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Special Issue "Agriculture in Urban Food Systems: Models and Practices"

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 September 2022) | Viewed by 16193

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Davide Marino
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biosciences and Territory, University of Molise, 86100 Campobasso, Italy
Interests: urban food systems; urban–rural linkages; food systems sustainability policy monitoring and assessment; urban agriculture; food policy councils; participative processes; landscape; ecosystem services
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Giampiero Mazzocchi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural, Food and Agro-environmental Sciences, University of Pisa, 56124 Pisa, Italy
Interests: urban food systems; urban–rural linkages; food systems sustainability policy monitoring and assessment; urban agriculture; food policy councils; participative processes

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In light of the challenges that all cities face today, food is offered as a prism through which to read and intervene on various areas that affect the quality of life of the population: circular economy, urban metabolism, social relations, economies, and food quality. Numerous factors require a theoretical revision of the relationships that the city weaves with the surrounding territory for the purposes of food production, processing, and distribution. The de-territorialization of food systems has manifested in a very decisive manner in recent decades, with evident and dramatic consequences on the ability to manage and govern material (materials raw, processed products, and food waste) and immaterial (knowledge, traditions, and consumer-producer relations) flows related to food. Simultaneously, with a growing interest of research and institutions for urban–rural relations, cities have begun to think about how to integrate, connect, and protect green agricultural areas and the social, economic, and environmental functions they provide to the wellbeing of the population. Urban agriculture is often considered as a framework within which many solutions can be found. Nevertheless, the role that fringe and peri-urban agricultural areas can play in sustainably feeding cities is usually underestimated. Further, the relationships between agriculture and cities shape dietary patterns and intertwine environmental challenges, combining socioecological systems and food regimes.

 

Through this Special Issue, our aim is to contribute to two different, yet narrowly intertwined, questions: (1) What models and theories can we rely on to understand, analyze, and assess the contributions of agriculture to urban challenges? (2) Which cases do we know about the integration of agriculture within urban food policies? What are their characteristics? What are their governance models?

This Special Issue will identify promising pathways and discuss challenges that need to be addressed with priority. Topics of interest include:

  • Urban and peri-urban agriculture for more sustainable food systems;
  • Agriculture in urban–rural linkages;
  • Innovative approaches connecting agriculture and cities;
  • Monitoring and assessment models for urban food systems;
  • Interactions between agriculture and nutrition;
  • Agriculture and public food procurement;
  • Urban food policies’ impact analysis;
  • Contribution of agriculture to urban metabolism;
  • Agriculture and food democracy in cities;
  • Access to land and land use issues;
  • Agriculture and urban ecosystem services;
  • Agricultural systems in the food–water–energy nexus;
  • Short food supply chains and local agriculture;
  • Stakeholder analysis in urban food movements and alternative food networks;
  • Agriculture, cities and dietary patterns;
  • The contribution of agriculture to multiple Sustainable Development Goals;
  • Urban socioecological systems and food regimes.

Prof. Dr. Davide Marino
Dr. Giampiero Mazzocchi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Land is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • urban food systems
  • urban and peri-urban agriculture
  • food policies
  • urban–rural linkages

