Urban Food Systems

Attention to urban food security and (multi-functional) intra- and peri-urban agriculture has increased markedly during the last couple of decades. Various cities in developed and in developing countries have designed innovative food and/or urban agriculture policies and are implementing programmes to strengthen the urban food system and stimulate local food production and multi functional land use in the city region. 

Urban agriculture contributes to a wide variety of urban issues and is increasingly integrated in urban land use planning and urban sector programmes (social inclusion and poverty alleviation, local economic development, environmental management, climate change strategies, amongst others) and used as a tool in sustainable city development.

For an extensive introduction to urban agriculture please go to the Introduction to Urban Agriculture. This paper provides an overview of the various types of urban agriculture and the roles these can play in sustainable urban development and their benefits and risks. The paper also discusses a number of key issues for policy development on urban agriculture and a series of policy measures that are applied with success by cities to support the development of sustainable urban agriculture and reduce associated risks.

For a brief introduction to the wider topic of urban food systems please go to Introduction to Urban Food Systems. This paper discuses the need for the development of sustainable city region food systems and provides several examples of cities that have developed strategies to do so.

Go to RUAF publications for an overview of 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.