Barcelona, GRAIN and Soberania alimentaria

Food Smart Cities for Development

Soberania Alimentaria

The global strategy of the city of Barcelona devotes great attention to food policies. Many departments and city institution are involved in the implementation of the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact. Two departments are directly involved in the Food Smart Cities for Development project : the Global Justice and International Cooperation Department and the Department of Consumer Affairs.
The Department of Consumer Affairs is in charge of:
• Lead and promote urban food policies in the city
• Regular coordination meetings between different departments and Commissioners of the City Council to discuss and cooperate towards a common food strategy for the entire city
• Assess local experiences and food initiatives in order to transform good practices into policies and programs, with the support of research and academic institutions.
• Promote social and solidarity economic initiatives to support local and agro-ecological production, distribution and consumption.

The Global Justice and International Cooperation Department is in charge of:
• Support to education and raising awareness programme
• Support to international cooperation programmes mainly in Latin America, Africa and Mediterranean Areas
• Advocacy

Over nearly two decades since Barcelona’s City Council began to carry out development cooperation actions, there has been a progressive evolution of the concepts and practices linked to a cooperation model. The model embraced by Barcelona is based on a vigorous community spirit of solidarity: one of Barcelona’s distinctive features within the international sphere.
The active exchange of experience and know-how in municipal management, and the teamwork among several Public Administrations form the core of the activities in this field.
The direct municipal cooperation carried out by Barcelona’s City Council by means of agreements with cities or networks of cities, is essential to the consolidation of the city’s specific leading role in initiatives to do with the exchange of good practices and the transfer of knowledge. This specific and distinctive public policy of the City Council provides a large added value to Barcelona in this city’s inter-relationship with the world


GRAIN Foundation and Revista Soberanía Alimentaria

GRAIN is a small international non-profit organisation that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems. Our support takes the form of independent research and analysis, networking at local, regional and international levels, and fostering new forms of cooperation and alliance-building. It is through collaboration and partnerships that we link in with local and national realities and play a meaningful role in our information, research, advocacy and networking activities. In Barcelona we work closely with the City Council and many groups. Among those we would like to highlight Soberanía Alimentaria Magazine (SAM). Together we produce and disseminate collaborative publications and analyses, and engage in collaborative projects such as FSC4D.
GRAIN/SAM’s work can be broadly divided into two fields: information work and movement building. On the information side, we specialise in monitoring and analysing trends that are affecting farmers’ and rural communities’ control over agricultural biodiversity. Many of these trends — like the push for genetic engineering or the aggressive expansion of laws that prevent farmers from saving seeds — are global, though they have their unique expressions at national, regional and local level. Others come from the grassroots level and we help to place them in a global perspective. Our unique setup allows us to plug into these developments and, together with others, produce useful analyses for different people.
On the movement-building side, GRAIN/SAM has long been active in networking, capacity sharing, linking people up and supporting strategy development among organisations and activists. The struggle over biodiversity, and over our food systems, is a struggle for power. As transnational corporations gain control of farming, people’s autonomy, culture and capacity to lead a better life are trampled and taken away from them. The struggle against this is a long and arduous one that can only be collective, as is the struggle to develop meaningful alternatives. As organisations with their feet spread around the world, GRAIN/SAM facilitates a lot of sharing, learning, and common agenda-setting across cultures and regions. In that way, we contribute to the empowerment of groups active on the ground.

GRAIN’s facebook:
SAM’s facebook:

Activities in Barcelona

To implement the Food Smart Cities for development  project a new coordinating group has been stablished between: Barcelona’s City Council (Ajuntament de Barcelona), in particular: the Division of Trade and Consumer Affairs (Direcció de Comerç i Consum) and  Division of Global Justice and International Cooperation (Direcció de Justícia...