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Workshop 2.8

Farming the cities: exploring the role of agriculture and food in enabling sustainable urban food systems


Aurora Cavallo, University of Molise and Cursa
Francesca Giarè, National Institute of Agricoltural Economics
Clara Cicatiello, University of Tuscia

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Urban, periurban and rural food systems close to the cities are increasingly important to food security. Planning for sustainable food production, distribution and consumption is an increasingly important issue for planners, farmers, suppliers, citizens. The capacity of urban contexts for food self reliance should be taken into account including environment impact, farmers practices, transport, consumption patterns, waste, governance of common resources.


A more localized agrifood systems approach can be promoted in connection to national and international food systems. Interactions of local and global food supply should be governed in ways that promote fair trade and local procurement to improve the conditions for small and limited resource farmers in all regions. This workshop aims to focus on the interaction of urban and rural food systems, not as separate systems, but as two complementary sides of agrifood systems everywhere that are a continuum between urban and rural landscapes. Some main questions to discuss concern: − How to build resilient agrifood systems integrating rural and urban dimensions? − How can the actors of various value chains supply more sustainable food to cities? Considering that rural-urban dynamics are rapidly evolving, what roles can linkages with rural areas play in food security for urban citizens? − How can farmers who supply the city secure access to productive land in suburban areas? − How the interaction between urban and rural systems may influence farming management and organization? − Does the urban food alternative networks promote innovations? − How to conceive a marketing strategy for farms involved in urban-rural dynamics? − Are short food supply chains and civic food networks models for a new, sustainable, and democratic food system? − In highly urbanised settings, which farming systems can produce healthy and sustainable food? − How urban agriculture can contribute to building sustainable cities? The workshop aims to involve scholars, experts, and authorities to discuss conceptual and methodological advances in exploring changes in agriculture and food and to draw lessons from experiences to develop proposals for sustainable urban agrifood systems. Participants will emphasize evaluative or territorial approaches, in order to cross the boundaries within both public policy (i.e. food, agriculture, planning, welfare) and scientific disciplines, such as economics, sociology, geography, urban planning. Case studies are welcome, particularly where they evaluate the impact of innovations on urban food systems and provide theoretical or methodological insights.

Workshop process

We propose to explore the role of the practices of producers, institutions, networks in building sustainable models. The workshop aspires to bring together academics, professionals, policy makers to explore methods and practices and to become a platform of ideas on sustainable agrifood planning. The workshop will be organised in a paper session with presentations of 15 minutes each, with discussant and a final debate among participants.

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