Food for the cities programme

Sustainable Food System Assessment

Sustainable Food System Assessment provides both practical and theoretical insights about the growing interest in and response to measuring food system sustainability. Bringing together research from the Global North and South, this book shares lessons learned, explores intended and actual project outcomes, and highlights points of conceptual and methodological convergence.


Beyond Urban: City-Region Food Systems for Resilient and Sustainable Development

A large share of the world’s population lives in urban areas, making cities a major cause of climate change. Food is especially relevant in this regard, calling for strategies that make food systems contribute to urban resilience. How this may look like can be seen when looking at the City Regions Food System presented by Michela Carucci, Roman Malec, and Guido Santini.


Urban Agriculture in the Global North&South: A Perspective from FAO

FAO’s holistic and systemic approach focuses on strengthening the complex linkages between urban, peri-urban and rural agriculture which characterize contemporary food systems, with the goal of enhancing the city region’s food security and resilience.


City Region Food System Assessment and Planning

In 2015, FAO, RUAF Foundation and Wilfrid Laurier University, with the financial support of the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation, embarked on a collaborative programme to assess and plan sustainable city region food systems in seven cities around the world: Colombo (Sri Lanka), Lusaka and Kitwe (Zambia), Medellín (Colombia), Quito (Ecuador), Toronto (Canada) and Utrecht (the Netherlands).



The toolkit document tells the story of why and how project cities have been implementing this process and what outcomes they achieved. It is meant to be a resource for policymakers, researchers, and other key stakeholders and participants who want to better understand their own CRFS and plan for improvements. In this way the examples and tools documented provide valuable experiences and lessons that may accelerate the development of similar initiatives in other city regions around the world, wishing to apply, or to customise, and to up-scale similar practices.


This paper offers a critical assessment of the value and utility of the evolving City Region Food Systems (CRFS) approach to improve our insights into flows of resources—food, waste, people, and knowledge—from rural to peri-urban to urban and back again, and the policies and process needed to enable sustainability.



Today, cities are growing exponentially, changing our world beyond recognition. If well managed, urbanization can provide plenty of opportunities for urban and rural dwellers: provide jobs, improve livelihoods, reduce inequality and decrease vulnerability to climate shocks. Well planned cities can also increase food security and counteract all forms of malnutrition.



Many landscape approaches have been developed to address specific needs. This document is an overview of the key practices, which FAO has developed that support integrated approaches in production areas. These approaches relate to restoration, marine and coastal management, reversing land and soil degradation, incentives for ecosystem services, and many other areas which contribute to enhancing the capacity and resilience of productive landscapes. While many of these approaches are not necessarily new, what is unique is that they are centred primarily on addressing the needs of farmers and other resource managers within a broader governance framework, while consistently focused on supporting sustainable food and agricultural systems.

This paper is based on theongoing FAO and RUAF programme of assessing and planning City Region Food Systems, currently implemented in eight city regions in Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, Senegal, Sri Lanka, The Netherlands, and Zambia. The paper analyses the content, definition and delimitations of the concept of City Region Food Systems by presenting two case studies from Latin America (Quito and Medellín), and discusses first advances in policy uptake and territorial food planning.


This 2 pages factsheet gives a brief overview on how sustainable crop production and food systems with strong rural urban linkages will be needed to achieve food security and nutrition goals by 2030.




This publication documents thirteen case studies from city regions around the world which are developing City Region Food Systems projects, programmes and policies with a special focus on the prevention, reduction and management of food waste.




In this document, FAO aims to present the objectives, activities and expected outcomes of its Food for the Cities Programme. First, it describes the context in which the project has been implemented, showing the relevance of the city region food systems approach. It then depicts the specific objectives and the 3-step methodology applied in the 5 pilot cities where FAO is providing assistance to local authorities.



FAO and the RUAF Foundation introduce their vision on City Region Food Systems (CRFS). This approach aims to foster the development of resilient and sustainable food systems within urban centres, peri-urban and rural areas surrounding cities, by strengthening rural-urban linkages. This vision builds on the need to better understand and operationalize the concept of City Region Food Systems as a basis for further planning and informed decision making. CRFS are assessed and characterized to identify gaps and bottlenecks, prioritize investments, and design sustainable food policies and strategies, thanks to multi-stakeholders participatory dialogues.


RUAF's Urban Agriculture Magazine No.29 focuses on the City Region Food Systems (CRFS) concept. This document presents the role that CRFS plays in an urbanization context. It shows how this concept can contribute to build more resilient and sustainable food systems, by strengthening rural-urban linkages. Different experiences of cities around the world are presented, showing the diversity of actors (national and local authorities, civil society, citizens, private sector) involved in this concept and how they contribute in bridging the rural-urban divide to improve food systems.


This report provides a synthesis of the current state of knowledge on city region food systems (CRFS). Its objective is to clarify the CRFS concept and analyse the proposed benefits of pursuing a city region approach to food policy and planning. It provides recommended actions that would help stakeholders ensure improvements to food system outcomes at a city-region level and as a means of implementing a more integrated approach to rural-urban development.


This document addresses new policies and investments on rural transformation in a post-2015 Millennium Development Goals context. It presents the urbanization challenge from the rural perspective. The document includes discussions on key issues, entry points and approaches for a potential future policy agenda.