Food security in an urbanizing society

Professor Han Wiskerke will be participating in a very interesting and innovative course about food security in an urbanizing society. The course is being offered by Wageningen University’s  Centre for Development Innovation and will take place 2 June 2014 until Fri 13 June 2014.

Course objectives

  • understand the basic premises of the metropolitan food cluster, sub-sector and spatial planning approaches , and how these can be integrated to ensure nutritious food to all strata of rural and urban communities;
  • be able to understand and intervene in complex rural-urban planning processes from an integrated, holistic and multi-stakeholder perspective;
  • have strengthened skills to develop and facilitate multi-stakeholder processes.

Target audience

Participants need to have several years of professional work experience in one of the following fields: rural and/or urban planning, local sub-sector, agribusiness cluster development and/or spatial planning, rural/urban livelihoods governance, sustainable development or other relevant areas. Proficiency in English is a must.

For more information, see: 

Rationale for the  course

Due to continuing rural-urban migration, over 50% of the world’s population now lives in densely populated urban areas. They rely heavily on all sorts of markets for their daily food needs. These are supplied through overstressed, complex agro-logistical networks that often fail. This course focuses on how rural production and urban market systems can be integrated such that rural and urban communities can access nutritious food that is both affordable and acceptable.

Agricultural production and markets from a spatial perspective

With increasing urbanisation, rural-urban food systems are essential in ensuring food security. The Metropolitan Food Cluster (MFC) approach, in which food production and market systems are integrated into a holistic, systemic and spatial manner, is slowly gaining a foothold in the rural and urban planning agendas. The model incorporates innovative change processes with technical, social and cultural aspects in an adaptive manner, addressing the challenges of complex food systems.

This new course focuses on how MFC and other innovative approaches can be adapted to better facilitate rural-urban integration, and to enhance food chains such that access to nutritious, adequate quantities of food to urban dwellers can be assured while sustaining the viability of the of the production areas.

In this exciting, highly interactive course, participants will get access to the latest concepts developed within the wider Wageningen UR community and brokered to them by the leading experts themselves. Through this network of excellence, participants will be fully acquainted with the new, innovative but very practical MFC approach. This flexible approach integrates territorial based sub-sector and spatial planning models with agri-logistical network and cluster planning concepts.

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About foodgovernance

Jessica Duncan is Assistant Professor in the Rural Sociology Group at Wageningen University. Originally from Canada, she lived in France, Spain and the UK before coming to the Netherlands. She holds a PhD in Food Policy from City University London and is the author of the book Global Food Security Governance: Civil society engagement in the reformed Committee on World Food Security (Routledge, 2015, ). Her research areas include: food policy; food security; global governance; environmental policy; participation; rural sociology. She is particularly interested in transitions towards environmentally sustainable food security governance.