Support for local food

The issue of local food is one of the most commonly and enthusiastically embraced of all the issues around localisation. A particular challenge is the issue of food sovereignty for urban areas, given that by 2030 an estimated 60 percent of all people will live in cities (FAO, 2009). From British allotment gardening, to community supported agriculture, to Cuban urban agriculture, to Japanese rooftop gardens – there are more and more examples of intra-urban and peri-urban areas being transformed into productive food-growing land.

Producing food locally, even in an urban environment means short transport routes, less processing and packaging. In the U.S., these parts of the value chain consume more than a third of all energy used for food production. Limiting these activities can substantially reduce the carbon footprint of each meal. In addition, urban food policies encourage consumption of nutritious food, provide food security and sovereignty. Members of the community can be become involved. Jobs and occupation, and income opportunities are created. Local agriculture projects create solidarity and purpose among the communities, sustaining morale and help building community pride.

To set up an urban agriculture programme, a framework of policies is needed. First, people should be enabled to gain access and usufruct ownership of land to be used for agriculture purposes. Depending on the social structures of the region, land should be leased for free or for a low rent. The lease of land must be organised and monitored by the municipal government, encouraging a wide range of fruits, vegetables and spices to be cultivated in the area. The gardeners and farmers can work on their own or establish production cooperatives. In addition, gardeners and farmers can be organized in loose associations to facilitate the dissemination of information and technical knowledge among themselves, and to exchange seeds and to share tools..

Government should set up information centers. These could sell agricultural supplies to the public that would otherwise be difficult to obtain, such as vegetable and medicinal seeds and seedlings, biological pesticides, organic fertilizer and tools. For sale of the produce, spaces at farmer markets should be provided for subsidised rent. If necessary, municipalities have to organise markets or other sale opportunities. Also, on-site sale should be encouraged. Finally, it must be ensured that produce is sold at prices that are affordable to the local community. This could be made a condition for accepting a farmer to participate in an urban agriculture programme. Helpful assistance can be provided by NGOs, and organizations such as the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) which supports urban agriculture in its ‘Food in the City’ programme.

Case study: Cuba

After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the reduction of its imports of machines, food, and fertilizers in 1989, Cuba was forced to move towards food self-sufficiency. When food shortages due to the lack of fuel for tractors and lorries caused serious food supply problems, the government decided to encourage people to practice agriculture within Cuba’s cities. Soon gardens sprouted up everywhere – at housing estates, schools, community centres, hospitals and factories.

Cuba’s urban agriculture program aims to provide each person with at least 300 grams of fresh vegetables per day. By 2002, over 35,000 hectares of urban land were used for the intensive production of fruits, vegetables and spices. 117,000 people working in Cuba’s urban gardens produce over half the country’s vegetables, fruit, chickens and rabbits with zero transportation costs. The main source of compost is bagasse trucked in from Cuba’s sugar cane fields as an organic growing medium.

Cuba’s urban agriculture program provides good quality seeds, advice on composting, crop rotations earthworms, and on dealing with bacterial and fungal diseases without relying on chemical pesticides. Cuba’s food policies have been developed out of necessity but they are highly relevant for a world faced with the need to assure food security for all in an age of climate change.

Survey of Future Just Biodiversity Laws & Policies



This paper, written by the WFC and CISDL, surveys the world’s best national biodiversity laws and sectoral policies highlighting exceptional provisions as examples of Future-Justice.

Policy Concepts: How to mitigate climate change in the agriculture and food sector

Agriculture can play an important role as a carbon sink, storing carbon in the soil and in plant matter, and by efficiently managing the world’s resources of water, land and biodiversity. Until now, the main thrust to manage greenhouse gases by land use has been to increase CO2 sequestration by trees, plants and crops. But there is also considerable potential for sequestering carbon below ground in soils, deposited as dead plant material or in inorganic forms. The 4th IPCC Assessment Report found that 89 per cent of agriculture’s technical mitigation potential lies in enhancing soil carbon sinks through better crop- and grazing land management, increase of organic matter in degraded soils, and by use of carbon-neutral bio-energy. To make best use of this potential the WFC proposes to support organic farming solutions.

