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Food for the cities programme

More information on the toolkit

The CRFS assessment and planning approach advocated builds on a formalised process of identifying and engaging all relevant stakeholders from the start of assessment through to policy review and planning. This means that a CRFS process can result in the creation of new -or revitalisation of existing- networks for governance and policy development, such as urban food policy councils and in new institutional food programmes and policies.

In short results from a CRFS assessment and planning process may include:

  • A mapping and description of the local city region food system. This includes questions such as: who feeds the city region, where is the food processed, how is it marketed, what do people eat and what is their food security and nutrition status, how is food waste managed and who are the government and institutional actors involved in the food system?
  • An analysis of the current food system performance with regards to different sustainability dimensions, food system vulnerabilities, threats and weaknesses. Also, identifying the opportunities for strengthening the CRFS.
  • Proposals for concrete policy and planning interventions in the CRFS and identification of stakeholder roles, (new) institutional frameworks and action plans. This may also include the identification of policy lobbying needs and elaboration of specific advocacy materials.

Each city region has its own context, so no guidelines will fit all. The tools and materials found here will need to be adapted to your own specific circumstances and interests. A CRFS process must take into account existing and specific agronomic, economic and institutional-political conditions, the variety, interests and expertise of the different involved stakeholders, available resources, existing data and information and specific set goals in the local context. 

In this toolbox, the CRFS assessment and planning process, and the tools used are grouped by stages of the process such as rapid scan, visioning, in-depth assessment, and policy and planning. However, the CRFS process is continuous and iterative and a city may enter at any point in the process, depending on its local context. (See also Identifying entry points)

Each section of the toolkit provides an outline of the steps generally involved in any specific stage of the CRFS process. In many cases, we also include links to output documents, templates, or guidelines for these steps, either from the seven CRFS projects, or from external resources for further illustration.

As an applied set of tools based on the experiences of 7 local CRFS processes, it is important to recognise some of the limitations of the toolkit. Each of the CRFS processes relied on external support and coordination and was based  on the identification and engagement of multiple stakeholders that work in or have bearing on the CRFS (local and subnational policy makers, researchers, private sector, other food system actors). Many of the tools suggested require prior training to ensure that local teams and everyone involved in their implementation has the required expertise. Finally, this toolkit is not a prescriptive document, it is intended to be flexible and allows for adaptation to the unique needs of each city region.