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

Article
Integrated Multi-Level Assessment of Ecosystem Services (ES): The Case of the Casal del Marmo Agricultural Park Area in Rome (Italy)
Land 2022, 11(11), 2055; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11112055 - 16 Nov 2022
Viewed by 416
Abstract
The aim of this study was to investigate the role of the ES assessment within a “place-based policy-mix model” for urban planning testing and integrating three ES assessment methodologies: (1) mapping and assessment, (2) expert-based evaluation and (3) social perception. The results indicate [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to investigate the role of the ES assessment within a “place-based policy-mix model” for urban planning testing and integrating three ES assessment methodologies: (1) mapping and assessment, (2) expert-based evaluation and (3) social perception. The results indicate that (1) mapping assessment provides higher values to the regulating ecosystem services, (2) expert-based evaluation provides slightly lower values to the regulating ecosystem services and (3) social perception highlights the importance of cultural ES but tends to underestimate other ecosystem functions. These three methodologies translate into sectorial and nondialoguing policies for which decisions are made on partial and nonintegrated information. In order to design integrated policies with a view to the sustainability of the local food system, our results indicate that the planning of urban and peri-urban agricultural areas should rely on tools capable of integrating both spatial mapping methods and human-based assessment methodologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture in Urban Food Systems: Models and Practices)
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Article
Contract Farming and Technical Efficiency: A Case of Export-Oriented Organic Rice Farmers in Pakistan
Land 2022, 11(11), 1953; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11111953 - 01 Nov 2022
Viewed by 370
Abstract
Although organic rice is a niche market in Pakistan, it has exhibited enormous potential for growth in export-oriented production. Since contract farming is the leading promoter of export-oriented organic rice production in Punjab, Pakistan, improving the technical efficiency of smallholder rice farmers through [...] Read more.
Although organic rice is a niche market in Pakistan, it has exhibited enormous potential for growth in export-oriented production. Since contract farming is the leading promoter of export-oriented organic rice production in Punjab, Pakistan, improving the technical efficiency of smallholder rice farmers through contract farming holds sufficient potential. This work examines the influence of contract farming participation on smallholder rice farmers’ technical efficiency using a cross-sectional data set of 650 respondents. We applied a stochastic frontier analysis (SFA) to examine the production frontier and inefficiency estimates. Further, propensity score matching (PSM) was used to control endogeneity and self-selection bias in technical efficiency estimates. The results reveal that the technical efficiency score of organic rice farmers in Punjab, Pakistan, is 89.7%, which can still be improved by 10.3% at the current sociodemographic characters and input levels. Likewise, land size, seed, and machine expenditures are the key inputs of the production frontier. Results show a positive and significant connection between contract farming participation and technical efficiency. The study extends the literature on technical efficiency, export-oriented production, contract farming, and the well-being of smallholder farmers. Moreover, the study’s findings provide cues for policies and practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture in Urban Food Systems: Models and Practices)
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Article
Agritourism and Farms Diversification in Italy: What Have We Learnt from COVID-19?
Land 2022, 11(8), 1215; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11081215 - 02 Aug 2022
Viewed by 732
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly disrupted the household behavior in all areas and also those related to eating and daily food. Research carried out shows there have been significant changes compared to pre-COVID levels in the way consumers plan their food purchases. Based [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly disrupted the household behavior in all areas and also those related to eating and daily food. Research carried out shows there have been significant changes compared to pre-COVID levels in the way consumers plan their food purchases. Based on the results of empirical data and emerging information such as ad hoc reports and analysis of academic literature, the authors aim to understand the effect of COVID-19 on agricultural and extra-agricultural activities in diversified Italian farms. More specifically, due to their importance at a national level, the focus of the analysis is represented by the agritourism, how they have reacted to the challenges posed by the pandemic, and towards which evolutionary lines they are orienting themselves to face the next future challenges. Empirical data for this study were collected through the use of a questionnaire survey, managed by the research team. The survey, conducted online during summer 2021, was designed by using a random stratified sampling for which the farms are characterized by a certain heterogeneity of the activities carried out (i.e., hospitality, processing of products, renewable energy production, etc.). The research activity covered the entire Italian territory and the number of responding farms with agritourism activities is equal to 77 (a 17.5% response rate). The results highlight the importance of farm with agritourism activities in dealing with COVID-19 crisis and policy implications in terms of support for the competitiveness of farms, exchange of knowledge, and innovations among farmers that should be taken into consideration to target the next rural development policy at the EU, the national and regional level. At the same time, the sample reaction methods to the pandemic and the changing business strategies highlight a certain resilience of Italian farms with agritourism activities, thus showing their ability to adapt. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture in Urban Food Systems: Models and Practices)
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Article
Territory Matters: A Methodology for Understanding the Role of Territorial Factors in Transforming Local Food Systems
Land 2022, 11(7), 1046; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11071046 - 10 Jul 2022
Viewed by 934
Abstract
