Bringing cities to the forefront of the debate over the right to food

LUPPA is an Urban Laboratory of Public Food Policies


It’s a collaborative platform for the development of integrated, participatory, and systemic municipal food policies.


Urban population has already surpassed rural population, and cities have an important role as agents of positive transformation in food systems. To ensure the human right to adequate food and nutrition, any solution designed to address the current challenges of food systems must take into account urban dynamics.

We believe that municipal governments and local organizations are essential players in this transformation ecosystem, and it was from this conviction that LUPPA – Urban Laboratory of Public Food Policies was born.

LUPPA was conceived as a tool to assist cities in achieving healthy food systems for people and the planet, resilience to climate and economic vulnerabilities, and promoters of social justice, based on the democratic construction of integrated and coherent policies that address urban food challenges systemically.

A public policy laboratory addresses the need to increase the number of Brazilian cities that develop strategic and multi-annual food policies. It also addresses the need to broaden data and information sources on local food systems.

Explore our website to learn more about this journey.

Um dos grandes desafios para as cidades, especialmente as mais urbanizadas, é garantir sistemas alimentares sustentáveis e uma dieta saudável a todos os seus habitantes. A população demanda cada vez mais que as cidades facilitem o acesso à alimentação saudável e a comunidade internacional convoca-as a tomarem posições fortes no combate às mudanças climáticas.

One of the biggest challenges for cities, particularly the most densely populated ones, is ensuring sustainable food systems and a healthy diet for all of their residents. The population is increasingly demanding that cities make healthy food more accessible, and the international community is urging them to take bold stances in the battle against climate change.

Cities must be supported in order to establish healthy food systems that are robust to climatic and economic vulnerabilities and promote social justice, for people and the planet. We founded LUPPA to address this demand as a public policy laboratory.

We want to highlight initiatives that systematically address urban food challenges; disseminate relevant information; and strengthen the democratic process for the development and implementation of public policies.

Why is it important to address food policies in a systematic manner?

Food access is guaranteed by the Brazilian Constitution and is also a human right. Despite this, a lack of such access is a reality, both as a cause and a result of social inequality and rising poverty.

Food systems are ailing, posing significant difficulties to populations and governments alike. Below are some national data to back this up:

  • Over 1⁄4 of the adult population is obese.1
  • The current food production model amplifies the climate crisis, but it also suffers the consequences of this change.3
  • Nutrition insecurity, caused by a lack of regular consumption of healthy foods, leads to an increase in obesity and all forms of malnutrition over time, generating an enormous cost to public health.5
  • Over 50% of the Brazilian population has some degree of food insecurity; and 9% of this population is starving, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic.2
  • The cost of healthy eating is prohibitively expensive for most of the population. In South America, healthy eatingcosts approximately four times the cost of a basic, calorie-sufficient one.4
  • In addition, massive urbanization creates stoppages in food distribution logistics.

Fontes: 1IBGE – PNS – Brazilian National Survey of Health, 2019. 2Rede PENSSAN, 2020. 3According to OC – Observatório do Clima, 40% of the Brazilian territory is occupied by agricultural activities, which, together with the deforestation associated with this activity, accounted for 69% of GHG emissions in 2018. 4FAO – SOFI 2020. 5According to INCA, 50% of federal spending on cancer in the SUS system, in 2018, and according to the Revista Panamericana de Salud magazine, 41% of total spending on chronic diseases in the SUS system, in 2018.

The answers to these challenges may come from different agents and sources, but the importance of the governments is undeniable. Access to food, as a right, must be guaranteed by various types and themes of public policies.

These policies can offer efficient, enduring, legitimate, and hence effective results when they are integrated, coherent, created in a participatory manner, strategically planned and monitored, based on a systemic view of food, and focused on territorial dynamics.

LUPPA was created so that municipal governments and other urban food system agents could collaborate in the development of public food policies and respond creatively and disruptively to contemporary demands, based on a mutual support, knowledge exchange, and inspiration in successes and failures strategies.

Building healthy, sustainable, and crisis-resilient food systems depends on effective policies – not just emergency policies.

In this context, municipal governments play a key role in this. But we also need to involve local civil society in LUPPA. There are numerous alternatives, and no single model fits everyone. Each territory has its own set of issues, as well as its own set of most pressing and rising demands. Governments do not often innovate, but they do have the ability to learn from and scale societal. The inventiveness required to address today’s food system concerns typically comes from societal voices.

However, most cities’ political agendas do not yet incorporate food systems.


It’s time to change this reality!

