Urban Food Systems in Three Countries

Bee Hives

Vancouver; October 20, 2021 – The Transatlantic Climate Bridge (TCB) program (https://www.facebook.com/ClimateBridge/) was launched in 2008 jointly by The German Federal Foreign Office and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment. The purpose of the program is to strengthen climate cooperation and dialogue between Germany, Canada and the USA on all levels, support announced changes in USA climate policy, and to involve the USA more closely in the international climate process.

Through trilateral formats, the event series Transatlantic Climate Bridge: Climate-friendly urban food systems for Dortmund, Vancouver and Pittsburgh will facilitate exchange between cities in Germany, Canada and the USA. This event series focuses on urban diplomacy and city collaborations in the fight against climate change. The series includes high-profile panel discussions, expert workshops and field visits to food-related businesses, institutions and community initiatives.

This online event was free to attend and the first in a series of city exchange on urban food systems. It was open to all citizens interested in climate-friendly urban food systems, and was followed by a networking session open to all participants and attendees.

Dortmund (© pixabay)

The three cities of Dortmund (Germany), Vancouver (Canada) and Pittsburgh (USA) all hold bold visions for thriving, resilient futures. They have all made aggressive commitments to addressing climate change, including the impact on local food supply, through innovation, policy and action.

Vancouver (©pixabay)

We were given the opportunity to explore the urban food strategies of Dortmund, Vancouver and Pittsburgh, and their challenge to provide a sustainable food supply in a time of climate change and food-related green house gas emissions. As the cities increasingly find their own solutions through innovation in local and cross-sectoral food policy, they can bring a wealth of insights and experience to share.

Image by Bryan Pendleton from Pixabay

The first panel examined regional food value chains and their political, economic and social framework parameters, including food-related climate change mitigation and adaptation, food waste reduction schemes, healthy and sustainable food procurement for public canteens, food democracy and consumer education.

Image by Photo Mix from Pixabay

The second panel discussed the potential impact of urban farming. Innovations in high tech indoor farms, community gardens, edible public spaces and city farms with social projects bring their own challenges and opportunities. Urban farming can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions through decreasing long-distance food transportation and waste production, build a resilient urban food supply and circular food economy and support effective land management and soil restoration. This panel presents best practices and lessons learned on urban farming projects in the cities of Dortmund, Vancouver and Pittsburgh. They also discussed challenges and solutions regarding implementation on the ground.

Panelists Included:

Alessa Heuser
Office for International Relations, Sustainable Development, City of Dortmund, Germany

Shelly Danko+Day
Urban Agriculture and Food Policy Adviser, City of Pittsburgh, PA

Meg O’Shea
Senior Manager, Economic Transformation, City of Vancouver, BC

Jan Westra
Business Development, Priva BV, De Lier, The Netherlands

Michael Ableman 
Co-Founder of Sole Food Street Farms, Vancouver, BC

Rolf Morgenstern
Urban Farming Expert, South Westphalia University of Applied Sciences – Department of Agriculture, Dortmund, Germany

The meeting ended with a virtual networking session on “Wonder”. Wonder is a space where you can connect to others in a spontaneous and fluid way online. You can move around freely between groups, just like an actual networking session. It was a great opportunity to meet some of the presenters and attendees in a relaxed and comfortable environment.


The complete recording can be found here: https://ictac.events.idloom.com/transat-climate-bridge

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