The unsustainability of the globalized food system is a relevant debate. Despite the vast amount of literature on sustainable food systems, there is little research explaining how food system innovations can scale impact and influence systemic change. Moreover, not much literature considers the [...] Read more.
The unsustainability of the globalized food system is a relevant debate. Despite the vast amount of literature on sustainable food systems, there is little research explaining how food system innovations can scale impact and influence systemic change. Moreover, not much literature considers the territorial context in which innovations take place, as a key factor in fostering transition. In this paper, we attempt to understand how territorial factors, such as actors and networks, influence sustainable food system transition. To achieve this goal, we built and applied an original methodology that was able to map the specific territorial context and dynamics. Considering a case study of 12 urban food system innovations in Montpellier (France), we reconstructed the relational context, in order to demonstrate the key role of embedded territorial dynamics in fostering sustainable transition. The application of our methodology produced about seven territorial conditions, which are defined by the differences between innovations, power relations and dynamics, the role of politics and the so-called “spaces of governance”. Each of these conditions plays a critical role in the transition to a sustainable food system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture in Urban Food Systems: Models and Practices)
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Article
An Ecosystem Service Approach to Assessing Agro-Ecosystems in Urban Landscapes
Land 2022, 11(4), 469; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11040469 - 25 Mar 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1540
Abstract
Creating sustainable urban landscapes in light of growing population pressures requires interdisciplinary multi-functional solutions. Alternative agro-ecosystems described as food forests, permaculture gardens, and/or edible landscapes among others could offer potential ways to address the social, economic, and ecological goals of various stakeholders simultaneously. [...] Read more.
Creating sustainable urban landscapes in light of growing population pressures requires interdisciplinary multi-functional solutions. Alternative agro-ecosystems described as food forests, permaculture gardens, and/or edible landscapes among others could offer potential ways to address the social, economic, and ecological goals of various stakeholders simultaneously. Current research is lacking a comprehensive tool that can assess the performance of alternative agro-ecosystems that have both functional and aesthetic values. The present research uses a novel rubric, the Permaculture and Agro-ecosystems Sustainability Scorecard (PASS) that combines agricultural sustainability and ecosystem services (ES) indicators in order to assess alternative agro-ecosystems. The rubric evaluates provisioning, regulating, supporting, economic and cultural ES and includes benefits such as pollinator presence, increased biodiversity, alternative pesticides and fertilizer use, carbon sequestration, food security, and human interactions. Based on the concepts and principles drawn from four popular frameworks and sub-disciplines, namely, SAFE, SITES, permaculture, and agroecology, we identify sixteen broad ES indicators and 59 sub-indices and measure them using data collected through site observation, survey, interviews, and documentary research. For easy comparison across different urban agriculture sites, the above sub-indices are further aggregated into five ES criteria using stakeholder-informed weights. The weights are developed through pair-wise comparison of criteria by sample survey respondents. The PASS framework is used to score twelve sites in South Florida that meet specific criteria in the small farm, residential, and public space categories. Sample respondents place the highest weight on cultural services. Contrary to the popular notion of promoting urban agriculture for food security, the results show that the majority of the sites score highest in the supporting services provided, followed by regulating and cultural services, and lowest in the economic services category. The supporting service for most of the sample sites score consistently very high, close to the highest possible level of 5.0. There is a wide variation in provisioning and economic values across the study sites. The paper offers several ideas for mainstreaming the ES indicators into urban planning and decision-making and some of the practical difficulties one might face along the way. We conclude that in order to realize the broader ES benefits of urban agriculture in particular and agro-ecosystems in general, a multi-pronged policy and planning approach is necessary. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture in Urban Food Systems: Models and Practices)
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Article
A GIS-Based Simulation Method for Regional Food Potential and Demand
Land 2021, 10(8), 880; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10080880 - 21 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2447
Abstract
A quantitative assessment of food-water-energy interactions is important to assess pathways and scenarios towards a holistically sustainable regional development. While a range of tools and methods exist that assess energetic demands and potentials on a regional scale, the same is not true for [...] Read more.
A quantitative assessment of food-water-energy interactions is important to assess pathways and scenarios towards a holistically sustainable regional development. While a range of tools and methods exist that assess energetic demands and potentials on a regional scale, the same is not true for assessments of regional food demand and potential. This work introduces a new food simulation workflow to address local food potential and demand at the regional level, by extending an existing regional energy-water simulation platform. The goal of this work is to develop a GIS-based bottom-up approach to simulate regional food demand that can be linked to similarly GIS-based workflows assessing regional water demands and energetic demands and potentials. This allows us to study food-water-energy issues on a local scale. For this, a CityGML land use data model is extended with a feed and animal potential raster map as well as a soil type map to serve as the main inputs. The workflow simulates: (1) the vegetal and animal product food potentials by taking climate, crop type, soil type, organic farming, and food waste parameters into account; (2) the food demand of vegetal and animal products influenced by population change, body weight, age, human development index, and other indicators. The method is tested and validated in three German counties with various land use coverages. The results show that restricting land used exclusively for energy crop production is the most effective way to increase annual food production potential. Climate change by 2050 is expected to result in annual biomass yield changes between −4% and 2% depending on the region. The amount of animal product consumption is expected to rise by 16% by 2050, while 4% fewer vegetal products are excepted to be consumed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture in Urban Food Systems: Models and Practices)
