OraTaiao submission, 6 May 2020
The food system is a major contributor to ill health and many of the environmental challenges facing us nationally and globally. In New Zealand, food production contributes about half of the country’s total climate pollution. Both central and local government have significant parts to play in addressing the urgent transformation that is now needed in the way we produce and consume food. Cities are increasingly recognising this around the world.
We therefore wish to submit below on two specific aspects of your Annual Plan.
We would encourage Nelson City Council to sign up to the C40 Good Food Cities Declaration. These cities commit to:
- Align food procurement policies to the Planetary Health Diet ideally sourced from organic agriculture
- Support an overall increase of healthy plant-based food consumption in our cities by shifting away from unsustainable, unhealthy diets.
- Reduce food loss and waste by 50% from 2015 figures; and
- Work with citizens, businesses, public institutions and other organisations to develop a joint strategy for implementing these measures and achieving these goals inclusively and equitably, and incorporating this strategy into the city’s Climate Action Plan.
Healthy eating, including increased intake of plant-based foods and less consumption of red meat and animal fat (particularly highly processed animal products), would, while helping to reduce agricultural GHG emissions, lead to significant improvements in health outcomes (e.g. by reducing rates of heart disease and bowel cancer).
The C40 Good Food Cities Declaration has the potential to reduce or increase social and health inequities, depending on its implementation. We therefore urge Nelson City Council to put health and social equity at the heart of any ensuing plan, accompanied by a strong commitment to the Articles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. In particular any such declaration would need to be implemented in full partnership with mana whenua, ensure that the protection and enhancement of mahinga kai was a priority, ensuring food sovereignty for Māori. It would also need to address food poverty in Nelson and ensure that healthy and sustainable eating was affordable and accessible for all households.
The references below (particularly the Lawrence and Friel book) are useful resources for putting such a declaration into practice.
Ministry of Health. 2019. Sustainability and the Health Sector: A guide to getting started. Wellington: Ministry of Health.
Willett, W., Rockström, J., Loken, B., Springmann, M., Lang, T., Vermeulen, S., et al. (2019). Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT–Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems. The Lancet, 393 (10170), 447-492.
EAT-Lancet Commission (2019b) Brief for Healthcare Professionals. Healthy diets from sustainable food systems https://eatforum.org/lancet-commission/healthcare-professionals/
Lawrence, M & Friel, S (2019) Healthy and sustainable food systems. London, England: Routledge.
FAO and WHO. (2019) Sustainable healthy diets – Guiding principles. Rome.