Measuring Progress in Sustainable Food Cities: An Indicators Toolbox for Action
2. Measuring Success: Literature Review on Sustainability and Food System Indicators
2.1. What Is Assessed?
2.2. What Is the Logical Framework?
- The driving force-Pressure-State-Impact-Response framework (DPSIR) where the indicators are identified and clustered according to pressures or/and driving forces, system state or/and impacts, and responses. An example is Johnston’s et al.  examination of the determinants of sustainable diets and definition of a causal model and framework from which to build indicators.
- Theme-based frameworks, which cluster indicators around four dimensions of sustainability (environment, economy, society, and governance). There are many examples in the literature that depart from these dimensions  and even expand them, for instance adding cultural and food quality aspects . In the case of Nasir et al.,  they develop an index for measuring sustainability in food systems using three dimensions of food security: accessibility, availability and utilisation. By and large, all the exercises that aim to have a holistic perspective include social, health and wellbeing, economic, environmental and governance dimensions in their framework grouping them in different ways (see [48,51] for recent reviews).
- Goal-oriented approaches, which define an overall goal, desired outcomes and indicators to measure progress. Examples include Seekell’s  attempt to define global food system resilience indicators or the definition of sustainable nutrition outcomes of food systems, and the identification of 7 metrics and associated indicators to achieve them .
- Performance-based: aimed at measuring performance and setting up sustainability indicator targets and benchmarks to motivate the agents in the food system to contribute to the transformation.
- Values-based: aimed at communicating and mediating sustainability values to enable coordinated and cooperative action to transform the food system.
- Reflexive-based: grounded in both knowledge, the limits of knowledge, and values.
- Practice-based: focus on prescribing the necessary tools and systems required to implement good practices and therefore are process rather than outcome oriented.
2.3. How Are Indicators Selected?
2.4. What Are the Benefits and Limitations of These Exercises?
4. Co-Developing a Place-Based and Systems Approach to Assess Sustainable Food Cities
4.1. Sustainability Dimensions and Goals
4.2. Outcomes-Based Indicators
4.3. Outcomes-Based Indicators
4.4. Activity-Based Indicators and Associated Evidence
5. Application of the Framework in Cardiff
6. Conclusions: Assessment as a Tool for Food System Transformation
Conflicts of Interest
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|Goal||An overarching aim||Heathy cities|
|Outcome||A state or position which is reached in order that the goal is achieved||Low incidence of diet-related illnesses|
|Indicator (outcome-based)||A measure of progress towards delivery of an outcome, that is, a change in a relevant and measurable parameter||Decrease in the incidence of diet-related illnesses|
|Activity-based indicators||Activities that can potentially contribute to improve indicators||Increase portions of vegetables in school meals|
|Dimension||Governance||Health and Wellbeing||Economy||Environment|
|Goal||Ensure long-term success of city-scale food programmes by setting up cross-sectoral food partnerships that are embedded in high level city governance structures and deliver integrated food strategies and action plans covering all key food issues.||Improving physical and mental health and wellbeing by reducing food poverty; improving access to culturally acceptable, affordable healthy food for all; promoting healthy diets; and increasing participation in food related physical and social activity.||Creating new and sustainable jobs and businesses as part of a vibrant, culturally diverse and prosperous local food economy that provides fair and equitable economic benefits to all actors involved in both local and global supply chains.||Reducing the negative ecological and ethical impacts of the food system from production, processing and distribution to consumption and waste, including GHG emissions, soil and water degradation, biodiversity loss, waste and poor animal welfare.|
|Outcomes-Based Indicators |
(Examples, see full list in Supplementary C)
|Establishment of a local food partnership |
Adoption of a food strategy and action plan covering all food issues
|Decrease in the number of people requiring emergency food aid |
Decrease in the number of people overweight or obese
|Increase in the number of jobs in the local food economy |
Increase in the amount of money circulating in the local food economy
|Decrease in greenhouse gas emissions associated with the food system |
Decrease in the consumption of meat and meat-based products
|Health and Wellbeing||Economy||Environment|
|LEVERS FOR CHANGE |
(Example of ACTIVITY-BASED INDICATORS under lever for change: Infrastructure & planning)
|The Council works to prevent the development of food deserts (where people cannot access affordable healthy food within 500 m) and food swamps (where the high street is dominated by fast food outlets).||The Council maps redundant retail and brownfield sites and makes them available to new food enterprises, for example through use of meanwhile and special leases and business rates reductions and holidays.||The Council maps green and brownfield sites that could be used for food growing, composting and local food processing and distribution and makes them available to local communities.|
|The Council/city protects and/or re-establishes vital local sustainable food infrastructure, such as Grade 1 and 2 agricultural land, local processing and wholesale businesses, food hubs and distribution networks. |
EVIDENCE (The evidence and case study presented here are to illustrate the functioning of the toolkit. Each activity has its own range of related evidence and case studies.)
Grey and academic literature Ref 30. Campaign to Protect Rural England. 2012. ‘Mapping Local Food Webs Toolkit’. CPRE. The Food Webs Toolkit stresses the importance of maintaining and building strong local food infrastructures to create new jobs, and small businesses, to ensure that more money is spent and stays in the local economy, to reduce food miles and food waste and to secure better access to fresh, healthy and affordable food.
Case study CS18. Brighton & Hove City Council holds in public ownership 11,923 acres of ‘downland’ farmland. A City Downland Advisory Board has been established to develop policy which supports a viable local farm economy, diversification such as eco-tourism reconnects farmers and city residents, and promotes sustainable food production.
|Types of Activity-Related Indicators||N Activities Achieved||N Cross-Cutting Activities Achieved||Total Achieved||Potential N of Activities (with Cross-Cutting)||% Achieved|
|By Outcomes/Sustainability Dimensions||Health||5||4||9||25||36%|
|By Levers for Change *||Partnership & collaboration||2||3||67%|
|policies and strategies||4||7||57%|
|Infrastructure and planning||1||9||11%|
|Public services and support||4||9||44%|
|Knowledge and awareness||4||12||33%|
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Moragues-Faus, A.; Marceau, A. Measuring Progress in Sustainable Food Cities: An Indicators Toolbox for Action. Sustainability 2019, 11, 45. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11010045
Moragues-Faus A, Marceau A. Measuring Progress in Sustainable Food Cities: An Indicators Toolbox for Action. Sustainability. 2019; 11(1):45. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11010045Chicago/Turabian Style
Moragues-Faus, Ana, and Alizée Marceau. 2019. "Measuring Progress in Sustainable Food Cities: An Indicators Toolbox for Action" Sustainability 11, no. 1: 45. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11010045