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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 this document, FAO aims to present the objectives, activities and expected outcomes of its Food for the Cities Programme. First, it describes the context in which the project has been implemented, showing the relevance of the city region food systems approach. It then depicts the specific objectives and the 3-step methodology applied in the 5 pilot cities where FAO is providing assistance to local authorities.
FAO and the RUAF Foundation introduce their vision on City Region Food Systems (CRFS). This 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. This vision builds on the need to better understand and operationalize the concept of City Region Food Systems as a basis for further planning and informed decision making. CRFS are assessed and characterized to identify gaps and bottlenecks, prioritize investments, and design sustainable food policies and strategies, thanks to multi-stakeholders participatory dialogues.
RUAF's Urban Agriculture Magazine No.29 focuses on the City Region Food Systems (CRFS) concept. This document presents the role that CRFS plays in an urbanization context. It shows how this concept can contribute to build more resilient and sustainable food systems, by strengthening rural-urban linkages. Different experiences of cities around the world are presented, showing the diversity of actors (national and local authorities, civil society, citizens, private sector) involved in this concept and how they contribute in bridging the rural-urban divide to improve food systems.

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