Consumption patterns and nutrition

Urbanization and FNS

Consumption and food markets - Urbanization and FNS
Image: via Flickr (by: Alex Buss)

The world has been undergoing a rapid increase in urban population over recent years, with Africa and Asia urbanizing more rapidly than other regions of the world. One of the main reasons of such rapid urbanization is the rural-urban migration. Growing cities pose challenges to the food system, as more people living in an urban environment need to have access to quality food at a reasonable price. Food markets and systems need to adapt. This Knowledge Portal topic page deals with the global trend of urbanisation, and how it influences food and nutrition security. Theories and practice of interventions that aim to develop and strengthen urban food systems, or the rural-urban linkages, are presented on this topic page.

Academic article Article Blog Book Briefing Case study Conference Dissertation Journal Magazine Meeting report Other Paper Policy report Report Toolkit Working paper
Africa Asia Bangladesh Bolivia Cambodia Cameroon Caribbean China Colombia East Africa Ecuador Egypt Ethiopia Europe Ghana Global India Indonesia Jamaica Kenya Latin America Mexico Middle East Mozambique Namibia Nepal Nigeria North Africa Oceania Pakistan Peru Senegal South-Africa South America Southeast Asia Southern Africa Spain Sub-Saharan Africa Tanzania Thailand the Caribbean The Netherlands the Pacific Uganda United Kingdom Vietnam West Africa Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe
2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
Remove all filters Filter results
Results found:
The impact of urbanisation on food systems in West and East Africa
Published by PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency,
This policy report provides insights into the current and projected dynamics of urbanisation and food systems in West and East Africa and assesses the potential impacts on rural livelihoods. The increasing urbanisation in sub-Saharan Africa is an important driver of change in the production, trade, processing and consumption of food. Urbanisation also affects rural livelihoods in several ways. »
Urban governance for nutrition
Published by GAIN,
The 'Urban Governance for Nutrition' programme brings diverse stakeholders together to develop policies and actions that help to equitably and sustainably shape urban food environments to deliver healthy diets. Three working papers have been released with case studies from India, Pakistan and Tanzania. »
Africa’s urban informal food sector in comparative perspective
Published by Urban Forum,
This special issue brings together a diverse collection of case studies from seven countries across the Global South—China, Jamaica, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda—to explore the dynamics of Africa’s urban informal food sector in comparative international context. »
Food safety and nutrition for low-income urbanities: Exploring a social justice dilemma in consumption policy
Published by Environment and Urbanization journal,
This study investigates how retail policies driven by food safety impact the diets of the urban poor in Hanoi, Vietnam. From both time–spatial and quality–affordability perspectives, supermarkets do not contribute to more healthy diets for low-income urbanites. Distance to supermarkets did not change shopping practices. »
Urban agriculture: Another way to feed cities
Published by Veolia Institute,
This magazine shines a light on the renaissance of (peri-)urban agriculture, its changing forms and technologies, its potential and limitations by a mixture of cross-disciplinary studies and reports from the field, from emering as well as developed economies. The magazine sets out the background for the rise of urban agriculture, identifies different types of urban agriculture and analyses successful programs . »
How the urban poor define and measure food security in Cambodia and Nepal
Published by Environment and Urbanization,
This article focuses on the issue that urban food security, or its lack, is attracting growing interest in global policy debates. The researchers argue that the voices of the urban poor are missing in these conversations. To fill this gap, grassroots community organizations, with decades-long experience collecting data on their own communities and taking action to improve conditions, decided to ask the urban poor in Cambodia and Nepal how they define and measure food security, what key challenges they face in the daily struggle to put food on the table and what actions might help. »
Urban food environments in Africa: implications for policy and research
Published by University of Sheffield,
This paper provides an overview of the healthiness of African urban food environments, discusses the ways food environments can be characterised and summarises the methods that can be used to investigate and intervene in the food environment. he informal food sector plays an important role in the retail food environment. Macro-level food price changes are an important factor influencing nutritional quality of African diets. »
The urbanization of food insecurity and malnutrition
Published by Environment and Urbanisation ,
