Urban Food Policies and Strategies

A growing number of cities and countries are recognising the importance of urban agriculture and are designing new policies related to urban agriculture or are reformulating existing ones. Urban agriculture is a dynamic concept that comprises a variety of livelihood systems, ranging from subsistence production and processing at household level to fully commercialised agriculture. The contributions of urban agriculture to various policy goals are manifold and relate a.o to poverty alleviation, food security, environmental and waste management, local economic development, social and community development and community adaptation to climate change. 

Once national or municipal authorities understand how urban agriculture can contribute to their policy goals, they often seek to facilitate the development of urban agriculture by means of pro-active policies and intervention strategies that enhance the socio-economic and nutritional benefits of urban agriculture, while reducing potential associated health and environmental risks.

Over the past years, the RUAF Foundation and its partners have collected and analysed relevant policy and strategic documents dealing with urban and city region food systems and - more specifically- urban agriculture production, processing and marketing. These include: 

  • Urban or City region food or food systems policies, strategies, plans, programmes, laws, ordinances
  • Municipal policies, strategies, plans, laws on urban agriculture in general or a specific type of urban agriculture (i.e. horticulture, livestock keeping, aquaculture, etcetera, or subsistence/home gardening and livestock and commercial urban agriculture respectively).
  • Other sector based (public health, environment, housing, agriculture, urban planning,...) plans, programmes, by-laws, programmes, norms and regulations at municipal and national level that contain norms and regulations that are of direct relevance for (intra- and/or peri-) urban agriculture.

An extensive introduction to Municipal policies and strategies on urban agriculture (category b above) is provided in the State of the Art paper produced by RUAF Foundation in 2012. A new updated version of this paper is under preparation, that will also incorporate an overview of urban food / food system policies and strategies (category a above). Publication expected in August 2014.     

Go to RUAF publications for RUAF publications on this topic (most of which are available online). You may also view the articles in the Urban Agriculture Magazine on this topic or use the Search option.