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Special Issue "Development of Resilient Urban Food Systems—Exploring Synergies and Making Priorities"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Food".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Katrine Soma
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Wageningen Economic Research, Wageningen University and Research (WUR), Hollandseweg 1, 6706kN Wageningen, The Netherlands
Interests: informational governance; digitization; aquaculture; governance; multicriteria impact assessments; marine spatial planning; blue economy
Mr. Bertram de Rooij
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Wageningen Environmental Research, Wageningen, The Netherlands
Interests: food system approach; city region food system; strategic spatial planning; systems thinking; sustainable development and nature based solutions
Dr. S. van Berkum
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Wageningen Economic Research, part of Wageningen UR, Wageningen, The Netherlands
Interests: agricultural policy; trade; development economics; food security; food systems transformation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Ongoing rise of urbanization will remain a major trend in the near future, as the proportion of people living in cities is expected to increase from 54% in 2018 to 68% by 2050 on a global scale. Increasingly, people move into cities in the hope of employment and a better future. At the same time, major drivers such as climate change, ecological degradation, urbanisation pressure and future shocks such as the current COVID-19 pandemic place pressure on existing food systems to change. New urban food systems are expected to gradually replace the existing structures and create new synergies such as the interplay between social and ecological advantages. The development of resilient urban food systems requires processes of exploring synergies and making priorities. On the one hand, the flows between rural and urban areas, with people, ideas, goods, money, services, technologies and waste flows, may change the dynamics for increased resiliency. For instance, factors that can strengthen rural–urban interrelationships and the resiliency of food systems may include urban immigrants increasing remittances, ideas and knowledge back to family members in rural households. On the other hand, new innovations may require stakeholders in food supply chains to adopt their practices or go out of business. Strategies towards resilient urban food systems can be categorised across three types of interventions: market, technology and governance.

Applying an urban food systems approach, this Special Issue offers a holistic perspective on food and nutrition security by broadening the focus to food security, social and environmental outcomes and the socio-economic and environmental drivers of these food system activities. Importantly, an urban food system approach is showing how food systems interact with other (ecological, economic or political) systems, providing excellent opportunities for analysing how each element within a system interacts with the others in producing food system outcomes. The connectiveness of food system elements is depicted in a conceptual food system model (van Berkum et al. 2018). A food system approach covers knowledge about value-chain dynamics, factors influencing population movement, governance and market related activities, and environmental and climate conditions, which can all contribute to increased understanding about how to shape future food systems.

This Special Issue investigates the following core questions:

  • How can changing rural–urban interactions affect people’s livelihoods in both urban and rural settlements, in terms of economic, social and ecological consequences? How can local institutions and governments apply urban–rural linkages to boost innovations?
  • What market innovations can enhance urban resiliency? What are possible synergies, and which priorities must be set to achieve resiliency of the food systems?
  • What technological interventions can create resilient urban food systems? What synergies are found and priorities made with other elements of food systems?
  • How can governance and new ways of social organisation (e.g., local networks or new linkages between communities) enhance urban resilience?

Dr. Katrine Soma
Mr. Bertram de Rooij
Dr. S. van Berkum
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 papers will be 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. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 1900 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
  • rural–urban migration
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • zero hunger
  • sustainable cities and communities

