Panel 4

How to design socially inclusive, healthy, and sustainable food systems? Exploring the legislative-policy gap

Organizers: Marco Borraccetti; Matteo Vittuari; Elisa Iori; Susanna Villani

University of Bologna, Italy

Topics: Health policies, governance and practices in a postpandemic era; Knowledge co-creation, citizens science, co-design processes, material publics and grassroot innovation

Keywords: Co-creation, Healthy and sustainable behaviors, European Green Deal, Public participation

At the European Union level, the European Green Deal lays the basis for an updated legal framework seeking to improve environmental protection while maximizing benefits for health, quality of life, resilience, and competitiveness. Moreover, the EU and its Member States are parties to the Aarhus Convention that also strengthens the rights of the public to receive information about environmental law – to include legislation protecting human health. In effect, although the great effort in shifting food systems towards a more sustainable transition, feeding a fast-growing world population remains a challenge with current production patterns. Food production still results in air, water, soil pollution, biodiversity loss and ecosystems degradation, causing negative externalities such as climate change, exploitation of natural resources, and an important share of food wasted. At the same time, unhealthy diets are one of the major risk factors for Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) related to the 74% of all deaths globally (WHO). Cities are acknowledged as the main protagonists in shaping the transition. Additionally, the direct involvement of citizens is crucial to design and support strategies towards healthier and more sustainable behaviors, giving to consumers better information.

Against this background, the panel intends to explore the evolution of participatory and inclusive approach involving public authorities, civil society, and other different stakeholders, to deliver knowledge and skills related to local food environments, interconnected system of shared knowledge, boosting resilient practices and stimulating large-scale behavioral changes.

The panelists will critically discuss the current normative and policy framework concerning food habits and food waste at the EU and national levels under the lens of the European Green Deal. Moreover, attention will be paid to the level of access to decision-making procedures, i.e., public participation in plans and programs aimed at reducing food waste and improving healthy and sustainable behaviors.