Developing tools for mapping and assessing sustainable city region food systems (CityFoodTools)

General project information

Duration: 3 years
Project partners: RUAF Foundation (coordination), Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, FAO-Food for Cities, local researchers and governments in selected partner cities.
Funding: Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation with additional support from the CGIAR Water, Land and Ecosystems Research Program (WLE; led by IWMI).


  • Analyse and systematise the concept, definitions and delimitations of the concept of city region food systems on the basis of a review of literature, on-going experiences and analysis of on-going scientific and policy debates
  • Develop a toolkit set of indicators and methods to describe, map and assess different aspects and elements of sustainable city region food systems
  • Collect data and empirically test and validate the developed toolkit set of indicators and methods in 6 city regions in different regions around the world
  • Generate in the partner city regions data regarding their city region food systems and its current contribution to specific sustainability indicators
  • Design in the partner city regions future scenarios for urbanisation and improved city region food system resilience and resource flows , as a basis for local decision making and strategy development
  • Develop and widely disseminate project outputs (including a final toolkit of empirically tested indicators and methods for mapping, assessing and planning sustainable city region food systems and a scientific article) to decision-makers and planners; international organisations and the academic community.

Where we work

The RUAF Foundation, through its City Food Tools Project, is implementing city region food system assessments in the city regions of Utrecht (The Netherlands), Quito (Ecuador) and Toronto (Canada). RUAF also provides support and advise to the FAO-Food for the Cities Programme, where FAO coordinates similar assessments in the city regions of Colombo (Sri Lanka, led by IWMI), Lusaka (Zambia), Kitwe (Zambia), Medellín (Colombia) and Dakar (Senegal).

Go to: City Region Food System Partner Cities


Results expected

The project seeks to generate:

  • Enhanced local institutional capacity to assess and plan for city region food systems
  • A better evidence-base for informed decision-making on city region food systems in the perspective of future urbanisation and development
  • Availability and wide dissemination of a validated toolkit and user guidelines to facilitate city region food system assessment, scenario building and strategy development in other city regions around the world
  • Increased mention of city region food systems in international declarations and development goals

Project outputs

The following project outputs have been produced:

RUAF also developed two issues of its Urban Agriculture Magazine on City Region Food Systems and Rural-Urban linkages, as the CRFS debate is closely linked to rural-urban planning:

Video outputs