Food for the cities programme

Policy support and planning

The CRFS Assessment has led to an in-depth understanding of the CRFS in a specific city region. This included: 

  • An understanding of the city regional context and of the city region food system dynamics including (qualitative and quantitative) data on different aspects of the CRFS
  • An awareness and understanding of the need and options for food system transformation and change and a (preliminary) vision for the local CRFS
  • An identification and assessment of stakeholder roles and food governance/policy mechanisms.

The final goal of the CRFS process is to advance CRFS policy design or strategy planning.  The assessment of the CRFS acts as a useful trigger for improved action and policy; the evidence and knowledge presented provides an entry point for food to be considered on the policy agenda.  For this purpose, CRFS assessment data may need to be presented in different ways. In Colombo, Kitwe and Lusaka for example, data collected were georeferenced and mapped to better visualise and understand the CRFS and its spatial distribution and dynamics. In Utrecht and Toronto, key data and figures were summarised  and visualised for different parts of the food system to, for example, bring key food system contributions to job creation, GHG emissions or health impacts to the forefront of attention.  

In this way, the CRFS process can be a vehicle for reinforcing and developing new food system policies or projects. The multi-stakeholder CRFS team should therefore now develop a further strategy for how to build the results of the CRFS assessment into policies, strategies and action plans. This policy support and planning could  involve further policy analysis, policy formulation and revision and planning of further action. Continued engagement of policy-makers and other stakeholders is key to ensure policy uptake and effective implementation. 

Visioning exercises, project planning tools, working group discussions and scenario building are some of the tools that have been applied in this process. 

Key outputs of the “Policy and planning” phase: 

  • Policy and project formulation: New or revised policy recommendations, food policies, strategies or action plans to improve the sustainability and resilience of the CRFS based on local priorities and scenarios   
  • Policy integration and planning: Increased profile of food on the policy agenda; inclusion of “food” in other city policies and plans
  • Better local or regional food governance: increased information sharing and exchange, and increased political presence of important actors in the food system and improved and expanded coordination and networks among different stakeholders in the food system. (See more)

Project tools

Thematic mapping of the CRFS

In Colombo, Kitwe and Lusaka CRFS assessment data were mapped to represent:

  • The production areas of the main commodities;
  • The location of the retail and wholesale markets;
  • Distance to markets;
  • The transportation network;
  • The spread of food insecurity and poverty in the city region, possibly intersecting with other criteria such as location of markets and urban agriculture areas in the city;
  • Food flows of the main commodities;
  • Land use change.

In Utrecht, the CRFS project team prepared an online data set/regional food map that includes an overview of food businesses that produce, process, wholesale, sell (through retail) and work with regional food products. Information from this data set can be extracted to count for example the number of food businesses that produce or work explicitly with regional food.