Food for the cities programme

Defining purpose

A CRFS assessment and planning process may be initiated at the request of a municipal or metropolitan government interested in having more information on their city region food system or looking to improve its performance, although this is not required. (See Identifying entry points). It can also be externally driven, although every CRFS process needs to take place with at least some initial political buy-in and further purposive policy engagement to achieve policy and planning outcomes.

By building on concrete entry points and policy interests, governmental and institutional stakeholders will be motivated to engage in the process from the start.

Insights from cities

In Colombo (Sri Lanka) the CRFS assessment and planning process linked to existing areas of political interest such as food safety, food waste and climate vulnerability. Building on these concrete entry-points, the CRFS process formed the basis for broader food system assessment and strategy formulation. In the field of food waste for example, the CRFS assessment  is helping Colombo city region to:

  • Implement a quantitative analysis of rural-urban food flows
  • Quantify food waste generation and current use along the food chain, if any.

Topics for further in-depth assessment and subsequent strategy formulation may then include, for example:

  • Analysis of waste quality and technical options for waste reduction or recycling
  • Analysis of market demand for e.g. waste-based compost
  • Analysis of the institutional and regulatory enabling environment for resource recovery and reuse (RRR)
  • Analysis of RRR Business Models and their local feasibility at city scale.

In the field of climate vulnerability, another local priority, the CRFS process helped to:

  • Identify vulnerable food chains and commodities
  • Analyse why and how these food chains are affected
  • Analyse who is affected (spatial analysis and duration)
  • Suggest local adaptation strategies for increasing the resilience of the urban food system.