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IUFN Study – Measuring impact of city region food systems?

Be it bottom-up initiatives led by citizens’ movements, or innovative solutions proposed by local authorities, alternatives to the conventional food systems are popping-up around the world.  Their overarching goal – to feed sustainably local population while being more sustainable. The scale of action vary, though more and more of these initiatives grow within what could be called a city region, a territoire including urban, peri-urban and larger rural areas nearby the city center.  This re-regionalisation of our food systems is today gaining a strong interest from both research community and the decision makers as a new territorial development paradigm.

As a emerging concept, city region food systems do not benefit yet from a huge literature, best practices are still scares. Thus today, we are lacking data to assess the impacts (positive and negative) of city region food systems on the territorial level. What benefits in terms of local employment? What impact on local natural resources management? What integration of these strategies in a global regional development scheme? What social integration and what real contribution to local food security?

In order to contribute to this debate IUFN with a support of the French Ministry of Environment (Ministère de l’environnement, du développement durable et de l’énergie) is currently conducting a 10-month study to figure out how to evaluate the impact of city region food systems and to provide first data.

Based on the assumption that a sustainable food system should primarily aim at ensuring the food security of local populations, while respecting the sustainable development finalities, the study will first produce an impact assessment of a selection of case studies – local initiatives in the two pioneering territories – the one of Bristol (UK) and the one of Toronto (Canada), widely recognized as pioneers in the field of city region food systems. This preliminary phase shall lead to a city region food systems impact assessment grid design.

The second part of the study will then focus on the French context in order to identify the potential levers and obstacles for setting up city region food systems in France. A workshop with French actors will take place in September 2015, to get a first feedback on the case studies and the possible application of a systemic thinking on food policies in France.

The final report scheduled for December 2015 will propose a possible path for city region food systems assessment for initiatives developing in industrialized countries and will offer first reality check with two pilot territories. It will provide specific recommendations for French decision makers in this field and more globally, it shall contribute to a better understanding of city region food systems as a potential alternative to conventional food system.

As a part of the study’s methodology, IUFN convenes French local and national stakeholders to a one-day workshop – ‘Promoting city region food systems in France’, destined to design possible solutions in developing city-region food systems approach in France. This workshop features many inspiring speakers, amongst whom, Brigitte Allain, French deputy (Green party) author of a recent report ‘Et si on mangeait local?’ (What about eating local?), Lauren Baker, Toronto Food Council Facilitator and Joy Carey, Consultant in Bristol (UK), author of the report Who Feeds Bristol?

Check the program of the Workshop Promoting city region food systems in France of Septembre 17th 2015 in Paris, La Défense, HQ of Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable development and Energy

For more information on this study, please contact:

Eléonore FRANCOIS, Project Manager, eleonore(dot)francois(at)iufn(dot)org
Morgane SCOUARNEC, Project Assistant, morgane(dot)scouarnec(at)iufn(dot)org
Sophie GLEIZES, Project Assistant, sophie(dot)gleizes(at)iufn(dot)org