Food for the cities programme

Quantification of food flows

The in-depth assessment may also focus on the quantification of food flows that were identified during the CRFS Scan. Food flow analysis may provide information on GHG emissions or food loss and waste volumes generated in different parts of the food chain (e.g. production, processing, storage, transport, packaging, retail, cooking, waste disposal etc.), on the number of jobs generated at different parts of the food chain (and opportunities for increased local food business) or on the extent to which local consumption is covered by regional production versus food imports from outside the region.

Methodological guidelines on food flow analysis with a specific view to monitoring climate change impacts are also provided below. Such in-depth analysis is typically done as part of the CRFS in-depth assessment particularly in cases where climate change is considered a specific area of importance and interest.

Insights from cities

For example, in Toronto, a set of key food categories were identified which were then characterized and quantified in greater detail based on primary and secondary research. In Medellín, primary data collection provided the basis for a detailed food flow mapping for each of the different municipalities that make up the Medellín city region. The study was specifically focused on understanding the (potential) role of family agriculture in feeding the city region.

Project tools and examples

Assessment methodology for territorial food supply systems

This methdology is a useful  tool for mapping food flows based on primary data collection. The methodology is based on surveys with main actors in the food supply chain including agricultural producers, traders and wholesalers, and for the main food products that are part of the consumer daily food basket in the city region.

Top Food Flow Data and Graphics

This file provides examples of the raw data and related tables as diagrams that were created for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) food flow analysis for carrots, apples, potatoes, eggs and beef.


Methodological guidelines for calculating climate change related indicators of urban/regional food production and consumption

This manual by RUAF describes how to apply a Life Cycle Analysis for calculating climate change related indicators along an urban-regional food flow. The manual can be downloaded here.

A report on how such analysis was implemented in Rosario, Argentina can be downloaded here.