Recipe for Success? Developing and Testing a Practical Conceptual Framework for Urban Food Systems Governance
Duran IV, P.J.
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Across the world, cities are growing at a rapid pace. Over half of the world’s population currently lives in cities – a trend only expected to continue into the future. At the same time, the global food system that sustains us is heading a dangerous direction. Environmental damage from the farm to the waste bin is rampant, worker exploitation continues, living wages continue to diminish and people – city dwellers especially – are losing touch with the system that provides them with sustenance. Combine these problems with a changing climate and dwindling resources, and it is not difficult to realize the food system as a whole is in a bad place. Some of these problems are even more glaring in cities, as they are devoid of food production, create massive amounts of (food) waste, and are host to a unique range of other troubles; however, hope is not lost. Stakeholders are starting to take production and self-sufficiency back into their own hands through urban agriculture. NGOs are trying to make consumers aware of the health and environmental effects their eating habits through information campaigns. Local governments are facilitating farmers’ markets to provide local economic growth opportunities and increased access to fresh food. Unfortunately, it is not likely that these individual, isolated efforts have little chance at having a large effect on the general direction of the food system. Food policy councils (FPCs) have recently come to the fore as a form of uniting body that coordinates, focuses and upscales such efforts. However, there have been few attempts to uncover what makes these and similar organizations successful forms of urban food systems governance. Thus, this is the topic of this research – to elucidate what makes effective food systems governance, based on what we know from the empirical literature, with additional insight coming from the co-management literature, from both an institutional and network perspective. I will attempt to merge these literatures in order to provide a framework that could provide a rough blueprint for successful urban food systems governance via such governance arrangements.