The City of New Port Richey has officially become the 211th city to sign on to the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact after deliberating during its July 7th City Council meeting.
New Port Richey is now the second city in Florida to join the pact after Miami.
Created in 2015, the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact is a global initiative that aims to create a network of cities committed to developing and implementing sustainable food systems.
“The ideals are outstanding and yet I think the pact itself is very pragmatic in its approach in that it recognizes there are no cities that are there yet,” said Dell deChant, who serves as New Port Richey’s Environmental Committee Chairman and Policy Committee Chair for the Florida Food Policy Council. “Worldwide, we don’t have any cities that are living up to fullness of this ideal. But what the pact says is the cities that are engaged in this are the committed to getting there, that are committed to becoming sustainable and creating durable food systems.”
By signing the pact, the city is committing to the following seven actions:
1. Working to develop sustainable food systems that are inclusive, resilient, safe and diverse, that provide healthy and affordable food to all people in a human rights-based framework, that minimise waste and conserve biodiversity while adapting to and mitigating impacts of climate change;
2. Encouraging interdepartmental and cross-sector coordination at municipal and community levels, working to integrate urban food policy considerations into social, economic and environment policies, programmes and initiatives, such as, inter alia, food supply and distribution, social protection, nutrition, equity, food production, education, food safety and waste reduction;
3. Seeking coherence between municipal food-related policies and programmes and relevant subnational, national, regional and international policies and processes;
4. Engaging all sectors within the food system (including neighbouring authorities, technical and academic organizations, civil society, small scale producers, and the private sector) in the formulation, implementation and assessment of all food-related policies, programmes and initiatives;
5. Reviewing and amending existing urban policies, plans and regulations in order to encourage the establishment of equitable, resilient and sustainable food systems;
6. Using the Framework for Action as a starting point for each city to address the development of their own urban food system and we will share developments with participating cities and our national governments and international agencies when appropriate;
7. Encouraging other cities to join our food policy actions.
“What’s cool about the pact from my perspective in terms of the city of New Port Richey is that we’re already doing these things,” deChant said. “We’re already engaged in creating a resilient food system here in New Port Richey,” such as seasonal food events, urban food policy projects and community, market and residential gardens.
“We already are well along the road to a sustainable food system and well ahead of many other communities,” deChant added. “This puts us into contact with other cities that are doing it and gets us exposed to programs that are available to us.”
Signing onto the pact is free. The main requirement is designation of a Focal Point, a person inside the city’s administration, to follow all communication and activities related to the pact. For New Port Richey that will be Earl R. Hahn, Development Department Director.
With the many benefits of the pact, perhaps other cities around Florida that are interested in creating more resilient food systems will subscribe.