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Article
Where Do I Allocate My Urban Allotment Gardens? Development of a Site Selection Tool for Three Cities in Benin
Land 2021, 10(3), 318; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10030318 - 19 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1588
Abstract
In the context of rapid urbanization, poorer residents in cities across low- and middle-income countries increasingly experience food and nutrition deficiencies. The United Nations has highlighted urban agriculture (UA) as a viable solution to food insecurity, by empowering the urban poor to produce [...] Read more.
In the context of rapid urbanization, poorer residents in cities across low- and middle-income countries increasingly experience food and nutrition deficiencies. The United Nations has highlighted urban agriculture (UA) as a viable solution to food insecurity, by empowering the urban poor to produce their own fresh foods and make some profit from surplus production. Despite its potential role in reducing poverty and food insecurity, there appears to be little political will to support urban agriculture. This is seen in unclear political mandates that are sustained by information gaps on selection criteria for UA sites. The research reported here addresses this issue in the form of a decision-making support tool that assesses the suitability of cadastral units and informal plots for allotment gardens in urban and peri-urban areas. The tool was developed and tested for three rapidly expanding cities in Benin, a low-income country in West Africa, based on an ordered logit model that relates a set of 300 expert assessments on site suitability to georeferenced information on biophysical and socio-economic characteristics. Soil, land use, groundwater depth, vicinity to market and women’s safety were significant factors in the assessment. Scaled up across all cadastral units and informal sites, the tool generated detailed baseline maps on site suitability and availability of areas. Its capacity to support policymakers in selecting appropriate sites comes to the fore by reporting changes in site suitability under scenarios of improved soil fertility and enhanced safety for women. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture in Urban Food Systems: Models and Practices)
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Article
Smallholder Commercialization and Urban-Rural Linkages: Effect of Interest-Free Agriculture Credit on Market Participation of Rice Growers in Pakistan
Land 2021, 10(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10010007 - 23 Dec 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3410
Abstract
This study estimates the effect of interest-free agriculture credit on the market participation and urban-rural linkages of rice growers in Pakistan. A survey was conducted to collect primary data using purposive and simple random sampling techniques from Punjab, Pakistan. This study applied the [...] Read more.
This study estimates the effect of interest-free agriculture credit on the market participation and urban-rural linkages of rice growers in Pakistan. A survey was conducted to collect primary data using purposive and simple random sampling techniques from Punjab, Pakistan. This study applied the Instrument Variable (IV) approach and Ordinary Least Square (OLS) to evaluate the impact of interest-free credit on market participation and income. The results show a mixed influence of interest-free credit on rice growers’ market participation and urban-rural linkages. In general, the effect is negative when farmers obtained credit for six months. However, it shows a positive impact when farmers’ received credit for the next consecutive crop. Our findings suggest that the provision of interest-free credit for one year served a better purpose as it significantly attempted to alleviate budget constraints and endorsed farmers to increase land size under rice cultivation and improve productivity, market participation, and urban-rural linkages. The study provides three valid instruments and, therefore, a superior estimate of effect is achieved which can be leveraged to better support coherent agri-food policymaking. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture in Urban Food Systems: Models and Practices)
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Article
Green Infrastructure Planning in Metropolitan Regions to Improve the Connectivity of Agricultural Landscapes and Food Security
Land 2020, 9(11), 414; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9110414 - 28 Oct 2020
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 2998
Abstract
Green infrastructure (GI), as a concept and as a tool for environmental land-use planning at various scales, has burst onto the academic, political, and policy-making scenes in the last two decades. This tool, associated with strategic planning, offers integrated solutions for improving the [...] Read more.
Green infrastructure (GI), as a concept and as a tool for environmental land-use planning at various scales, has burst onto the academic, political, and policy-making scenes in the last two decades. This tool, associated with strategic planning, offers integrated solutions for improving the ecological connectivity and urban resilience of open spaces, especially those affected by processes of urban sprawl, the abandonment of agriculture, and the territorial fragmentation of habitats and traditional agricultural landscapes. In spite of the advantages of GI, its design and implementation face a range of challenges and limitations. In this context, this paper has two objectives: Firstly, to address a critical review of recent literature on the subject, which, among other things, highlights the lack of references to the role of peri-urban agriculture in GI planning, and the positive contribution made by peri-urban agriculture to the local food supply and other regulatory and cultural services. Secondly, to propose a methodology to contribute to integrating practical GI planning in metropolitan regions to maximize the activation of traditional agricultural landscapes and the improvement of landscape connectivity in metropolitan regions for the reconnection of rural-urban relationships. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture in Urban Food Systems: Models and Practices)
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