Discover the cities that have already embarked on this journey with us!

To ensure that all forms of malnutrition are eliminated and that food systems are sustainable and resilient, national governments’ actions, however considerable, are insufficient. Local governments and municipal food policies play a critical role in this transformation.

What is the LUPPA definition of municipal food policy?

LUPPA defines food policy as any government program aiming at increasing food production or access to food.

Municipal government programs include: urban agriculture, urban gardens, food supply, street fairs and municipal markets, school meals, food banks, popular restaurants, community kitchens, sanitary control, food environment regulation, educational campaigns, training cooks and cooking teachers, organic waste management, composting, and much more.

Governments frequently have parts of these programs, but no systematic strategy that spans many government ministries. Even if there is a formal policy in place with goals and indicators, the activities stated must be in line with the government budget.

A multi-year food strategy should include measures in a variety of areas, including health, education, social aid or development, supply, agriculture and fishery, the environment, economic development, employment, and income.

What can cities do?

Cities can, for example, use their plans to:

  • promote and encourage local food production, urban agriculture, and short food distribution circuits;
  • use institutional food purchasing to achieve healthy food and sustainable system goals;
  • ensure healthy food in schools, from a sustainable chain;
  • fight waste generation and promote composting on a circularity concept basis; regulate activities related to food systems, including income and occupation promotion;
  • assegurar alimentação escolar saudável, de cadeia sustentável;
  • stimulate local fairs, agroecological fairs, as well as those with food coming directly from the producers;
  • fight food insecurity and advocate for the democratization of access to healthy, sustainable food in all territories.


A cyclical and continuous project

LUPPA activities are carried out in annual cycles, defined as LUPPA editions. Each edition begins with the selection of new cities, through a call for cities of up to 1.5 million inhabitants, which aims to identify local governments committed to the food agenda, within the greatest possible territorial diversity. A quota of 40% of the available seats is dedicated to cities located in the Legal Amazon.

After the selection, civil society representatives from the social control council of each selected city are invited to take part in the program, preferably the Municipal Food and Nutrition Security Council, if there is one. Interviews and diagnoses are then conducted with the selected cities, which are invited to participate in a series of meetings (workshops) that will ensure the exchange of experiences between the cities, along with cities from past editions that have reaffirmed their commitment.

The municipal food system diagnostic matrix developed by LUPPA is an important tool for gathering data – which is made available on the LUPPA MAP – and for exercising intersectoral cooperation between municipal administrations.

Seminars are also offered by LUPPA’s content partners, the mentoring organizations. This initial phase ensures that the LAB is prepared following the needs and interests of the participating cities.

The LUPPA LAB, an immersive conference in which all participating cities engage themselves in a voyage of learning and intense exchange of experiences, is hosted once throughout each edition. The LAB is a key moment in the journey of each LUPPA edition and is an exclusive event for representatives of the participating cities, both their governments and their councils.

After the LAB, the mentoring phase begins during which exclusive workshops are held to strengthen technical cooperation between each of LUPPA’s mentoring cities and two or three selected cities. This is an intense time for sharing experiences, which benefits both the participating cities and the program’s mentoring cities.

At the same time, follow-up workshops are held every two months for the entire LUPPA Community, and not just the mentoring groups, continuing the work of the edition.

We also encourage participating cities to join international commitments for healthy and sustainable food systems and thus take a leading role in this global agenda.

Watch our webinars to learn more about the methodology and LUPPA, and if you still have questions, contact us!

Browse the LUPPA Map and learn about the food agendas of participating cities

News and Updates

more than 50% of Brazilians

have some degree of food insecurity1

41% of public health costs

associated with chronic noncommunicable diseases are attributable to obesity2

69% of GHG emissions in Brazil

are related to agriculture and the deforestation linked with it2

less than 1% of Brazilian municipalities

have Municipal Food and Nutritional Security Plans2

Permanent call for supporters

Who participates: Institutions, coalitions and individuals, promoters of sustainable development who want to invest in impact actions.

Main benefits: Contribute to the strengthening of the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDGs 2, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16 and 17..

Permanent call for mentoring organizations

Who participates: Non-profit institutions, research departments, groups or university centers, and networks or alliances of entities, which have expertise in LUPPA’s themes of action, linked to sustainable, circular and resilient food systems.

Main benefits: Participate in a national laboratory of cities engaged in the food systems agenda, share experiences and promote webinars on their topic of expertise.

Conception and General Coordination


Full Support

Institutional Support

Methodological Parnership

Mentor Cities

Mentor Organizations