This special issue explores different dimensions and drivers of urban food insecurity, but share a focus on low-income and marginalized groups. The key questions explored in this issue include 1) the links between urban poverty and food insecurity, 2) the contribution of food safety concerns to the restriction of traditional and informal food markets, and the impacts for low-income consumers and traders, 3) the importance of using a gender lens to understand the challenges to achieving food securit, and 4) the often underestimated role of food in social relations and in supporting community networks. »
Urbanisation, dietary change and traditional food practices in Indonesia
Published by Social Science & Medicine,
This paper examines how changes in the urban environment relate to food expenditures, dietary diversity and traditional practices (food self-production and sharing) in Indonesia, a country that has experienced rapid economic growth and urbanisation over the last few decades. »
Implementing the New Urban Agenda: Urban and territorial integration approaches in support of urban food systems
Published by International Yearbook of Soil Law and Policy,
This paper provides an insight on the opportunities provided by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the New Urban Agenda (NUA) in advancing food systems within the context of urbanisation. The paper focuses on the role that sustainable urbanisation can play in supporting food systems, especially as it relates to and the application of an integrated territorial approach and urban–rural linkages. »
Informal Food Deserts and Household Food Insecurity in Windhoek, Namibia
Published by Sustainability,
This article focuses on the relationship between informality and food deserts in African cities. Informal settlements in rapidly-growing African cities are urban and peri-urban spaces with high rates of formal unemployment, poverty, poor health outcomes, limited service provision, and chronic food insecurity. Traditional concepts of food deserts developed to describe North American and European cities do not accurately capture the realities of food inaccessibility in Africa’s urban informal food deserts. »
Growing food in the cities: Successes and new opportunities
Published by CTA,
This briefing discusses the development of urban agriculture in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, looking at successful urban agribusinesses and the innovations, partnerships and policy developments that are creating new opportunities in this field. Urban and peri-urban agriculture offers opportunities for productive employment in a sector with low barriers to entry. Many urban agriculture policies do not address commercial urban agriculture, agro-processing and value addition activities well. »
What can the Latin American cities of Cali, Quito and Medellín learn from each other’s efforts to build sustainable food systems?
Published by CGIAR-WLE,
This paper shares various experiences associated with the construction of urban city-region agri-food practices and policies in Latin-America. Two-thirds of the Latin American population lives in cities. This represents a challenge, which is compounded by factors such as migration and climate change. In recent decades, Latin America has witnessed the emergence of initiatives and movements that seek to promote urban and organic agriculture, waste management, short distribution chains and healthier consumption as part of urban development. »
Urban Food Deserts: Perspectives from the Global South
Published by Sustainability Journal,
This special issue calls for both empirical studies and theoretical discussions of urban food deserts in the Global South, with a focus on a broad range of issues such as food accessibility, food affordability, urban food sources, informal food economies, supermarketization and the food security characteristics and consequences of food deserts, as well as urban policies that contribute to or mitigate the existence and development of food deserts. »
Devising urban food security policy for African cities
Published by Hungry Cities Partnership,
This policy brief focusses on policy development to guarantee food security for urban families. The countryside is not the same as the city, yet too often policy confuses the two. To identify what policy strategies would be most effective, stakeholders should conduct surveys at the household level that involve inquiries on education, food affordability and household size. »
Measures and determinants of urban food security: Evidence from Accra, Ghana
Published by IFPRI,
This paper compares the food security status of households in Accra and examines the household-level demographic, socioeconomic, environmental, and spatial predictors of urban food security. The results buttress the need for a greater understanding of how the food security challenges of the urban poor will cascade into broader food system. »
Rural-urban linkages: Syngergies, threats and limitations
Published by Rural 21,
This magazine provides advices and examples of best practices as well as failures to bridge the gap between rural and urban regions. The United Nations New Urban Agenda implies changing diets and thus the need to include sustainable food systems for the cities. So the rural areas have to transform in parallel. »
Consolidating the current knowledge on urban agriculture in productive urban food systems: Learnings, gaps and outlook
Published by Journal of Cleaner Production ,