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Article
From Schnitzel to Sustainability: Shifting Values at Vienna’s Urban Farmers Markets
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8327; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158327 - 26 Jul 2021
Viewed by 582
Abstract
This paper presents an empirically grounded investigation of the values and practices of farmers markets (FM) in Vienna, Austria and their linkages to wider alternative food practices of ecological, social and economic sustainability. If the FMs are to play a vibrant role in [...] Read more.
This paper presents an empirically grounded investigation of the values and practices of farmers markets (FM) in Vienna, Austria and their linkages to wider alternative food practices of ecological, social and economic sustainability. If the FMs are to play a vibrant role in the Viennese alternative food system, enhancing urban–rural connections and urban resilience, they must re–align their values to this system. A values-based conceptual framework is used to examine the structures and functions of six Viennese FMs and the alignment of values and practices among FM managers, farmers/vendors and consumers. Data from qualitative interviews, participant observation and dot surveys were collected at each FM. Value alignment is discovered as necessary to support and perpetuate alternative values. Governance is found to be significant for aligning values related to FM sustainability. Current structures and functions of Viennese FMs cannot be easily aligned with participant values and practices. As one of the first examinations of Viennese FMs, this work illustrates concrete challenges, priorities and emphasizes the role that governance and social organizing plays in successful markets as contributors towards sustainable urban food systems. Lessons learned can be applied to municipal FMs and other food system actors that face similar challenges. Full article
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Article
A New Rural-Urban Fish Food System Was Established in Kenya–Learning from Best Practices
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7254; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13137254 - 29 Jun 2021
Viewed by 537
Abstract
Kibera, the largest slum in Nairobi, Kenya, is increasing in size and complexity due to migration from rural areas. Reaching the objectives of zero hunger and sustainable cities and communities (SDGs2 and 11) are urgent and complex challenges to future development. In this [...] Read more.
Kibera, the largest slum in Nairobi, Kenya, is increasing in size and complexity due to migration from rural areas. Reaching the objectives of zero hunger and sustainable cities and communities (SDGs2 and 11) are urgent and complex challenges to future development. In this survey a new fish value-chain has been set up between a rural area called Nyeri district and the inhabitants of Kibera, to supply small-sized affordable and accessible fish. The main aim of this article is to investigate this best practice example to assist future initiatives to overcome the complex challenges and discuss reasons why it was successful. The methods applied to obtain information to conduct this survey include a literature review, two workshops, and five preparatory interviews of Kibera inhabitants. The contributions by two community leaders, one in Kibera and one in Nyeri, are central to understand why this project was successful. The community leaders were trusted in their local networks. To ensure a resilient rural-urban food system in the future, it is critically important to understand context-specific institutional mechanisms, which in Kenya are based in communities run by strong community leads with capacities to motivate and influence other actors in the network to improve and make changes. Full article
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Article
Socio-Economic Drivers of Fish Species Consumption Preferences in Kenya’s Urban Informal Food System
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 5278; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13095278 - 08 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 742
Abstract
In an effort to contribute to resilient food and nutritional security in urban slums, a food system approach was applied to understand the key socio-economic factors driving fish species consumption in Kibera, the largest informal settlement in Africa located in Nairobi, Kenya. Data [...] Read more.
In an effort to contribute to resilient food and nutritional security in urban slums, a food system approach was applied to understand the key socio-economic factors driving fish species consumption in Kibera, the largest informal settlement in Africa located in Nairobi, Kenya. Data were collected from 385 randomly selected households using a structured questionnaire. A multivariate probit model was applied to estimate the relationship between the variables in order to determine the socio-economic drivers of preferences for different fish species. The results indicated that Lake Victoria sardine (Rastrineobola argentea) had the highest preference (73%) among the respondents, followed by Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) (70%) and Nile perch (Lates niloticus) (23%), respectively, with other fish species at 12%, including African catfish, marbled lungfish, common carp, fulu and tuna (Clarias gariepinus, Protopterus aethiopicus, Cyprinus carpio, Haplochromine cichlids and Thunnus sp., respectively). Large household size showed an increase in preference for the Lake Victoria sardine, while higher income influenced preference for Nile tilapia and Nile perch positively, implying that when more income is available, Nile tilapia is the preferred fish over other fish species. Increased fish prices positively influenced preference for Nile tilapia, which is explained by the willingness to pay extra for quality and origin, for instance, to avoid the cheaply cultivated Chinese fish. In the case of the Lake Victoria sardine, lower prices positively affected the preferences. Religious and cultural practices and beliefs influenced preference for species and consumption of fish. Residents who migrated from western Kenya had a higher preference for the Lake Victoria sardine, while residents born and raised in Kibera had a higher preference for Nile tilapia. Neighbourhood effects reduced the preference for consuming Nile perch. These findings provide insights into future market opportunities for specific target groups. For instance, given that small-sized fish like the Lake Victoria sardine is highly demanded, in order to increase resiliency in food and nutrition security, small-sized cheap Nile tilapia will have a large potential in the future, with ever higher demand specifically from the residents born and raised in Kibera. Full article
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