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.
High-tech urban farms with futurist designs attract more and more investment, and capture the media’s attention. Are they just a fad or are they relevant to the future of urban food? An article in Agricultural Systems introduces us to the potential and challenges faced by such farms.
In our current food system, plagued by both food poverty and food waste, food poverty alleviation can take the form of surplus food redistribution. But what if, tomorrow, we manage to curb food surplus and waste? How should food aid organisations anticipate such a situation? Recent research highlights the importance of adopting a food system approach to urban food policies.
Urbanisation raises very salient questions for food security and agriculture next to the cities. What are the main factors explaining urban sprawl, and what can we do about it? In a paper published in Land Use Policy, researchers from France-based think-tank IDDRI and research centre CIRED review all the factors discussed in scientific literature.
Is there a link between food accessibility and people’s health? Publications about food environment have blossomed in the last 10 years. In a chapter from the second edition of Neighbourhoods and Health, researchers from Harvard Medical School review this scientific literature. Their work reflects the difficulty to capture such a phenomenon and highlight that access to healthy food is necessary but not sufficient to improve people’s diets.
Gentrification the urban phenomenon in which local people are priced out of their neighbourhood. In a policy brief published in 2018, Nevin Cohen, from CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute in New York, usefully reminds us that food policy can play a role in this process.
Our cities host a great number of fruit and nuts trees, with potentially interesting implications for food security. Somehow, however, they fell off the radar of both local authorities and urban food advocates. A good reason to keep investigating and to learn from the few cities that have rediscovered urban food trees.
FAO and RUAF have published a very comprehensive Toolkit called “Assessing and planning sustainable city region food systems”. This is the result of a 3 years journey with 7 cities to develop a methodology to analyse urban city food systems that any city around the world can apply.
With a projected 2 billion people living in slum by 2030, what can city or national governments in the North do to help alleviate global urban food poverty? The key for city cooperation lies in giving time to people to help them find their own ways instead of imposing solutions upon them.
With urban agriculture becoming fashionable in developed countries, a small number of iconic examples, from New York to Berlin, are now widely shared at the international level.
A paper published in Landscape and Urban Planning earlier this year by Autria-, UK- and Columbia-based scholars invites us to reflect upon the limits of such “ready-to-use” references when they are mobilised by policies or projects irrespective of the local contexts.