Special Issue "Urban Food Security"

A special issue of Urban Science (ISSN 2413-8851).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 August 2018).

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Christopher R. Bryant Website E-Mail
School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Interests: agriculture and food production in and around cities and metropolitan centers; food security; community development; land use planning; strategic development planning for communities, organizations and agriculture; sustainable development; resilience building for communities exposed to flooding and climate variability; adaptation of agriculture and tourism development to climate change and variability

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Food Security involves a complex set of issues:

  1. The issue of the quantity of food available to certain segments of the population and to the populations of certain developing countries in urban areas goes back a considerable length of time.

  2. On the other hand, it has become increasingly evident that there are major concerns about the quality of some foodstuffs that are available which can affect human health. To a large extent, this is linked to the increasingly dominant form of agriculture in developed countries that has been encouraged by many governments over the last 50 years—productivist or capitalist agriculture. While this form of agriculture has contributed substantially to providing food supplies, it has also become increasingly criticized for producing foodstuffs that are not healthy.

  3. Modern or productivist or capitalist agriculture has also produced other negative externalities, such as contributing to water pollution of nearby rivers and lakes and also altering the physical environment for flora and fauna, as well as sometimes destroying heritage landscapes.

  4. There is also the role of different types of food production within urban agglomerations and the issues of the volume of food produced, its quality in terms of human health and the various externalities that such food production can produce (both negative and positive).

This Special Issue of Urban Science on “Urban Food Security” welcomes articles that deal with these different aspects of Food Security. At the same time, the Special Issue also welcomes articles which present analyses of how different issues are being dealt with, such as through developing more sustainable foodstuffs from both the point of view of consumers (and human health) and the environment. From the perspective of the changing values of consumers, the Special Issue is also interested in how consumers and producers can work together to produce more sustainable foodstuffs.

Finally, food security can also be influenced by other stressors such as climate change and variability, a stressor with differential impacts on different countries and territories. The Special Issue also welcomes articles on these other stressors that can affect food security.

Dr. Christopher Bryant
Guest Editor

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. Urban Science is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly 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 1000 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 security;

  • volume of food;

  • quality of food and human health;

  • challenges to improving food security;

  • stressors affecting food security;

