Tuesday, 27 Jul 2021  |  Reading time:  12 mins  | Read online

Welcome to the first-ever Global Local newsletter from LGIU!

Each week we’ll focus on a different global topic, highlighting innovative content and insights from LGIU and our members around the world.  

Photo by Marisol Benitez on Unsplash

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This week, we’re looking at community gardens and the role that they can play connecting individuals with nature and food systems, addressing food insecurity and building more resilient communities. We’ll also look at how local governments can encourage edible gardening at home and in shared spaces.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be covering sustainable energy sources and issues affecting Indigenous communities. If you would be keen to share a story on our blog or a strategy from your council, fill in this simple form or drop me a line at [email protected].

Have a story to share? Get in touch!

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Click here to find out more about Global Local from LGIU

This week's featured content

How South African local governments can support urban food growing post Covid-19

By Simone Phoré, LGIU Associate

So why now? The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted supply chains and left millions unable to meet basic nutritional needs, triggering higher levels of deprivation among the most impoverished and historically disadvantaged communities in South Africa. But it has also provided a window into opportunities for much-needed food system reform.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has served as a wake-up call or perhaps confirmed what was already known.”

What can local government do? There is currently no formal mandate for local government in South Africa to address food security. Food systems governance is largely driven by highly concentrated private-sector interest, contributing to significant knowledge gaps around urban food systems, while the governance of these systems is neither transparent nor democratic.

However, local government has intervened. The City of Cape Town formalised its commitment to urban food production through the Urban Agriculture Policy (2007), seeking to alleviate poverty and improve household food security as well as the nutritional status of people. The City’s 'Food Gardens Project' commenced in January 2021, focusing on promoting households’ food security and reaffirming the need for urban farming programmes. 

LGIU Global Local Highlights


Bundle: Growing success with community gardens
We’ve brought together all our recent LGIU content on community gardens and food security in one place. We highlight global case studies including the growth of the high-tech Western Australian Food Innovation Precinct and a community food strategy from the world-renowned Angus area of Scotland. 
Read our content here.

Insights into sustaining European urban agriculture projects
How can municipalities make urban farming projects thrive in the long term? This blog covers lessons from project leaders in Greece, Portugal and Bulgaria that range from cutting-edge digital mapping to creative ways to nourish soil. 
Read the blog here.

LGIU Fortnightly podcast: Community gardens
Ingrid Koehler talks with LGIU's Alice Creasy and Greg Potter, who works with the Cincinnati Civic Gardens in Ohio, USA to help communities get in touch with nature and grow their own food. We also feature a segment from one of our favourite past episodes: a calm walk through the community orchard in Llandrindod Wells, Wales. 
Listen to the podcast here.

Innovation & Inspiration

Curated case studies and news from around the globe

ARGENTINA: $250,000 award for food growing project on abandoned urban land

A ten-year project converting underused public land into resilient food-growing spaces by the Municipality of Rosario was announced as the winner of the 2020-2021 World Resources Institute (WRI) Ross Center Prize for Cities last month. The 'Urban Agriculture Program' was launched to boost food security after Argentina’s third-largest city suffered a 2001 economic crash. Further threats from flooding and rising heat levels led the project to grow and evolve. Participants can sell their food at seven new permanent market spaces, with up to 2,500 tonnes of fruit and vegetables produced annually. More than 2,400 local families are now involved in urban agriculture.
WRI Ross Center Prize for Cities

Related: Recycled single-use plastic planters help to popularise portable vegetable gardens in Buenos Aires CGTN America / Joel Richards

USA: Chicago ‘Food Equity Agenda’ seeks to improve BIPOC urban farming access

Pilot urban farming programmes, targeted education and employment schemes and increased equitable water access are proposed through a City of Chicago initiative aiming to reduce urban agriculture barriers for producers who are Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC). These measures are part of a broader plan to address unequal and insecure food access in Chicago: a problem severely exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The city intends to establish a formal Food Equity Council to identify at-risk areas and implement measurable goals, featuring local food bank, community groups and academic representatives.
Eater Chicago / Naomi Waxman & Ashok Selvam

Related: Black urban farmers tackle link between food insecurity and gun violence in St. Louis Kansas City Star / Hurubie Meko

AUSTRALIA: ‘Veggie verges’ proposal receives council support

Verge vegetable patches were given in-principle support by Adelaide's City of Tea Tree Gully Council earlier this year. After initial council outlay, residents would be responsible for maintaining and watering the verges. Deputy Mayor Lucas Jones said he had been “bombarded with requests” from residents wanting their street to be included in a trial. Other verge initiatives by the council include banning artificial turf from outside residential properties in 2019. However, similar verge schemes previously introduced by the nearby Cities of Marion and Charles Sturt have had “low” uptake when residents were responsible for maintenance and development costs, according to staff.
The Messenger / Ben Cameron

Related: Perth study finds verge gardens boost residents’ wellbeing and connection with nature and place The University of Western Australia / Natasha Pauli & Simone Hewett

UK: Food-growing rooftop trial planned for ex-council building

A “live lab” green rooftop pilot will transform a former Milton Keynes Council office building currently being used as a mass vaccination centre. Part of the council’s Green Business Recovery Fund, the project will offer training and development opportunities for local young people, including YMCA residents. The project aims to show urban rooftops’ potential for food growing, carbon capture and boosting biodiversity. The initiative was announced on 6 June to mark World Green Roof Day.
/ Milton Keynes Citizen / Sally Murrer /

Related: A Parisian conference centre is home to the largest urban rooftop farm in the world Inexhibit / Riccardo Bianchini

Policy & Resources

To help you develop your own food strategy, we’ve brought together a selection of useful policies and resources from across the globe.

Read: The City of Whitehorse in the Yukon, Canada completed its Local Food and Urban Agriculture Study in 2020, including a 10-year work plan, goals and achievable actions that the city government can lead or support others to implement. 

Watch: The amazing Pam Warhurst of Incredible Edible Todmorden in the North of England, explains how they started for a TedX Newcastle talk. It’s a 2015 video, but Incredible Edible is still growing! 

Listen: Love of Dirt is an Australian-based podcast about better and more sustainable food growing. Super short episodes have tips and tricks that aren’t just based on the Australian climate, answering commonly-asked questions like: "Can you compost dog and cat poo?"

Share: Sustainable Food Places is a network of food partnerships in communities of all sizes across the UK, often with the local authority as a key partner. In the US, Johns Hopkins University's 

Food Policy Networks group supports the growth and development of Food Policy Councils.

Interested in other LGIU Global content?

Floods of the future: What can we learn from recent responses to flooding?

Last week, parts of Germany, ​​the Netherlands and Belgium experienced catastrophic flooding after record rainfall levels. Questions arose around how this flooding led to such devastating outcomes, with the death toll rising and core infrastructure predicted to remain impacted for months to come. Read the publication here.

Global Local Executive Panel: Building community wealth

LGiU Australia and VLGA are bringing together a panel of expert speakers from Australia and Scotland to discuss community wealth building in the latest of our executive panel series.

Date: 19 August
Time: 17:30 AEST / 08:30 BST

Thanks for reading!

Next week, we're focusing on sustainable energy sources. We'll explore how local authorities can make cleaner energy part of their climate action commitments, supported by best practice case studies and the latest technological advances.

Want us to cover a topic? Get in touch!

If you would like to share your story, you can fill in this simple form or drop me a line at [email protected]. Please forward this free newsletter to a colleague or share it on social media to help us reach even more people who value local government globally. We tweet from @GlobalLocalLGIU.

Want more content? Visit our website to access our Global Local briefings, blogs, podcast and more.

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