Award-winning City of Milan Food Policy creates blueprint for tackling food poverty and waste.
A third of all food produced globally is wasted - and yet hundreds of millions suffer from food insecurity. The global food system is a huge contributor to the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for around 25-30%. Not only this but mass food production eats through precious resources and places huge pressure on agriculture - so for each item discarded unnecessarily, we push ourselves closer to climate despair. But Milan offers food for thought with its Food Policy initiative.
Winners of the first ever Earthshot Prize, Milano Food Policy, seek to address this dichotomy of food waste and poverty. Launched in 2019, the City of Milan’s Food Waste Hubs salvage unused food and distribute it to local NGOs able to support those most in need. The majority of this food waste comes from supermarkets, company canteens and third sector entities. Currently with three Food Waste Hubs across the city (in Isola, Lambrate and Gallaratese), each recovers around 130 tonnes of food per year (or 350kg per day) - estimated to be the equivalent of 260,000 meals annually.
Milano Food Policy became the first winners of the category ‘Build a Waste Free-World’ - one of five categories of the Earthshot Prize awarded in 2021. The project was chosen from a total of 750 applicants and was selected by a panel of international experts. The prize money of £1 million goes towards enhancing these hubs and creating more centres in cities around the world that have signed up to the Milan Food Policy Pact.
Since winning the prize, the city has expanded their work by implementing a new hub in Municipio 4 at Foody - the agri-food market of Milan. "This project represents a concrete and relevant opportunity to expand the mix of products donated to charitable structures by promoting a balanced diet for the people who need it most" says Dario Boggio Marzet , President of Banco Alimentare Lombardia . "The combination of food quality and human dignity is particularly dear to us, which is why we strongly believe in this project and in the importance of synergy between the partners involved".
The first major city to implement a city-wide food waste policy encompassing public agencies, food banks, charities NGOs, universities and private businesses, Milan aims to halve its waste by 2030. And its plans bear fruit. Through Milan’s ingenuity, they are creating a model that can be reproduced around the world - meaning that cities could become key contributors to tackling food poverty as we work towards a waste free world.
MORE ABOUT THE EARTHSHOT PRIZE
The Earthshot Prize is a prestigious global environment prize launched by Prince William and The Royal Foundation in October 2020. The Prize is designed to incentivise change and help repair our planet over the next ten years and aims to turn the current pessimism surrounding environmental issues into optimism, by highlighting the ability of human ingenuity to bring about change, and inspiring collective action.
The Earthshot Prize is centred around five ‘Earthshots’ – simple but ambitious goals for our planet which if achieved by 2030 will improve life for us all, for generations to come. Find out more about the prize here.
Read more about the winning project at Milano Food Policy here.