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Food for the cities programme

At present more than 50 percent of the world’s population is living in urban areas and it is expected to rise to 70 percent by 2050. This causes an enormous challenge to conventional food production and supply. Food and nutrition security of poor urban populations is and remains at risk as a consequence of the volatility and rapid increases in food prices, natural disasters and climate change effects. This calls for global action.

Building resilient food systems for the future by integrating rural and urban areas and strengthening their linkages – with the involvement of all stakeholders – will benefit both smallholder farmers and the urban poor.

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In 2015, FAO, RUAF Foundation and Wilfrid Laurier University, with the financial support of the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation, embarked on a collaborative programme to assess and plan sustainable city region food systems in seven cities around the world: Colombo (Sri Lanka), Lusaka and Kitwe (Zambia), Medellín (Colombia), Quito (Ecuador), Toronto (Canada) and Utrecht (the Netherlands).
The toolkit document tells the story of why and how project cities have been implementing this process and what outcomes they achieved. It is meant to be a resource for policymakers, researchers, and other key stakeholders and participants who want to better understand their own CRFS and plan for improvements. In this way the examples and tools documented provide valuable experiences and lessons that may accelerate the development of similar initiatives in other city regions around the world, wishing to apply, or to customise, and to up-scale similar practices.
This paper offers a critical assessment of the value and utility of the evolving City Region Food Systems (CRFS) approach to improve our insights into flows of resources—food, waste, people, and knowledge—from rural to peri-urban to urban and back again, and the policies and process needed to enable sustainability.

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