Assessing sustainable urban food system innovations : towards participatory impact pathway mapping

Valette Elodie, Bonomelli Veronica, Schreiber Kerstin, Blay-Palmer Alison. 2018. Assessing sustainable urban food system innovations : towards participatory impact pathway mapping. . UFRGS. Porto Alegre : s.n., Résumé, 1 p. International Conference on Agriculture and Food in an Urbanizing Society. 3, Porto Alegre, Brésil, 17 September 2018/21 September 2018.

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Abstract : Given the growing pressures on our planet through the current food system, it is increasingly important to understand the transformative potential of urban food systems and their capacity to build pathways to sustainability. According to the United Nations, more than half of the world's population now lives in urban areas with predictions that this proportion will increase to approximately two thirds by 2050. Given current lifestyle and consumption practices, people living in urban areas monopolize three-quarters of all natural resources and account for 60-80% of global GHG emissions (Unep, 2011). But if cities concentrate sustainability problems, they are also places of innovation that can contribute to building more sustainable food systems. Both urban government and citizen food initiatives flourish in Northern and Southern cities and offer new ways of feeding cities and connecting actors of urban and rural territories around food issues (Blay-Palmer et al.2018, Robineau & al. 2016, Viljoen & Wiskerke 2012). Largely supported by civil society or local governments, these initiatives are usually seen as alternatives to the dominant food system (Moragues-Faus and Marsden 2017, Lang 1999) and ways to contest industrial capitalism. However, research has not yet delivered a clear understanding about the innovations in play and how they influence the sustainability of the resulting food systems. Initiatives such as the Sustainable Development Goals with the emphasis on indicators privilege technocratic approaches, while case studies can be limited in terms of their transferability. Within this context, understanding how to move towards increasingly sustainable food systems in cities and their regions is a challenge. The research programme URBAL builds from existing work on sustainable food system assessment (e.g. RUAF 2017, FAO 2017, Bricas 2014), impact pathway mapping (e.g. Padilla et al. 2002, Hainzelin et al., 2017) and innovation with an emphasis on social innovation (Westley and Antadanze 2009). The Urbal project uses participatory research to build and test a holistic approach that integrates all dimensions of urban food system sustainability to give managers, grassroots organisations and policy-makers a common overview of innovation impact pathways. The sustainability framework developed by Bricas (2014) is at the core of our research approach so that we include economic, environmental, socio-cultural, food security and nutrition and governance considerations as central to our research and look for innovations that include two or more of these sustainability dimensions. The goal is to develop a methodology that uses mapping workshops to make impact pathways apparent and to assess how innovations are taken up and enable practitioners to bring about change. By testing this holistic methodology through various Urban Food Innovation Labs (UFILs) including sites in the Global South and North, this project aims to provide decision-makers with actionable information about which urban-driven innovations can help build more sustainable food systems.

Mots-clés libres : Social innovation, Food systems, Sustainability, Impact pathway

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Valette Elodie, CIRAD-ES-UMR ART-DEV (FRA) ORCID: 0000-0002-2104-0445
  • Bonomelli Veronica
  • Schreiber Kerstin
  • Blay-Palmer Alison, Wilfrid Laurier University (CAN)

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