This review looks at a breadth of novel insights that are indicative for sensible future development of urban agriculture, including new possibilities for nutrient circularity, opportunities for increased sustainability and open questions regarding logistics and economics and development pathways. »
Integrating food into urban planning
Published by UCL Press, FAO,
This book discusses planning cities in such a way they will increase food security and nutrition, not only for the affluent segments of society but primarily for the poor. The integration of food into urban planning is a crucial and emerging topic. The book draws on cities of different sizes, from regions across the global north and south, in both developed and developing areas, thereby the contributors collectively attest to the importance of global knowledge rooted in local food planning practices, programmes and policies. »
City Region Food System Toolkit: Assessing and planning sustainable city region food systems
Published by FAO, RUAF foundation, Wilfrid Laurier University's Centre for Sustainable Food Systems ,
This toolkit provides guidance on how to assess and build sustainable city region food systems (CRFS). 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. »
Urban food systems governance and poverty in African cities
Published by Routledge,
This book aims to improve our understanding of the connections between urban poverty, food systems, household food security and governance, by focusing on three cities in sub-Saharan Africa. The book argues that an examination of the food system and food security provides a valuable lens to interrogate urban poverty. »
How African cities lead: Urban policy innovation and agriculture in Kampala and Nairobi
Published by World Development Journal,
This study examines how citizens, civil society organizations, city governments and national bureaucrats in Kampala and Nairobi, East Africa, have interacted to produce policy innovation in agriculture. Cities are increasingly becoming focal points for agricultural policy change in Africa. »
Assessment of urban farmers access to agricultural credit and extension services in Kogi East senatorial district Nigeria
Published by Ethiopian Journal of Environmental Studies & Management ,
This study examined urban farmers access to agricultural credit and extension services, the study also assess the socioeconomic characteristics of urban farmers and the problem affecting urban and peri-urban agriculture. The targeted population for this study were urban and peri-urban farmers in Kogi East Senatorial District. Cluster sampling was used to sample farmers in each farmers cooperative society. »
Measuring impact
Published by RUAF Foundation,
This magazine explores how various assessments and indicator frameworks to help cities map the current status and performance of their city region food system, have concretely supported planning and policy, and have enabled cities to measure and monitor changes in relation to food strategies and action plans. »
Opportunities of urban horticulture for poverty alleviation in Dar es Salaam city, Tanzania
Published by Journal of Nutrition, Food and Agriculture,
This study was conducted to explore to opportunities of the urban agriculture focusing on vegetables and ornamental flowers production towards poverty reduction and alleviation in Dar es Salaam. Urban agriculture reveals to play a significant role towards reducing and alleviating the poverty. »
The supermarket revolution and food security
Published by African Food Security Urban Network,
This report examines the surprisingly high rate of supermarket patronage in low-income areas of Windhoek, Namibia. Result of an earlier survey showed that 83% of the households in low-income areas of Windhoek obtained at least some of their food through supermarket purchase. »
The growth of food banking in cities of the Global South
Published by Hungry Cities Partnership,
This discussion paper examines the globalization of food banking and its growth in the Global South. Through a case study of FoodForward South-Africa, it critically analyzes the roles that urban food banks play in cities of the Global South.  »
“Measurement drives diagnosis and response”: Gaps in transferring food security assessment to the urban scale
Published by Food Policy Journal,
This paper (PDF) in the Food Policy journal highlights the urban transition and attendant food security challenges, and reflects on existing food security measurement methods in the urban context. The understanding of food security has seen major shifts since the original conceptualisations of the challenge. These changes in understanding have been accompanied by different food security... »
Food and nutrition security in Southern African cities
Published by Taylor and Francis Group ,
This book places urban food and nutrition security firmly on the development and policy agenda. It shows that current efforts to address food poverty in Africa are misplaces and will remain largely ineffective in ameliorating food and nutrition insecurity for the majority of Africans. »
Poverty reduction during the rural–urban transformation
Published by Journal of Policy Modeling,
This article in the Journal of Policy Modeling, focuses on poverty reduction during the rural–urban transformation and argues that rural development is still more important than urbanisation. Given that a rapid population growth or rural–urban migration is likely to increase poverty, more emphasis should be placed on policies that enhance support for rural agricultural and non-agricultural sectors, according to the authors. »
