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Dr. Ana Moragues Faus
Cardiff School of Planning and Geography
Cardiff University
Glamorgan Building
King Edward VII Avenue
Cardiff CF10 3WA
Wales, UK
Tel. +44 (0)29 208 75774

Urban Food Strategies

Cover Report Urban Food Strategies

This guide provides motivation and support for those actors interested in building more sustainable food systems in urban contexts.
Download version (2.4 MB)

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What is a Community of Practice (CoP)?

A Community of Practice (CoP) is a group that evolves or is created specifically based on common interests in a particular field, with the goal of gaining knowledge related to that field. It is through the process of sharing information and experiences within the group that members learn from each other and have an opportunity to develop. Though this type of learning has been going on for centuries, spatial barriers have hindered this type of exchange and therefore new techniques will be experimented with in our project, such as online networking tools.

The three communities of practice the Foodlinks project is exploring have been created specifically for this project with the strong desire that these groups evolve and grow over the length of our project and beyond.

Community of Practice (CoP) Urban Food Strategies

Conceptualizing Urban Food Strategies

Our creative exchange and collective efforts, building on individual experiences, have led to a shared and improved understanding of urban food strategies (UFS), exploring how we best can define UFS, which elements they typically exhibit, and what use urban food strategies (can) have for municipalities, citizens, producers (e.g. farmers) and other stakeholders.

Building on documented examples of UFS emergence, we have:

  • illustrated the different paths and forms UFS take, understanding some of the variety across Europe in the design of particular food strategies;
  • described the underlying dynamics and processes in the different contexts;
  • learnt about strengths and weaknesses;
  • and gone beyond a mere state-of-the-art perspective of urban food strategies to include a vision of why, what and how urban food strategies might emerge and be supported.

Urban Food Strategies – Why, What, How?

Stemming from the knowledge brokerage activities conducted inside the CoP and with our respective cities; we have collaboratively developed a guide to provide motivation and support for those actors interested in building more sustainable food systems in urban contexts. Far from proposing a recipe to develop UFS, we have compiled distinct motivations, measures, ideas, processes and examples that we hope are useful to inspire action towards more sustainable and just food systems for all. The document is structured in three sections:

1. Why do we need Urban Food Strategies in the first place?
This section gives a short overview of the consequences of our unsustainable food system for our wellbeing, including health issues, environmental impacts, economic performance, injustice and cultural erosion. We show how this global context is intrinsically connected to our local realities, and consequently we point out the potential of our cities and local governments to reverse these trends.

2. What is an Urban Food Strategy?

UFS can take many forms, and are conditioned by their local context. We celebrate this diversity and give a broad overview of what UFS look like around Europe. Therefore, this section collects visions and goals from UFS, and shows how they are translated into practices, instruments and actions. We have compiled measures and highlighted some good practices from cities that are already implementing their UFS in order to inspire other cities. Finally we describe how stakeholders organize in different places and the importance of assuring participation from key actors – but also of continually engaging with the city as a whole.

3. How do we develop an Urban Food Strategy?

So… where to start? The final section does not aim to provide a recipe, but rather to promote the sharing of experiences between cities. It proposes various stages to take into account when embarking on the process of developing an UFS. Managing participation is key to accomplishing a transformation of your urban food system. A preliminary evaluation on how your city is fed will give you the necessary data and information to start developing shared visions and goals, and an action plan towards achieving them. Thinking about how to monitor and evaluate your work is also essential, in order to improve your strategy and advance the process of constructing a sustainable food city.

Linking science – policy – community

Linking between the very different ‘spheres’ of science, policy, and civil society organisations has been the focal activity of our efforts to understand urban food strategies. In that process, we have explored the research reservoir and discuss the need for further research with distinct actors through an open webinar. This webinar can be watched below.

We have also worked to identify, test, and optimize efficient tools for the exchange of knowledge and experience, with a shared goal of reporting on promising strategies for the communication between researchers, policy makers and civil society organizations regarding the development of urban food strategies, as well as to reflect on the limitations and challenges we have encountered, including differences in power and forms/uses/values/assumptions underlying knowledge exchange.

For a complete account of our activities and results please consult the final report on the UFS CoP (2.4 MB).

Urban Food Strategies Webinar



Dr. Ana Moragues Faus, CoP Coordinator, Cardiff School of Planning and Geography, Cardiff University, United Kingdom