Recently the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) has published a brochure and briefing note about food and agriculture in and around cities. Like many international public bodies, national governments and NGOs the FAO is concerned about the social, economic, ecological and health consequences of the concentration of the world’s population in and around large cities. In the brochure the FAO states that there is an urgent need to invest in urban food programmes:
The 4th World Urban Forum cited the need for policies and interventions to ensure that the increasing number of urban poor do not get left behind. The food dimension of poverty in urban areas still has not been translated into sufficient policy action in many countries. Rural-urban linkages will become increasingly important. Urban policies also need to acknowledge the role of urban and peri-urban agriculture in urban development, ensure urban food supply and strengthen livelihoods of poor urban producers. This includes removing barriers and providing incentives for urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) as well as improving natural resource management in urban and peri-urban areas. … A paradigm shift in both urban and agriculture development, planning and policy formulation is required in order to ensure access to urban food security, improved environmental management and enhanced rural-urban linkages.
In order to broaden the approaches and to gather new insights for cities both of developing, intermediate or developed countries, the FAO’s Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum) has opened a debate which is, in terms of contributing to the debate, only open for FSN forum members. However, everyone can read contributions to the debate. Furthermore, for those interested in this topic, I can highly recommend the website of the FAO’s Food for the Cities Initiative. It contains a lot of interesting fact sheets and publications about the multiple aspects related to food, agriculture and cities.