adriana Aranha, Municipal Secretariat of Supplies, Belo Horizonte
What programs are being operated in Belo Horizonte that mitigate the direction of globalized trade?

Susan Sheppard, Toronto Food Policy Council
What is the local Toronto government doing to implement food policies that mitigate the direction of trade agreements and advance food security?

Debbie Field, FoodShare Toronto
What programs are being operated in Toronto that mitigate the direction of globalized trade?

12:00-1:00pm, Lunch
City Councillors, members of the Toronto Food and Hunger Action Committee invited

1:30-3:30. Can we move outside the current restrictive agricultural trade context and trade agreements to create a new food system?

Mark Muller, Director, Environment and Agriculture Program, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Minneapolis, Minnesota
How do conflicts between North and South over agricultural subsidies affect possibilities for unity internationally?

Renato Maluf , Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro (UFFRJ) and the recently created Reference Centre for Food and Nutritional Security, in Rio de Janeiro
Can "Hunger Zero: A Policy Proposal for Food Security in Brazil, the first major social initiative of President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, be effective given the international context?

Harriet Friedmann, University of Toronto Sociology Department
Can international trade agreements include the multiple dimensions of agriculture as food, shaper of landscapes and ecosystem processes, basis for cultures and communities?

Francisco (Chico) Menezes Director of Policies and Planning at the Brazilian Institute of Social and Economic Analyses (Ibase)
How will the new PT government reconcile food security policies with international trends in agricultural trade agreements?

Questions addressed during discussion:

What do the examples of food security programs in Toronto and Belo Horizante tell us about:

  1. The changing role of local food security actions and programs, relative to other levels of government?
  2. The changing relationship of cities to agricultural policy, particularly the links to other issues such as health, equity and environment?
  3. The implications of international trade agreements to municipal policy?
  4. The kinds of international rules that would support urban food security?

Please contact Debbie Field at debbie@foodshare.net or 416 392-1628 or Harriet Friedman (friedman@chass.utoronto.ca) for further informaton.

Event Homepage / Introduction / Program / Reference Materials / Presentations

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