Call for contributions UA Magazine 36: Food Policy Councils (and Food Democracy)

This issue of the Urban Agriculture Magazine is a joint effort of the RUAF Global Partnership and Hivos with the ICLEI and RUAF supported CityFood Network. In this upcoming magazine we would like to explore the issue of Food Policy Councils (FPCs).

Although the Food Policy Council originates from North America, there is now a growing number of such groups in different parts of the world. FPCs are generally characterised by the participation of different actors (public sector, community groups, producer representatives, non-profit and private sector) who come together to share experiences, coordinate actions, formulate programmes and policies. There are many different forms of FPCs, or of similar so-called multi-stakeholder food forums/platforms, food boards, food coalitions, food partnerships etc. Some are citizen driven, others are government driven, depending on the context and the objectives. There is a large variety in stakeholder representation, institutionalisation and hosting, geographical representation (local vs regional councils), roles, activities and results. FIAN-Belgium for example recently looked into the high potential that FPCs have to transform food systems but also highlight some challenges that should be met in order to best achieve this. These include democratic representation, independence from public authorities but a need for institutionalisation to ensure longevity, balancing the role of the private sector, public authority accountability and reinforcing the urban-rural connection.

In this UA Magazine we would like to receive articles that respond to the following questions:

  1. Why and how can a food policy council (or similar structure) be a solution for urban food and nutrition security and improved food system functioning?
  2. When is a food council (or similar structure) inclusive?
  3. What is the difference between councils (or similar structures) that are initiated by local/subnational governments versus councils that are initiated through civil society organisations?

In addition, we are looking for articles that reflect on some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) that relate to really practical issues like:

  • What is an FPC (or similar structure)? What is its mandate and aims? Did this change over time and how?
  • At what point in time/ in the process is a FPC (or similar structure) set up and why? (For example, at the start of a process of food strategy development; only after a food strategy/programme had been in existence and functioning for a period).
  • Is the FPC (or a similar structure) institutionalised and how? Where is it hosted? What is the organisational structure? Did this change over time and how?
  • Who participates? Representation of different municipal sectors/programmes; different levels of government, other non-governmental stakeholders (citizens, farmers, CSOs, NGOs, private sector, research and academia)? What stakeholder is lacking and how to ensure good participation of different stakeholders?
  • Are vulnerable groups included (youth, women, migrants etc.) and how?
  • How often does the FPC (or similar structure) meet, what is on the agenda?
  • What activities are implemented and with what results?
  • Are results monitored and how and is information shared with a wider public (and how)?
  • How is the FPC (or similar structure) funded (financial and human resources for functioning and implementation). How to raise interest for FPCs and how to get financial support?
  • Where best to start (small projects or hard policy work)? And how to pursue common action?
  • What are the main success factors and challenges for FPCs?

Deadline for articles: 15 February (abstract or first draft), 1 March (full article) 2019.

Total article length should be 600 (1 page), 1400 (2 page) or 2100 words (3 page). We also welcome other type of contributions such as interviews, book reviews, visual stories, videos or infographics.

The Magazine will be published by May 2019. For more information or to receive the detailed author guidelines, contact us at info [at] ruaf [dot] org