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The challenge of systemic food change: Insights from cities

Sonnino, Roberta ORCID:, Tegoni, Cinzia L.S. and De Cunto, Anja 2019. The challenge of systemic food change: Insights from cities. Cities 85 , pp. 110-116. 10.1016/j.cities.2018.08.008

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An emerging literature recognizes cities as the optimal scale for food policy innovation, pointing to their pervasive emphasis on the adoption of a systemic approach to address the complex socio-ecological issues that have disrupted the internal metabolism of the food system. To date, however, no empirical effort has been made to identify the meanings and goals attributed to such an approach by municipal actors who are concretely involved with its implementation. To begin to fill this gap, this paper analyzes data (collected through a semi-structured questionnaire and a focus group) from 33 cities across the globe as part of a project that aimed to understand how a systemic approach to food is interpreted and applied in different urban contexts and, more broadly, whether there is a gap between food systems theory and practice. The analysis highlights a widespread emphasis on food policy integration and on the creation of an inclusive governance context but it also uncovers low levels of engagement by city governments with key food system actors operating at higher governance scales. As the paper concludes, there are substantial knowledge gaps that raise the need for a new research and policy agenda focused on the dialectical relationships between ordinary food practices and infrastructural transformations to enhance understanding of the role of food in place-making processes and to meet the challenge of systemic food change.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0264-2751
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 20 August 2018
Date of Acceptance: 18 August 2018
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 03:31

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