The “9th World Conference on Localized Agri Food Systems (SYAL)” took place at the University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (UTAD), between 13 and 16 November. The event, organized by CETRAD researchers, is integrated in the action framework of two research networks on localized food systems, namely the SYAL Europe Network and the RedeSial America, the latter involving a group of Latin American countries.

The conference programme was divided into three sessions with guest speakers, eight sessions with the presentation of 53 papers, a round table for the presentation and discussion of seven different national and international projects, two field trips – to the Douro and to Barroso – a gastronomic exhibition and tasting of products from autumn in Trás-os-Montes, and a cultural programme with a visit to Casa de Mateus.

In all, the event brought together 73 participants (eight of whom participated online) from 11 countries (Portugal, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Spain, France, Italy, Mexico, Switzerland and Sweden), with Spain, Italy, Colombia and Mexico being more represented.

The pressure of the food system on the planet’s resources, the environmental footprint of food, food waste, hunger and malnutrition, and the human health problems linked to food were the central themes of the debates, with emphasis on the importance of producing more and better locally, strengthening short circuits and local food networks, acquiring healthier habits and generating less waste.

The main conclusion of the work was underlined the need to place people, the human right to adequate food and the environment at the centre of the food system. To this end, it is essential to make food systems more resilient, with innovative initiatives that start from the diagnosis of the territories and allow pacts for healthy and sustainable food to be reached, bringing together different actors and managed democratically.

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