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Food for the cities programme

Looking beyond city limits

A City Region Food Systems (CRFS) approach aims to foster the development of resilient and sustainable food systems within urban centres, peri-urban and rural areas surrounding cities by strengthening rural-urban linkages.

Throughout the food chain, an ideal CRFS fosters :

  • Food security and nutrition for urban and rural dwellers. Urban and rural dwellers have access to sufficient, nutritious, safe and affordable food suiting individual dietary needs, food preferences and local culture. This is possible when there is sufficient and diverse local production, affordable prices, good and healthy eating habits, enhanced food safety, and stable food supply.
  • Livelihoods and economic development for all actors of the food chain and consumers. All actors involved in the food system benefit from economic development, including earning decent incomes throughout the entire food chain. Smallholder producers and businesses have improved access to markets and consumers have access to goods and products.
  • Sustainable natural resources management and minimized environmental impact. Agroecological diversity and ecosystems are protected, natural resources are managed sustainably, and impacts on the environment are reduced. The ecological footprint of the urban food system can be reduced within the food chain (from production to waste and water management) through well-managed ecosystem services.
  • Social inclusion and equity of all actors of the food chain and consumers. All actors of the food chain have good and decent working conditions, smallholder producers and businesses are supported and valued, and the consumers have good and equal access to basic services and appropriate food.


This holistic and multidisciplinary approach advocates for a strengthened connectivity between urban centres and their surrounding areas. It works toward improving and increasing social justice, environmental sustainability, and health and socio-cultural aspects of the food chain in both urban and rural areas.