Towards a new food model

The health of the planet and our own health are inseparable. By harming the planet, we harm ourselves. This is the point made by the prestigious scientist, Vandana Shiva, in the Barcelona Metròpolis issue dedicated to sustainable food. The world’s agri-food system has developed food-production mechanisms that could satisfy the entire population’s needs, but this is not the case. We need to rethink the way we feed ourselves and advance towards an environmentally friendly food-production and distribution model which no one is excluded from.

The subordination of food production to commercial optimisation criteria has led to a paradoxical reality: up to a third of the food produced is wasted in the wealthiest societies, while millions of people are starving or suffering from various types of malnutrition.

We should go “Towards a new food model” (title of dossier number 120 of the journal Barcelona Metròpolis), where organic agriculture, extensive livestock farming and a new distribution logistics based on local and seasonal production and commerce are set to become alternatives for advancing towards food sovereignty.

“Given that half of the world’s population lives in cities, we call on the latter to become the driving forces of a change that has to be profound, in line with the provisions established under the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact of 2015, signed by 210 cities, including Barcelona”, points out Milagros Pérez Oliva, the Director of Barcelona Metròpolis, in an editorial. “Unless we make changes, the future will look more like dystopias of collapse than the happy world of superabundance that certain food-industry advertising campaigns show us.”

The central dossier entitled “Towards a new food model”, besides Vandana Shiva’s text on biodiversity, features the opinions of experts is issues such as de-urbanisation, organic agriculture, obesity, sitopia and commodification.

Vandana Shiva, Ana Moragues Faus, Carolyn Steel, Gustavo Duch, María Dolores Raigón Jiménez, Mabel Gracia Arnáiz, Marta Guadalupe Rivera Ferre, Carles Soler, Raquel Díaz Ruiz and Anna Cornudella Giral offer contributions from different areas for rethinking the food model of cities. This collection of specialists will be taking part, from 19 to 21 October 2021, in the 7th Global Forum of the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, which will be dealing with the need for changing how we eat.

From how we eat to how we move

Transport is one of the determining factors for environmental sustainability. Barcelona heads the list of European cities with the highest density of cars: 5,844 per km2. How we get around, which forms of transport we use in our work and personal travel and which less polluting alternatives we can use, which neighbourhoods and which roads support greater volumes of traffic or how traffic accidents have evolved. We answer these questions on how we get about in the city in the “Barcelona in data” section, and invite reflection on the mobility model on the basis of that information.

In another area, the “Urban visions” section discusses the Barcelona Green Deal, the city’s new economic agenda, which sets out a road map for reactivation after the pandemic.

Essential language

“Music is the most spiritual of all the arts”, declares one of the Catalans with the highest international profile, Jordi Savall, the subject of Martí Sancliment’s interview. The performer explains how music for him has become the bastion for tackling barbarism and destitution, a meeting space and one of the most essential languages for understanding and listening to humanity.

debat gira al voltant de l’humanisme tecnològic, la confluència entre les arts i la tecnologia, i dona veu a un mosaic de visions que aplega professors universitaris, investigadors, gestors culturals i artistes digitals que treballen en aquesta intersecció. També ho fa Monica Rikić, the subject of the interview in the “Culture Folder”, calls for cooperation with machines: “If the relationship people have with robots is healthy, there doesn’t have to be a problem, as far as I’m concerned”.

Joan Guerrero’s photo reportage, Human glances, documents life “on the margins” of the city and speaks to us about immigrants who have come to Barcelona from around the world. Finally, the metaphorically charged sketches that illustrate this number’s dossier are by Riki Blanco.