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Municipal Food Policy: Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Belo Horizonte is a world pioneer in tackling food consumption, distribution and production

With a population of 2.5 million people (and over 5 million in its greater metropolitan area spread over 33 municipalities), Belo Horizonte is a world pioneer in tackling food consumption, distribution and production as components of an integrated urban policy for food security. It’s Department for Food and Nutrition Security has been quite successful in increasing the access to healthy food by all. The city has received Brazilian and international prizes for its initiatives in reducing hunger and malnutrition, as well as the attention of academic studies and popular press throughout the world. The effect of its food policies goes beyond city limits, impacting also surrounding rural areas and other municipalities.

Key to the food security programme in Belo Horizonte was the acknowledgement by the municipal government that all citizens have the right to adequate quantity and quality of food throughout their lives, and that it is the duty of governments to guarantee this. This public responsibility for the right to food has been a key factor in putting a coordinated, system-wide municipal policy for food security into practice.


  1. Rocha, C. (2019)  (PDF file) 25 Years of Food Security in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Canadian Association for Food Law and Policy, University of Toronto, November 7-9, 2019. Presentation.
  2. Almeida, D.A.O., Costa, H.S.M., Araujo, M.C., and Rocha, C. (2019) Food security and land-use conflicts within regional planning: the recent experience of the Metropolitan Region of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. In Thornton, A. and Shaw, T., eds., Urban Food Democracy and Governance in North and South. London: Palgrave.
  3. Rocha, C. (2016) Opportunities and Challenges in Urban Food Security Policy: the case of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. In Deakin, M., Borrelli, N. and Diamantini, D., eds., The Governance of city food systems: Case studies from around the world. Milan: Fondazione Feltrinelli.
  4. Mendonça, M. and Rocha, C. (2015) Implementing National Food Policies to Promote Local Family Agriculture: Belo Horizonte’s Story, Development in Practice 25(2): 160-173.
  5. Rocha, C. and Lessa, I. (2009), Urban governance for food security: The alternative food system in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, International Planning Studies 14 (4): 389-400.
  6. Rocha, C. (2001), "Urban Food Security Policy: The Case of Belo Horizonte, Brazil”, Journal for the Study of Food and Society, 5(1), Summer: 36-47.

Updated May 2020


Cecilia Rocha, PhD


Project dates

1998 - present