  • policies and actions aimed at improving food security

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
SNAPScapes: Using Geodemographic Segmentation to Classify the Food Access Landscape
Urban Sci. 2018, 2(3), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci2030071 - 21 Aug 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Scholars are in agreement that the local food environment is shaped by a multitude of factors from socioeconomic characteristics to transportation options, as well as the availability and distance to various food establishments. Despite this, most place-based indicators of “food deserts”, including those [...] Read more.
Scholars are in agreement that the local food environment is shaped by a multitude of factors from socioeconomic characteristics to transportation options, as well as the availability and distance to various food establishments. Despite this, most place-based indicators of “food deserts”, including those identified as so by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), only include a limited number of factors in their designation. In this article, we adopt a geodemographic approach to classifying the food access landscape that takes a multivariate approach to describing the food access landscape. Our method combines socioeconomic indicators, distance measurements to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participating stores, and neighborhood walkability using a k-means clustering approach and North Carolina as a case study. We identified seven distinct food access types: three rural and four urban. These classes were subsequently prioritized based on their defining characteristics and specific policy recommendations were identified. Overall, compared to the USDA’s food desert calculation, our approach identified a broader swath of high-needs areas and highlights neighborhoods that may be overlooked for intervention when using simple distance-based methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Food Security)
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Open AccessArticle
Use of Social Media to Enhance Consumers’ Options for Food Quality in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Urban Sci. 2018, 2(3), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci2030070 - 14 Aug 2018
Abstract
The objective of this research was to study the behavior and attitudes of consumers from the United Arab Emirates towards using the World Wide Web (WWW) for ordering food online, as well as their perception of social media’s (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and [...] Read more.
The objective of this research was to study the behavior and attitudes of consumers from the United Arab Emirates towards using the World Wide Web (WWW) for ordering food online, as well as their perception of social media’s (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WhatsApp) impact on increasing their knowledge about their food quality options. This research question targets social media’s role in aiding consumer decision-making with regard to enhanced food quality choices and thus enhanced food security. The results of this study showed that about 50% of the respondents frequently use a website to order food online in the study area. The analysis of the survey results showed a strong correlation between the frequency of food ordered online by consumers and the number of consumers who sought specific information about food quality, such as those who wished to obtain information about special diets for both medical and non-medical purposes. A strong correlation was also found to exist between the frequency of ordering food online and consumers who often inquired about buying organic food. Furthermore, the authors found the potential and the need for more transparency and enhancement when exchanging information between online food providers and consumers, in order to achieve the country’s food security goal of better consumer access to food quality information. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Food Security)
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Open AccessArticle
Milk Production and Sanitary Risk along the Food Chain in Five Cities in Burkina Faso
Urban Sci. 2018, 2(3), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci2030057 - 13 Jul 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Livestock is the third largest currency provider in Burkina Faso after gold and cotton. The objective of this study was to assess the socio-economic characteristics of actors, level of production and sanitary risks along the food chain of local fermented milk. A literature [...] Read more.
Livestock is the third largest currency provider in Burkina Faso after gold and cotton. The objective of this study was to assess the socio-economic characteristics of actors, level of production and sanitary risks along the food chain of local fermented milk. A literature search and an investigation were conducted. Sphinx Plus2-V5 software was used for data processing and analysis. Results obtained show that milk processing is essentially a female activity and Fulani is the most active tribe in the milk sector. The curdling is done mainly using a curdled whey. Nutritional characteristics of fermented milk depend on the milk used, the milking conditions, the technology used, and a good curd must have a pleasant smell with a sweet and sour taste. The precariousness of milking, the lack of training in hygiene, the ignorance of the rules of hygiene, the state of environment of processing/sale, the strong use of antibiotics, the negligence of campaigns of vaccinations, and the non-compliance with the waiting period generate significant sanitary risks for consumers and animals. Livestock is the mainstay of the white revolution in Burkina Faso and contributes to food and socio-economic security. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Food Security)
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Open AccessArticle
Methodological Challenges in Urban Food Systems Research: Case Study of Local Food Institutions in South Africa
Urban Sci. 2018, 2(2), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci2020048 - 13 Jun 2018
Abstract
This paper examines how institutional power dynamics in South Africa’s urban food system have restricted the quantity, quality, and type of data collected on food institutions and limited the range of research and policy as a result. In particular, while non-governmental organizations (NGOs) [...] Read more.
This paper examines how institutional power dynamics in South Africa’s urban food system have restricted the quantity, quality, and type of data collected on food institutions and limited the range of research and policy as a result. In particular, while non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and local institutions speak openly with researchers or share data, key governing institutions such as the state and agri-businesses often refuse to work with scholars. This has not only limited access to data on food system flows and operations, but it has also resulted in a significant research gap about the principal institutions in food systems, as scholars and policy makers tend to disproportionately focus on alternative food movements or localized players. Given the number, scope, and creativity of informal livelihood strategies that residents utilize to access food, this paper suggests that new methods are needed to understand how people navigate complex pathways to food in Southern African cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Food Security)
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Open AccessArticle
Barriers to Food Security and Community Stress in an Urban Food Desert
Urban Sci. 2018, 2(2), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci2020046 - 31 May 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
By analyzing data from focus groups in a poor, mostly African American neighborhood in a large U.S. city, we describe how residents in urban food deserts access food, the barriers they experience in accessing nutritious, affordable food, and how community food insecurity exacerbates [...] Read more.