In addition to measures for enriching farmland and pastures with ‘conventional’ organic matter, a potentially important additional option is available in the form of ‘biochar’. As shown, packaging and transportation is responsible for more than one fifth of carbon emissions in  the food sector. A large share of these emissions could be avoided with local food. Moreover, localisation of the food industry creates local jobs and business opportunities. Hence the WFC presents policy concepts to  support locally produced food through labelling or state donations. Under the ‘Clean Development Mechanism’ (CDM), developing countries could participate in global agreements and access needed funds to introduce less harmful technologies into their economic development. The successor to Kyoto should extend CDM to bio-sequestration projects. Increasing soil carbon should become central to future land use policies. To find out more about low-carbon agriculture and food policy concepts go to

Crafting Future Just Biodiversity Laws and Policies



This paper applies the seven principles of future just law making to biodiversity laws and policies to help explain to decision-makers how to develop visionary biodiversity laws and the key elements to those laws. It also surveys the world‘s best national biodiversity laws and sectoral policies highlighting exceptional provisions as examples of Future Justice in law.

International Humanitarian Law and Nuclear Weapons


The inaugural issue of the Nuclear Abolition Forum offers a variety of perspectives on international humanitarian law (IHL) and nuclear weapons, including the development of IHL since the 1996 International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons and the current state of the law with regard to use, threat and possession of nuclear weapons.

Future Policy Award 2011: Celebrating the World’s best Forest Policies


On the occasion of the UN International Year of Forests, the WFC chose forests as the topic for the Future Policy Award 2011 to highlight challenges faced by many of the world’s forests and the solutions in place for people who depend on them. To ensure that forests can still provide their multitude of services in the future, decision-makers urgently need to spread policies for the sustainable management, conservation and sustainable development of forests.


Climate Change, Nuclear Risks and Nuclear Disarmament


This article examines the linkages between nuclear and climate risks, identifies areas where both threats converge, and offers an approach to move from living under these security threats to building sustain-able peace. By bringing to light the multidimensional interplay between climate change, nuclear risks and nuclear disarmament, this study aims to help the reader grasp their interconnectedness and recognize its critical implications for the strategic security environment. In addition, it explores prospects and open-ings to tackle these key challenges.

From vision to action: A workshop report on 100% Renewable Energies in European Regions



This report is a documentation of the parliamentary hearing hosted by the World Future Council, the Nordic Folkecenter and the Climate Service Center (CSC) at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht. The workshop took place on October 4th to 7th 2012 at the Nordic Folkecenter in Hurup Thy, Denmark. It provided a platform for policy makers and experts to share knowledge, exchange ideas, develop strategies and build up networks in order to implement the 100% Renewable Energies (RE) target across European regions. The overall goal was to enable decision makers from European regions to undertake the necessary political action to realize the 100% RE goal by presenting political instruments and strategies that showed success elsewhere in Europe. In this multi -stakeholder dialogue, 40 representatives from national, regional and local governments as well as academia and civil society from 15 European countries and Canada participated.

Future Policy Award 2010: Celebrating the World’s best Biodiversity Policies



The World Future Council chose the topic of biodiversity for the Future Policy Award 2010 to raise awareness about its acute loss, which threatens wildlife, the environment and our common future. In the face of the looming biodiversity crisis, policy-makers must work urgently towards ambitious and comprehensive biodiversity policies.


Regenerative Cities



Creating regenerative cities primarily means one thing: initiating comprehensive political, financial and technological strategies for an environmentally restorative relationship between cities and the ecosystems from which they draw resources for their sustenance. Introducing “Agropolis”, “Petropolis” and “Ecopolis” this WFC brochure by WFC Honorary Councillor Herbert Girardet explains how such a healthy relationship can be built.