What is city offer?
Municipalities can approach Agenda Stad with a problem or opportunity that requires more ministries to solve. “If more municipalities are affected by the problem, we will initiate a City Agreement on that theme. Anyone who needs to solve it can join. Think of knowledge institutions, the social partners, municipalities, ministries and sometimes also citizens ”, Reniers explains. The leaders of these parties sign it and make an effort to be more aware of the theme in the coming years.
The strength of City Deals is that a coalition of frontrunners is addressing a transitional theme. “The front runners know they have to do something about it, but they do not yet know where and how to start. Together, they each hold a piece of the puzzle. “All participating parties contribute financially and make a budget available for the task.” It can, for example, be used as a research budget to find out existing laws and regulations. If the current legislation and regulations does not work properly, we as ministries will see if we can make some adjustments. ” During and after a City Deal, the insight gained is disseminated to other municipalities and relevant stakeholders.
You’ve been involved in City Deals on food from the beginning. What got the first City Deal: Food on the Urban Agenda in 2017?
There were several reasons, all at different levels. First of all, there was worldwide awareness of the theme of healthy and sustainable food policy. Milan’s urban food policy pact resulted in extensive international research on this theme and a promise from global cities to exchange knowledge on food policy. “It became more and more clear that cities must do something about food policy. It was a wake-up call, “says Reniers.” Several other countries were much further along with their food policy than the Netherlands. Canada in particular had come a long way. At the national level, the request was made by the former Secretary of State for Economic Affairs. Affairs, Martijn van Dam, switching from agricultural policy to a food policy The big question was how to do it.In that context, City Deal could act as an experiment and help in the search for answers.The municipalities were just decentralized and therefore given the responsibility for the law on social support and youth care. “They sought solutions to the growing number of sick, often caused by the growing number of overweight. The start of a city agreement on food policy proved to be a logical response to all three developments.”
What was the big win at City Deal Food on the urban agenda?
At the end of that city deal, many more cities had food policies than at the beginning. “When City Deal Food on the Urban Agenda started in 2017, everyone was wondering why municipalities should think food policy,” says Reniers. At that time, there was great opposition to the idea that the municipalities should ‘decide’ what the citizens may or should not eat. Also from the municipalities themselves. ‘People think they decide for themselves what they eat. But more and more research shows that we do not choose ourselves, but that our social and physical environment does. ” You can read more about this topic in the article ‘Our environment determines what we eat’. This realization has now penetrated into many more municipalities and more and more municipalities are starting to think food policy. “It’s a big mentality change.” A great deal of knowledge about food policy has also been developed. A study conducted by the University of Amsterdam mapped the municipal instruments. “It is becoming more and more clear that the municipalities have a responsibility for a healthy food environment, but that they have few tools to change anything.” These insights led to a follow-up, City Deal Healthy and Sustainable Food Environment.
What is City Deal Healthy and Sustainable Food Environment all about?
It became more and more clear that the food environment plays a very big role in a person’s eating behavior. “Where a person’s cot is located affects his or her lifetime, which is partly determined by the food supply in that neighborhood. In neighborhoods with a lower SEE YA (socio-economic status) people die 7 years earlier. And there live the 15 years of their already shorter lives, more with poor health than people with higher SES ”, regrets Reniers. In this City Deal, the municipalities are experimenting with making the food environment healthier and more sustainable. They do this in so-called test areas, where they use nudging to tempt citizens to make healthier choices. The municipalities are also actively working to facilitate local farmers who want to sell their healthy products.