Integrating a Food Systems Lens into Discussions of Urban Resilience
A Policy Analysis
Keywords:Adaptation, City-Region, Food Systems, Scale, Governance, International Agreements, Urban Resilience
As discussions of urban resilience begin to include food systems thinking explicitly, researchers and practitioners must keep various considerations at the fore. This reflective essay begins by delineating three international agreements (the Sustainable Development Goals, New Urban Agenda, and Milan Urban Food Policy Pact) that provide a broad policy environment within which food systems governance might be situated. It then encourages consideration not only of megacities around the globe, but also of the approximately 2 billion people that live in towns and small- or midsized cities (encompassing about 27% of the world’s population) (Berdegué, Proctor, & Cazzuffi, 2014). It notes that integration of food systems thinking must enhance urban-rural linkages in mutually supportive ways, echoing recent calls from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO, 2019) and UN-Habitat (2018). It reflects on ways policies and governance might better articulate across scale and argues that deep adaptation to climate change must frame all work moving forward. Finally, it examines how food systems thinking and social innovation are critical to urban resilience and must be prioritized in policymaking rather than included as an afterthought. We draw illustrative examples from our community-based research projects carried out through the Nourishing Communities: Sustainable Local Food Systems Research Group and the Food: Locally Embedded Globally Engaged (FLEdGE) Partnership.
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