Inclusive use of urban space
The central theme in the latest issue (PDF) of the Urban Agriculture Magazine published by the RUAF Foundation is community involvement in urban food planning. Urban agriculture and food systems are gaining the attention of planners and policy makers across the global south and north. While this emerging planning and policy attention is laudable, it must build on decades of community-led efforts to rebuild urban agriculture and community food systems. Failure to build on these on-the ground practices run the risk of developing policy that is uninformed and disconnected from the lived experiences of people in communities. The magazine explores the issue of community engagement in shaping urban and peri-urban agriculture and food policies and plans. Key questions explored in this edition are how communities can be engaged in urban food policy making and planning and how local governments are responding to community demands for food policies and plans. The magazine sets out the specific characteristics and needs of the informal sector and local initiatives that are important for policy makers to take into account. Also the importance of city food councils is highlighted, because they can ensure that planning documents do not lose their community edge. Another article uses case studies in West-Africa and South America to illustrate how the gaps in formal policy can be filled through local informal initiatives. It illustrates the important role informal relationships can have for the improvement of food production and distribution in urban areas.
The complete magazine and separate articles can be downloaded here.