Cities, planning and urban food poverty in Africa
Published by Routledge,
This chapter argues that there is a new role for urban planning (which in the African context takes the form of municipal spatial and land use planning) as a discipline to meet the food and nutrition security challenges facing African cities. Food insecurity has not historically been considered an urban planning issue. »
The urban agenda: Meeting the food and nutrition security needs of the urban poor
Published by SNV,
This paper explores the malnutrition situation in the urban environment and explores interventions that can be used to address it. Urbanization is expected to put an increased pressure on the global food systems. As the world’s cities expand, they are becoming home to an increasing number of malnourished people, particularly women and infants. »
Cities and agricultural transformation in Africa: Evidence from Ethiopia
Published by journal World Development,
This article explores the relationship between proximity to a city and the production behavior of rural staple crop producers. More in particular, the study analyzes data from teff producing farmers in major producing areas around Addis Ababa. »
Food (in)security in rapidly urbanising, low-income contexts
Published by International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health,
This article describes how, for the urban poor in low and middle-income countries, food affordability and utilization are shaped by the income and non-income dimensions of poverty that include the urban space. Urbanization in low and middle-income nations presents both opportunities and immense challenges. There is limited knowledge of how these challenges affect the ways in which poor urban residents gain access to food and secure healthy and nutritious diets. »
Rooftop gardening for improved food and nutrition security in the urban environment
Published by Springer,
This book chapter reviews the diversity of species and cultivars which can be grown on the roofs of buildings, and of how they can contribute to supplying a variety of nutrients. This can help to meet the requirements for a healthy diet and contribute to the food and nutrition security of the increasing urban population. »
The use of urban plant resources for health and food security in Kampala, Uganda
Published by Bangor University,
This PhD dissertation aims to provide an understanding of the current and potential contribution of urban plant resources to human wellbeing (with a focus on food security) in Kampala, Uganda. With some of the highest urbanization rates in the world, Sub-Saharan Africa faces serious challenges in providing sufficient, healthy and affordable foods for its growing urban populations. Urban biodiversity can provide people with healthy food products in addition to other ecosystem services. »
Urban diets and nutrition: Trends, challenges and opportunities for policy action
Published by Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition,
This policy brief explores the deepening crisis of urban malnutrition in low- and middle-income countries. Urban malnutrition will not ‘solve itself’ as average incomes increase. Without decisive action, the nutrition crisis in urban areas will deepen over the next decade in response to multiple pressures. »
Urban agriculture
Published by Spore,
This dossier discusses micro-gardening and urban farming initiatives, which help to address increased pressure on Africa’s food security as urban populations continue to rise. When correctly planned and managed, urban agriculture can provide fresh produce and increased dietary diversity, a source of income, and an opportunity to recycle waste products. »
The urbanization of malnutrition
Published by IPS,
This article discusses how rapid urbanization is shifting the impacts of malnutrition from rural to urban areas. Rural marginal landholders, compelled to abandon their food producing role, migrate to urban centers to join instead the growing millions of consumers. »
Promoting integrated and inclusive rural-urban dynamics and food systems
Published by IFAD,
This policy brief provides recommendations for creating synergies between different settlement types, leveraging rural-urban linkages, providing avenues for vulnerable groups to advocate for their interests, and supporting small-scale actors in food systems. »
Urbanization, rural transformation, and food security
Published by International Agri-Food Network,
This position paper gives policy recommendations to meet the challenge of improving food security and nutrition in the context of changing rural-urban dynamics. Policies and interventions have to adopt an integrated approach to development, dealing with rural and urban regions as part of a unified continuum of food systems. »
Alternative approaches to food: Community supported agriculture in urban China
Published by Sustainability Journal,
This article studies the role of new and alternative approaches to food. The paper focuses on the question of how community supported agriculture can deal with the food-related issues emerging from China's development. »
Urban-rural linkages: Let’s revitalise the broken rural-urban linkages!
