Food for the cities programme

What is the CRFS Programme

FAO, in collaboration with RUAF engages with national and local governments and local food actors to build resilient city region food systems (CRFS). 

It works on strengthening rural-urban linkages by providing assistance in improving the resilience of food systems and livelihoods in a given territory to climate and health risks. The programme works on operationalizing the linkages between Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 (food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture), SDG 11 (inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities), SDG 12 (sustainable production and consumption) along with several of the other SDGs.

A quick look at the history 

In 2001, FAO launched a multidisciplinary initiative “Food for the Cities”. The initiative addresses urbanization challenges that impact the urban and rural population, as well as the environment, and aims to build more sustainable and resilient food systems. The initiative contributed to increased dialogue and partnerships with institutions at international and national levels, and in particular with municipalities. A global collaborative effort then emerged to join forces to increase awareness of the importance of CRFS at all levels.  

The programme led by FAO started in 2014 and has since then engaged with numerous actors from city regions, including the relevant local authorities. After a first phase of the project from 2015 to 2018, the ongoing second phase started in 2019 with a specific focus on resilience to climate and pandemic shocks. Click here to discover more

The programme focuses on: 

  1. A multi-sectoral food system approach that goes beyond value chains.
  2. Context-specific solutions across the urban-rural spectrum to look beyond city limits through a territorial lens.
  3. Multi-level and Inclusive governance of food actors from the local to the national level.
  4. Resilience of the CRFS against multiple shocks and stresses, with a specific focus on climate and pandemic related ones.

The CRFS programme aligns with many other related initiatives on the international agenda. The year 2015 marked the signing of the first international protocol by cities calling for development of more sustainable and resilient urban food systems. The protocol, the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, has been signed by 210 cities (until August 2020). It also aligns with the New Urban Agenda (October 2016) that emphasises the need for cities to ‘strengthen food system planning’ and recognises that dependence on distant sources of food and other resources can create sustainability challenges and vulnerabilities to supply disruptions.