GFAR blog

Sowing the seeds of change: urban food policies


On my way to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) this morning I passed by a small food growing space set up by local residents. Onion leaves could be spotted popping out of the soil. Only a few inches away were the graffitied walls of the busy train station. Quite a contrast! But — what does this have to do with urban food policy?

Urban food systems: problems and solutions

Cities are often the places where our food system’s dysfunctions are most glaring. We see undernutrition and obesity, huge food waste and food poverty, “foodie culture” and food deserts – all in the same city. These inequalities are often found in the same neighbourhoods, the same households and even the same people, says Nicolas Bricas, UNESCO World Food Systems Chair and Researcher at CIRAD.

But cities are also centres of innovation, where solutions can emerge. People have long grown food in cities – be it in community gardens in London neighbourhoods, or in urban agriculture in ancient Rome. Urban food growing can make people think critically about their relationship with food. So what is the missing link between growing vegetables with your neighbours and enacting wider food system change?


Read the full post on the CFS website here.


Blogpost by Isabella Coin, #CFS43 Social Reporter – isa.coin(at)

This post is part of the live coverage during the 43rd Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), a project GFAR is running in collaboration with CFS. This post is written by one of our social reporters, and represents the author’s views only. 

Photo Credit: Christos Barbalis on Unsplash

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