Mainstream approaches frame food insecurity in terms of scarcity and share a productionist assumption that the answer to alleviating hunger is increased agricultural output. However, the scope of that agenda is inadequate, since it largely ignores the fact that food insecurity is a growing urban phenomenon. There is no systemic attempt to differentiate rural from urban food security, and little attention is paid to how urban dwellers will actually access food, even if it is available on the market. Urban food and nutrition insecurity are thus on the one hand strongly connected to household poverty (purchasing power), high unemployment and a scarcity of income-generating opportunities. On the other hand, they are closely linked to the extended urban food systems and their highly standardised and consolidated systems of production and consumption. “Driven by the economics and geographies of the food system; the poor eat badly because it makes economic sense for them to do so.” (Jane Battersby) Easy access to cheap, highly-processed and low-nutrient-value food coincides with rising epidemics of obesity and diabetes, often in marginalised communities.
This session discusses urban food and nutrition security from an (often ignored) urban perspective and deliberates alternative approaches to overcoming the shortfalls of the productionist mainstream while focusing on more systemic issues.
Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (Germany)
Hungry Cities Partnership/ Consuming Urban Poverty Project (South Africa)
EcoAgriculture Partners (USA)
The Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (Italy)