Published by Rural 21 Journal,
This meeting report discusses the impacts urban growth is going to have on food security and nutrition, how it reshapes agricultural value chains and how small farmers can benefit from it. »
The role of urban-based agriculture on food security: Kenyan case studies
Published by Geographical Research,
This article characterizes urban farming and urban-based rural farming in two medium-sized towns in Kenya. The article further assesses food security levels of urban households engaged in farming and households that do not farm. »
Sustainable Development Goals: Strengthening rural-urban linkages is the key for India
Published by Financial Express,
This blog argues that strengthening rural-urban linkages is the key to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 2 in India. Rapid urbanization brings unique challenges to rural and urban areas, including challenges to agriculture and nutrition. Yet rapid urbanization also brings opportunities. To take advantage of these opportunities, strong rural-urban linkages are needed. »
Assessing the sustainability of vegetable production practices in northern Ghana
Published by International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability,
Urban vegetable production is an intensive agricultural strategy through which urban dwellers secure income and improve their livelihoods. This article aims to understand whether vegetable gardening is a sustainable form of intensification for urban dwellers. »
The rush for land in an urbanizing world: From land grabbing toward developing safe, resilient, and sustainable cities and landscapes
Published by World Development,
This article elaborates on the importance of linking debates on land governance and urbanization. It aims to contribute to current discussions about “making cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable” (SDG 11) by linking debates that are currently taking place in separate containers. »
India’s peri-urban frontier: rural-urban transformations and food security
Published by IIED, IFAD,
This working paper examines rural-urban transformations in India in relation to changes in food production, access, consumption, nutritional quality and safety. The authors demonstrate how efforts to address malnutrition in India are decoupled from urban development initiatives and associated areas of policy and planning and discuss the potential for peri-urban agriculture. »
How urbanization patterns can guide strategies for achieving adequate nutrition
Published by Springer,
This book chapter illustrates how understanding urban development and urbanization patterns can help policy makers prepare for and achieve better urban nutrition, including for the urban poor. To understand these urbanization patterns city size, urban infrastructures, trade and rural–urban linkages should be analysed. »
Food remittances: rural-urban linkages and food security in Africa
Published by IIED ,
This working paper elaborates on the importance of food remittance for analyzing rural-urban linkages and food security in Africa. The transfer of funds by migrants to their home countries is at an all-time high and food remitting also has a role to play in urban and rural food security. Yet despite its importance, researchers and policymakers tend to ignore food remitting. »
Global food policy report 2017
Published by IFPRI,
The Global Food Security Report is a yearly publication that provides a synthesis of all major developments regarding food policy. This edition pays special attention to the challenges of urbanization for food and nutrition security. »
A global analysis of land take in cropland areas and production displacement from urbanization
Published by Global Environmental Change,
This article analyses urban land take in cropland areas for the years 2000 and 2040, using a land systems approach. The results show that future urban expansion is primarily expected in areas that are also suitable and available for cropland, thus suggesting a continued competition for land between urban expansion and food production. »
Secondary towns, agricultural prices, and intensification: evidence from Ethiopia
Published by IFPRI, EDRI,
This working paper analyses how cities and secondary towns affect agricultural practices in their rural hinterlands. While most of the population in sub-Saharan Africa resides in cities and secondary towns, this relationship is not well understood. »
Urban expansion brought stress to food security in China: Evidence from decreased cropland net primary productivity
Published by Science of The Total Environment journal,
This paper in the Science of the Total Environment journal assesses the impact of urban expansion on the CNPP in China from 1992 to 2015 in a spatially explicit manner. The authors concluded that rapid urban expansion from 1992 to 2015 caused stress to China's food security. It is still vital for China to effectively protect cropland to improve the urbanization level to 60% by 2020. »
Mapping the invisible: The informal food economy of Cape Town, South Africa
Published by AFSUN,
This report maps the informal food sector and argues that the sector is of significant importance for reaching improved nutrition status of people. The authors argue that the informal food retail sector is an important component of urban food systems and plays a vital role in ensuring access to food for the urban poor. »
Urbanisation, rural transformations and food systems: the role of small towns
Published by IIED; IFAD,
This paper reviews evidence of the role of small towns in the ‘virtuous circle’ of rural-urban linkages, and distils the key lessons for equitable food security policy that is spatially and context specific. Drawing on lessons from a set of case studies from Tanzania and other examples, this paper aims to contribute to this debate by uniting a food systems approach with an explicit focus on small towns and large villages that play a key role in food systems. »
The role of private sector in city region food systems