By analyzing data from focus groups in a poor, mostly African American neighborhood in a large U.S. city, we describe how residents in urban food deserts access food, the barriers they experience in accessing nutritious, affordable food, and how community food insecurity exacerbates prior social, built, and economic stressors. Provided the unwillingness of supermarkets and supercenters to locate to poor urban areas and the need for nutritious, affordable food, it may be more efficient and equitable for government programs to financially partner with ethnic markets and smaller locally-owned grocery stores to increase the distribution and marketing of healthy foods rather than to spend resources trying to entice a large supermarket to locate to the neighborhood. By focusing on improving the conditions of the neighborhood and making smaller grocery stores and markets more affordable and produce more attractive to residents, the social, built, and economic stressors experienced by residents will be reduced, thereby possibly improving overall mental and physical health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Food Security)
Open AccessArticle
Urban Chickens as a Pathway for Human Illness: An Examination of Knowledge, Behavior and Risk
Urban Sci. 2018, 2(1), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci2010025 - 14 Mar 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
This research investigates the relationships between human knowledge, behavior and risk as they relate to urban chicken husbandry in the United States. Concern over zoonotic diseases has been on the rise, especially with increasing contact between birds and humans. In particular, avian influenza—or [...] Read more.
This research investigates the relationships between human knowledge, behavior and risk as they relate to urban chicken husbandry in the United States. Concern over zoonotic diseases has been on the rise, especially with increasing contact between birds and humans. In particular, avian influenza—or bird flu—and Salmonella enterica (Salmonella) and Escherichia coli (E. coli) can all cross species lines between people and poultry. This study analyzed knowledge and practices in urban chicken husbandry to assess how they relate to risk of disease acquisition, hypothesizing that certain practices associated with a lower knowledge base may heighten the risk. This study used a survey distributed via social media to examine the self-reported knowledge base of individuals involved in chicken husbandry as they relate to beliefs and behaviors associated with the care of these animals. These results identify key factors that may heighten the risk of disease transmission and demonstrate that an increased knowledge base could act to lessen this risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Food Security)
Open AccessArticle
Retailing of Processed Dairy and Grain Products in Mali: Evidence from a City Retail Outlet Inventory
Urban Sci. 2018, 2(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci2010024 - 09 Mar 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
As in many sub-Saharan African countries, Mali is experiencing an unprecedented rate of urbanization and, with it, changes to its agri-food system. As more people live in urban areas, the demand for processed foods has been increasing rapidly. These changes have important implications [...] Read more.
As in many sub-Saharan African countries, Mali is experiencing an unprecedented rate of urbanization and, with it, changes to its agri-food system. As more people live in urban areas, the demand for processed foods has been increasing rapidly. These changes have important implications for food and nutrition security. Yet, little is known about the scale and scope of the retailing of processed foods. To better understand this segment, we conducted a city retail outlet inventory of processed dairy and cereal foods in 2016. The main findings are that: (1) food availability is greater in the capital, high-income neighborhoods, and supermarkets; (2) there is a high prevalence of imported foods; (3) added sugar and vegetable fats are listed as a top-three ingredient in a quarter of processed products, highlighting issues related to healthfulness; (4) price premiums are paid for products that are imported from Europe, use improved packaging, and are retailed in supermarkets. Taken together, our findings indicate that the transformation in the Malian agri-food system is still at an early stage. The growing demand for processed foods presents economic opportunities for Malian farmers and processors, especially if they can improve product quality, packaging, and distribution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Food Security)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Food and Nutrition Security as a Measure of Resilience in the Barents Region
Urban Sci. 2018, 2(3), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci2030072 - 22 Aug 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Food and nutrition security builds resilience in a society when people have access to safe and nutritious foods. The Barents region, covering the Northern parts of Finland, Norway, and Sweden, and the North-western part of Russia, seeks common goals that include the well-being [...] Read more.
Food and nutrition security builds resilience in a society when people have access to safe and nutritious foods. The Barents region, covering the Northern parts of Finland, Norway, and Sweden, and the North-western part of Russia, seeks common goals that include the well-being of the region’s inhabitants by ensuring preservation of local culture and social and environmental sustainability. This paper reviews existing literature on food and nutrition security in relation to building resilience and promoting well-being in the region. Amongst the local communities, traditional foods have served as a major source of healthy diet that ensures food security. Access to secure, nutritious, and healthy food is one of the aspects offering greater human security and societal stability. Traditional food has served as a major source of healthy diet, in particular, in the remote sparsely populated Barents region and amongst the local communities of the region. However, there is concern about global climate change and its effect on the region and pollution from human activities, such as the extractive industrial activities, that are detrimental to safe and secure food supply chain. In this paper, I highlight the contribution of traditional foods to food security in the Barents region. In addition, the paper emphasized that value addition to these traditional foods will help to stimulate the economy by creating new jobs. Ultimately, ensuring food and nutrition security in a sustainable way within the region will help to build resilience and promote culture and ecology with a view to offering greater human and societal security. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Food Security)
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Open AccessReview
Grassroots Initiatives as Sustainability Transition Pioneers: Implications and Lessons for Urban Food Systems
Urban Sci. 2018, 2(1), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci2010023 - 08 Mar 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
This review explores the current evidence on the role and success factors of grassroots initiatives in sustainability transitions, with special attention given to social innovations and the transformation of urban food systems, a field that is still rather scantly dealt with in literature [...] Read more.
This review explores the current evidence on the role and success factors of grassroots initiatives in sustainability transitions, with special attention given to social innovations and the transformation of urban food systems, a field that is still rather scantly dealt with in literature compared to technological innovations in other sectors such as energy. In addition to their contributions to get the necessary transformation towards sustainable futures off the ground, the preconditions for grassroots initiatives to thrive are presented—as well as limitations regarding their possibilities and the challenges they face. Increasingly, the importance of civil society and social movements in facilitating societal transformation is recognized by both researchers and policy makers. Within their radical niches, grassroots initiatives do not have to adhere to the logics of the wider systems in which they are embedded. This allows them to experiment with diverse solutions to sustainability challenges such as local food security and sovereignty. By means of democratic, inclusive and participatory processes, they create new pathways and pilot a change of course. Nevertheless, upscaling often comes at the loss of the transformative potential of grassroots initiatives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Food Security)
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