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.
Who can precisely define local food? Food miles is only part of the picture. Moving away from dualistic thinking about local and global, Swiss researchers have identified the different criteria that can be assessed in order to capture the localness of a product.
Is the city level the right level to act upon the food system? A methodology from the University of Minnesota compares the impact of local actions and that of actions taken at another scale.
Is it feasible to source all the food a city needs from its surroundings? The quick answer is no. And two recent academic papers demonstrate it while setting out a methodology that any urban region can use to assess its existing level of food self-sufficiency and the way this would evolve under different policy options.
The city of Basel (Switzerland) worked with a team of researchers from the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture to develop a “quick scan” of its existing actions without having to spend too much time to gather a lot of (and sometimes missing) data. This tool allows cities to compare their action with best practices from other cities and to identify untapped areas of work, while ensuring that local stakeholders get on board.
Food has been at the core of cities’ strategies from the Antique times onwards. Only with the rise of the national state and industrialisation have cities lost their grip on food issues. History casts an interesting a light on the power relationship between cities, states and rural areas.
We do not really think about how our food gets to our urban plates. Nor do we have a clear picture of what would happen if the supply chain was disrupted. Here is an overview of key steps any city can follow to assess its own food system resilience based on Baltimore's experience.
Some cities around the world have pioneered local food action. Two pieces of work published this year present insights from these pioneers. Here is an overview of key advice for any city willing to embark on a food policy.