Published by The RUAF Foundation,
This report elaborates on the role of the private sector in building more sustainable city region food systems. Private sector actors have the potential to contribute to more sustainable city region food systems, but up to date information on their role and initiatives is scarce. Little is known about their drivers for engagement, the extent and type of impact of their interventions, their needs for support and enabling policy environments. This study was done in order to better analyse the role of the private sector in building more sustainable city region food systems... »
Sustainable food systems: The role of the city
Published by Robert Biel,
This book by Robert biel brings an interdisciplinary approach to the role of the city in sustainable food systems, creating a dialogue between the physical and social sciences. Faced with a global threat to food security, it is perfectly possible that society will respond, not by a dystopian disintegration, but rather by reasserting co-operative traditions. This book, by a leading expert in urban agriculture, offers a genuine solution to today’s global food crisis... »
Inclusive use of urban space
Published by The RUAF Foundation,
In this issue of the Urban Agriculture Magazine the central theme 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. »
Urban disasters and resilience in Asia
Published by Elsevier,
In this book published by Elsevier Chapter 11 is dedicated to urban food security in Asia. This chapter focuses on the issues of food security in terms of diminishing urban agriculture land. Comparative analyses of cases from developing urban centers in Asia are discussed in order to highlight the commonalities and differences employed to devise strategies... »
Investing to nourish India’s cities
Published by The Chicago Council,
This report investigates India's challenges with regard to ensuring urban food security and the difference among urban resident groups in food security status. India is forecast to experience the largest increase in urban population of any country in the world. Cities are important for India's economy and provide higher incomes, support increased consumption and access to quality food options. However, much of urban India is considered highly or moderately food insecure. »
City region food systems and food waste management: Linking urban and rural areas for sustainable and resilient development
Published by GIZ, The RUAF Foundation, FAO,
This policy brief describes the results of 13 case studies on city region food systems and food waste management. It provides lessons learned on the institutionalisation of city region food policies and programmes and on design of specific programmes and policies for sustainable city region food systems. The brief concludes that City region food systems (CRFS) are vital to the implementation of the New Urban Agenda in three key ways. »
Vacant lots to vibrant plots: a review of the benefits and limitation of urban agriculture
Published by Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future,
This report argues that the benefits of urban agriculture are important but may be overstated. The report examines the benefits and limitations of agriculture and provides an overview of the documented outcomes of urban agriculture so far. Urban agriculture’s most significant benefits center around its ability to increase social capital, community well-being, and civic engagement with the food system. However, special attention should be paid to ensure that residents have a voice in decision-making. »
Growing food for growing cities: Transforming food systems in an urbanizing world
Published by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs,
This report argues that the global food system must transform to feed growing cities and that this transformation need to create opportunities for small-scale and especially female farmers. The growth of cities fuels an unprecedented demand for food, due to changing diets of people moving to cities, in combination with increase population growth, climate change. Feeding cities presents a major opportunity to improve the plight of millions of small-scale farmers and rural residents trapped in subsistence agriculture and joblessness. »
Urban-rural linkages and their future: Impacts on agriculture, diets and food security
Published by Food Security: Meanings, Practices and Policies,
This article focuses on the urban-rural linkages in the emerging food system. Recent debates on food and agricultural issues emphasize the significance of the spatialization of food systems and location of agriculture. In this emerging food system geography, urban-rural relationships play a significant role in food value chains, food security and nutrition, which is still poorly understood. This presentation explores these issues based on rural-urban scenarios in 2050. »
Food coping strategies in northern Ghana: A socio-spatial analysis along the urban–rural continuum
Published by Agriculture & Food Security,
This paper (PDF) in Agriculture & Food Security focuses on how households cope with food shortages and how these food coping strategies vary along the urban–rural continuum. In peri-urban and rural areas, gathering of wild food and selling of charcoal was widely practiced, while in urban areas, most households tended to reduce the number of... »
Growing food for growing cities: Urbanization as an opportunity for many small-scale farmers
Published by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs,
This blog adresses the new market opportunities for small-scale farmers. The author argues that the demand from urban consumers who are buying food from newly available chain stores is swelling and huge quantities of food are bought in supermarkets. While innovations in urban or vertical farms have a niche role to play, the overwhelming majority of this food will be sourced domestically from rural areas. As such, growing urban markets offer a significant new economic opportunity for farmers. »
