Buying local - food
From a presentation at a GoLab Conference
The Government Outcomes Lab (GoLab) is a research and policy centre based in the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford. Their role is to investigate how governments partner with the private and social sectors to improve social outcomes.
At a recent conference, one of the presentations was from policy makers from Colombia, South America. They presented a public procurement law concerning food which addresses rural poverty, cuts food miles, helps food security and creates local markets.
The policy makers explain the background. “The public procurement of food in Colombia is a very much a story about doubling the efforts to address rural poverty, to address food insecurity and to address high levels of inequality between those in the cities and those in rural areas. Most of the poor people in Colombia live in the countryside and most of them are the ones who produce our food. The question we've been working on is ‘How can a government collaborate with family farmers to create inclusive markets for marginalized small farmers, to invigorate local economies?’ and ‘How can these partnerships improve nutrition for beneficiaries of social programs?’"
A law was passed two years ago that mandates all government agencies that purchase food e.g., military bases, hospitals, prisons, schools, etc., to buy a minimum of 30% of food from local smallholders/farms. Smallholders who didn't have a market before, now have new markets.
“Before, most of the food was being purchased from two large retailers and most of the food was coming from outside the area. Some of the challenges that we've identified so far are data and capacity of smallholders to produce enough quantity, with enough quality and with food safety. They need technical assistance.”
The presentation is here (from 11:48 to 22:20).
Could the organisations you are involved with set an example here and order their food directly from local farmers? This would also help create the habits of eating of seasonal foods and keep funds in local area.
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