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Food for the cities programme

Setting up local CRFS team and partnerships

As the CRFS assessment and planning process engages multiple disciplines and expertise, it is suggested that each city region forms a local research/project team that will be in charge of coordinating the CRFS assessment and planning process. The team can be led by a project or research coordinator. S/he will have an appropriate technical profile coupled with the capacity to effectively manage projects, interact with different institutions/groups of stakeholders and orient research towards policy outcomes. 

Given the policy planning dimension of the CRFS process, it is strongly recommended  to also identify and engage an institutional focal point (placed within the local or subnational government) from the start. The institutional focal point will act as the reference person for the project  within the local/regional government. S/he should preferably have a technical profile and, at the same time, the capacity and position to influence the decision making process.

The research/project team (including the institutional focal point) should work in close collaboration with a wider group of stakeholders to trigger a multistakeholder dialogue. This dialogue could initially be implemented through a local CRFS task force involving representatives from various government sectors and levels of government, research organisations and local universities, private sector and civil society. Broader interaction with a larger group of stakeholders is typically activated further on in the process.

In city regions where broader institutional participation and interest in CRFS is still lacking, work can be started by a smaller project team and multi-stakeholder engagement can be facilitated through more informal and bilateral discussions before establishing a broader multi-stakeholder task force in a later stage.

Insights from cities

Task forces were established in Toronto, Colombo and Kitwe. The Toronto Task Force included a core team of advisors from the Toronto Food Policy Council and Toronto Food Strategy team, the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at Wilfrid Laurier University, and representatives from the University of Guelph, Ryerson University, the University of Toronto, York University, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), and the Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance (GHFFA). In Colombo the task force (referred to as the project team) was formed by the Colombo Municipal Council,  FAO Sri Lanka, The International Water Management Institute IWMI and several Universities. Informal consultations were held with relevant provincial Ministries of Agriculture and Western Megapolis. 

Project tools and examples

Terms of Reference - Institutional Focal Point

This tool provides a Terms of Reference for the institutional focal point participating in the CRFS project team.


Terms of Reference - Research/project coordinator

This tool provides a Terms of Reference for the CRFS research/project coordinator.


Terms of Reference - Local CRFS multi-stakeholder task force 

This tool provides a Terms of Reference for the CRFS multi-stakeholder taskforce.