Informal food systems and food security in rural and urban East Africa
Published by IIED,
In this briefing it is argued that urbanization, population growth and environmental change in East Africa are generating distinct food security challenges for urban slum dwellers and the rural poor. The author argues that the relation between rural and urban areas will change, especially in relation to food security. By 2050, the proportion of urban residents in East Africa will increase from 25 to 44 per cent. »
Urban versus conventional agriculture, taxonomy of resource profiles: a review
Published by Agronomy for Sustainable Development Journal,
This article in the Agronomy for Sustainable Development Journal review knowledge on urban versus conventional agriculture. Urban agriculture appears to be a means to combat the environmental pressure of increasing urbanization and food demand. However, there is hitherto limited knowledge of the efficiency and scaling up of practices of urban farming. The authors review the claims on urban agriculture’s comparative performance relative to conventional food production. »
Multifunctional rooftop horticulture: a promising strategy for intensifying horticulture production in cities
Published by Chronica Horticulturae,
This article argues that multifunctional rooftop horticulture is one of the more promising strategies to increase horticulture production in urbanized areas. It summarizes the different models and advantages of rooftop horticulture and provides a review of the main features of rooftop horticulture. It brings together existing experiences as well as suggestions for planning of future sustainable cities. »
Urbanisation and evolving food security challenges
Published by Springer,
The book chapter delves into policy oriented research in the area of food security and sustainable development. It focuses on the relationship between food insecurity and urbanisation in different human development contexts. »
Mapping for food safety in Nairobi’s slums
Published by IIED,
This article explores how communities in informal settlements in Nairobi, Kenya create and use maps to ensure food safety. While informal settlements tend to play a key role in the economies of cities, they are often not depicted on official maps from the government. However, a map on which food kiosks, street vendors and hazards such as rubbish dumps and open sewers are depicted can help to ensure food safety. »
Addressing undernutrition in the context of urbanisation in low- and middle-income countries
Published by DFID,
This report prepared for Department for International Development (DFID) of the UK, presents a set of challenges and opportunities for tackling under nutrition in low- and middle-income countries where DFID works. However, since it also displays different approaches to urbanisation issues, it can be useful for others practitioners in different countries. »
Urbanisation, rural transformations and food security: the view from China
Published by IIED,
This paper elaborates on the food security transition that China has undergone over the last 35 years. It tries to understand the evolving axes of inequality with regard to access to affordable, safe and nutritious food in the context of changing rural–urban linkages. In China the production, distribution and consumption of food changed in this period due to rapid economic growth, urbanisation and industrialisation. The paper discusses how this change was addressed by policies aimed at ensuring adequate food provision and the regulation of quality and safety. »
Urbanisation and rural development in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta: revisiting livelihood transformations in three fruit-growing settlements, 2006-2015
Published by IIED,
This article by IIED focusses on urbanisation and rural development in Vietnam's Mekong Delta. In 2006, the authors conducted a study of the social and economic transformations in three rural settlements in the area. Almost a decade later, this paper revisits the same settlements and describes their social and economic evolutions and the key factors that help decipher three distinct but similar trajectories. »
Can our global food system keep up with rapid urbanisation?
Published by GAIN,
This blogpost on the GAIN-webpage explores whether there are limits to the capacity of our global food system to deal with increased urbanization. The author argues that what is needed to ensure emerging urban markets do not lose nutritious foods, is the scaling up of innovative green cold chain technologies. »
Cities and agriculture: developing resilient urban food systems
Published by The RUAF Foundation,
This book “Cities and agriculture: developing resilient urban food systems” by the RUAF Foundation, provides urban planners, specialists, local policy makers and urban development practitioners with an overview of crucial aspects of urban food systems based on up-to-date review of research results and practical experiences in both developed and developing countries. »
Toward SDG 2: Food security and urbanization in the Global South
Published by CIGI,
This policy brief argues that urban food insecurity is significantly distinct from rural food insecurity and that therefore insecurity in urban areas must be addressed through a different set of policies. It provides policy suggestions for national governments in the Global South on how to improve sustainable, healthy food access in urban areas, and identifies issues that need to be addressed. »
Urbanisation and food insecurity risks: Assessing the role of human development
Published by Oxford Development Studies,
This article elaborates on the linkages between urban growth, food insecurity and levels of human development. It uses statistical modelling to analyse this. So far, there have not been systematic analyses on how urbanisation affects contemporary food insecurity risks or how these potential risks are likely to be mitigated by increases in human development. »
