Where do US cities stand on urban agriculture?

Local urban agriculture policies have gained momentum since the turn of the XXIth century. However, it is difficult to get the bigger picture of where we stand after twenty years of policy development. For this reason, researchers from Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future reviewed past and current urban agriculture policies in 40 of the most populated US cities. They show that urban agriculture policies have greatly developed but that there are still many opportunities for them to explore new themes, open up to new stakeholders, and be more accessible to citizens.

Food policy: not just about food

In their recent paper published in Food Policy, Nevin Cohen and Rositsa Ilieva explore how food policy in New York evolved from discrete to more networked policies that broaden food system policy, include social and economic equity and tackle the underlying causes of issues in the food system.

Local food in deprived areas: from ideas to reality

Local food is often criticized for being only accessible to well-off people. So, what does it take to engage people living in more deprived areas? In an article published in Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction, researchers from Newcastle, Sheffield and Northumbria universities tell the story of the attempt to develop a food hub in a Newcastle estate. Their account for what worked, but also, what did not, casts a new light on how local food can take root in communities.

What would it take for urban dwellers to sort food waste?

What would it take for households to pre-sort their waste so it can be properly managed? A literature review published in the Journal of Cleaner Production delves into the many social factors that contribute to successful waste management in urban areas. It provides a useful guide for any city willing to improve its food waste management policies.

What we (don’t) know about the sustainability of short food chains

Short food chains are central in the collective imagination of local food activists and supporting them is the backbone of many local food policies. However, what does scientific literature actually say about their impacts? In a paper published in Sustainability, Yuna Chiffoleau and Tara Dourian, from INRAE (France), show that despite these supply chains playing a major role in the local food discourse, a lot is yet to understand about their actual impacts

What can we do with foodshed analysis?

Since the late 1970s, foodshed analysis has been used to estimate and examine links between rural food production and urban consumption. A recent paper published in Environmental Research Letters reviews existing research and provides recommendations to improve methodologies and better integrate such studies in urban food policies. Why do we need such studies? Are they comparable? What could be done to improve them?

Navigating the sinuous path of urban food strategies

Toronto is one of the star cities in urban food policies. What can other cities learn from their elder sister? In an article published in the Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, Alessandra Manganelli compares Toronto’s long path with Brussels’ more recent one. She shows that developing urban food policies is a constant re-adjustment process, where food actors need to re-invent themselves, recast their values, or bring in new narratives as the movement develops. However, this should not only be seen as a burden. It can also be an opportunity for urban food movements to become reflexive and widen the scope of their action.

What would it take to protect farming close to cities?

Peri-urban farmland is under constant pressure from urbanisation. And it is disappearing at worrying rates. What would it take to protect it? And what can we learn from countries that have tried to do so? In a review article published in Land, researchers from the French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment look more closely at success and failure factors for farmland protection policies in developed countries.

Are food Commons the next innovation pathway for urban food policies?

The concept of “commons” is one of these ideas that is difficult to pin down: what exactly are commons? And what do they have to do with food? In the “Routledge Handbook of Food as a Commons”, engaged scholars and activists from different backgrounds introduce us to this notion and give us a peak into what food policies relying on the premise that food is a commons could look like.