Food for the cities programme

Indicator framework

The CRFS indicator framework is a practical assessment and planning tool designed to help cities to:

  • Assess the current status and performance of a CRFS on the basis of a set of performance indicators, following a whole-systems approach
  • Identify priority areas for action with clearly defined outcomes and ways of measuring change
  • Help with planning strategy and action to achieving the desired outcomes
  • Establish baselines and monitor changes resulting from (future) policy and programme implementation.

There are 210 possible indicators included in the full CRFS indicator framework. Based on data gaps and needs and specific policy priorities identified in the CRFS Scan, each city region will need to identify the most appropriate indicators on which to  collect data in the CRFS assessment.

Examples of such indicators include amongst others:  Number of households consuming minimum 5 portions of fruits and vegetables per day; Distance from household location to food retail outlets that sell fresh fruit & vegetables; Numbers of adults and children with type 2 diabetes; Percentage of population employed in the food system; Percentage of agricultural area in the city/metropolitan area/district;  Product volumes of food imported  compared with food produced; Economic value of locally produced food sold in the city (annual sales volume); Public expenditures on food procurement by public institutions; Total annual volume of food losses and waste.  
Examples of other indicator related toolboxes from other projects are also referred to for inspiration.

Data collection and analysis on selected CRFS indicators can be done by applying a variety of methods, including:

  • Qualitative and quantitative data collection by means of household, government and business surveys;
  • Further stakeholder and expert consultations (focus group discussions, interviews, etc.);
  • Quantitative food flow mapping.

Project tools and examples

CRFS Indicator Framework

The City Region Food System (CRFS) indicator framework is a practical assessment and planning tool designed to help cities to:  1) Assess the current status and performance of a city region food system following a whole-system approach 2) Identify priority areas for action with clear desired outcomes and ways of measuring change 3) Help with planning strategy and action to achieving the desired outcomes  4) Establish baselines and monitor changes resulting from (future) policy and programme implementation.

Design CRFS assessment and data collection

This tool presents how the data collection phase was designed in Lusaka, Kitwe (Zambia) and Colombo (Sri Lanka). It shows in what way the indicator framework was used, and how different data collection tools were selected for area of interest.

Availability of Essential Numbers

This table is an example of how data can be summarized based on the Toronto CRFS project.

CRFS Scan and Assessment in Toronto: Priorities and next steps

This powerpoint presentation provides a brief overview of the methodology followed in the Toronto city region in implementing the CRFS Scan and Assessment.

Guidelines on assessing biodiverse foods in dietary intake surveys

The tool helps capturing biodiversity aspects (appropriate levels of taxonomic identification of foods) in commonly used dietary surveys. The guidelines are intended as a practical tool, and describe the preparatory steps involved in assessing and documenting local foods, with appropriate levels of detail in taxonomic identification.


 Toolkit on Nutrition-sensitive Agriculture and Food Systems

  •  The Food Insecurity Experience Scale

The Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES), developed by the Voices of the Hungry (VoH) project, is an experience-based metric of severity of food insecurity that relies on people’s direct responses. It differs from traditional approaches that assess food insecurity indirectly, such as FAO's Prevalence of Undernourishment, measures of food security determinants (such as food availability or income) and potential outcomes (such as nutritional status).

  • Toolkit for assessing community-level potential for adaptation to climate change

This CCAFS Working Paper presents a participatory methodology that has been designed to provide organizations with the tools to understand the interrelations between climate impacts, food systems and livelihood strategies at the local level, while taking into consideration traditional /indigenous knowledge of the participating community.

  • The water-energy-food Nexus Approach

The Nexus Approach proposes a systematic way to carry out a water-energy-food nexus assessment in a participatory way in order to: a) understand the interactions between water, energy and food systems in a given context, and b) evaluate the performance of a technical or policy intervention in this given context. 

  • Minimum Dietary Diversity for Women

This guide intends to provide users of the indicator with detailed guidance on its use and application in their intended settings along with information on common-pitfalls.

  • Household Dietary Diversity Score (HDDS)

Household dietary diversity Score (HDDS) is a qualitative measure of food consumption that reflects household access to a variety of foods. HDDS is not meant to be used in accessing dietary diversity at individual level.

  • FCS-N Food Consumption Score Nutrition Quality Analysis

The Food Consumption Score (FCS) is WFP’s key corporate indicator for measuring food insecurity and is used to define categories of household (HH) food insecurity. The FCS-N is an analytical method that can use data to provide information on specific nutrients.