Effect of urban household farming on food security status in Ibadan metropolis, Oyo State, Nigeria
Published by Journal of Agricultural Sciences, Belgrade ,
The study in the Journal of Agricultural Sciences, investigated the effect of urban household farming on food security status in Ibadan metropolis, Oyo State, Nigeria. The study showed that the majority of the urban farming households were not food secure and fell below food security line. The authors recommends the policies that make extension services accessible to urban farmers and also skills development among others. »
Rural–urban linkages
Published by ILEIA and the RUAF Foundation,
This issue (PDF) of Farming Matters and Urban Agriculture Magazine is is a co-production between ILEIA and the RUAF Foundation. The issue looks at some existing experiences with strengthened rural–urban linkages and what they teach us about improving food systems for both consumers and agroecological farmers. »
Food in an urbanised world: The role of city region food systems in resilience and sustainable development
Published by FAO & ISU,
This report by the International Sustainability Unit (ISU) and FAO, aims to provide a synthesis of the current state of knowledge on city region food systems. Its objective is to clarify the on city region food system concept and analyse the proposed benefits of pursuing a city regional approach to food policy and planning. »
Urban agriculture and food security in developing countries: a case study of Eldoret Municipality, Kenya
Published by European Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences,
This article in the European Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences, investigates the contribution of Urban Agriculture to the food security of residents of Eldoret Municipality, Kenya with the aim of laying the foundation for future policy formulation for Urban Agriculture in Kenya. In the case of Eldoret Municipality, Urban Agriculture is seen to play important roles, including the provision of better nutrition, poverty alleviation, employment creation and environmental conservation. »
City Region Food Systems
Published by RUAF,
The RUAF Urban Agriculture Magazine No 29 (PDF) on City Region Food Systems addresses the growing attention for policy and practice approaches that focus on food issues from a city-regional perspective, taking into account possible contributions from urban and periurban agriculture and strengthening of urban-rural relations. »
Urbanization and linkages to smallholder farming in sub-Saharan Africa: Implications for food security
Published by Global Food Security Journal,
The article in the Global Food Security Journal reviews evidence on African urbanization trends and consequences of these for the smallholder sector and rural food security. The author highlights that urban growth is less rapid than often assumed and consumption rather than production driven, while liberalized trade regimes have globalized food systems. »
Grow the city: innovations in urban agriculture
Published by The RUAF Foundation,
This issue (PDF) of Urban Agriculture Magazine highlights innovations in urban agriculture and was made in collaboration with GROW the city, a project supported by Oxfam Novib, and coordinated by RUAF Foundation with ETC foundation and Wageningen UR. »
Reframing the debate on urbanisation, rural transformation and food security
Published by IIED,
This briefing by IIED highlights the need to adapt the rural-urban production-based debate on food security narratives: urban dwellers are not all ‘over consumers’; rural communities are not exclusively producers. The authors argue that it must be considered how consumption and urbanisation are transforming rural spaces and economies, food systems and food security. »
Understanding ‘urban youth’ and the challenges they face in Sub-Saharan Africa: unemployment, food insecurity and violent crime
Published by IDS,
This publication (PDF) by IDS reviews how the various definitions of ‘youth’ relate to three dominant discourses about poverty and vulnerability in urbanising Africa: 1) food insecurity; 2) unemployment; and 3) violence/insecurity. The paper’s discussion of common youth definitions seeks to identify if and when these are responsive to the needs of urban youth as well as practical for policy efforts aimed at reducing poverty and vulnerability in urban areas. »
City regions as landscapes for people, food and nature
Published by The Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative,
This publication (PDF) by The Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative is focused on how agriculture provides important and reciprocal benefits to the sustainable development of both rural and urban communities. The paper provides short examples of cities, initiatives and projects from around the world with key lessons learned and good practices. »
Growing greener cities in Latin America and the Caribbean
Published by FAO,
This FAO report (PDF), released at the World Urban Forum 2014, highlights urban and peri-urban agriculture in 10 major cities in Latin America and the Caribbean. The report looks at the progress that has been made toward realizing ‘greener cities’ in which urban and peri-urban agriculture is recognized by public policy and included in urban development strategies and land-use planning. The study is based on the results of a survey in 23 countries and data on 110 cities and municipalities. »
Urban China: toward efficient, inclusive, and sustainable urbanization
Published by Worldbank,
This joint report (PDF) by the World Bank and the Development Research Center of China’s State Council, addresses the challenges and opportunities of urbanization in China and aims to help China forge a new model of urbanization. The report includes six priority areas for a policy reform for urbanization. »
Netherlands Food Partnership

The F&BKP is continuing in Netherlands Food Partnership: find more knowledge & expertise at the NFP website.