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Rising food insecurity during COVID-19 has revealed deep inequities in food systems. The pandemic has also highlighted the vulnerabilities of global food supply chains and the need for cities to increase the resilience of their food systems. The challenge is to harness the lessons of COVID-19 to promote more resilient urban food systems that are also healthy, equitable and sustainable. Policy solutions should focus on robust social protection mechanisms, strong networks of food system actors that can respond rapidly to shocks, and diverse food supply chains that draw on local as well as global sources of food.
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COVID-19 highlights the need to plan for healthy,
equitable and resilient food systems
Rachel Carey , Maureen Murphy & Leila Alexandra
To cite this article: Rachel Carey , Maureen Murphy & Leila Alexandra (2020): COVID-19
highlights the need to plan for healthy, equitable and resilient food systems, Cities & Health, DOI:
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COVID-19 highlights the need to plan for healthy, equitable and resilient food
Rachel Carey , Maureen Murphy and Leila Alexandra
School of Agriculture and Food, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
Rising food insecurity during COVID-19 has revealed deep inequities in food systems. The
pandemic has also highlighted the vulnerabilities of global food supply chains and the need for
cities to increase the resilience of their food systems. The challenge is to harness the lessons of
COVID-19 to promote more resilient urban food systems that are also healthy, equitable and
sustainable. Policy solutions should focus on robust social protection mechanisms, strong
networks of food system actors that can respond rapidly to shocks, and diverse food supply
chains that draw on local as well as global sources of food.
Received 6 May 2020
Accepted 26 June 2020
Food systems; resilience;
pandemic; food security;
policy; governance
The COVID-19 pandemic has tested global food sys-
tems and, at one level, they have withstood the test.
After an initial lag in responding to increased consu-
mer demand, supermarket supplies in many regions of
the world stabilised. However, a growing economic
crisis is leading to rising food insecurity. The impacts
will be felt most by those already facing food insecurity
in the low income nations of the Global South (Food
Security Information Network 2020). Yet even in the
rich nations of the Global North, which are our main
focus here, food insecurity is rising rapidly among
vulnerable population groups.
Disruption to global transportation and trade dur-
ing COVID-19 highlights the vulnerabilities of the
complex food supply chains that feed cities and the
importance of short food supply chains that connect
consumers directly to local farmers, as part of a diverse
and resilient urban food system. The disruption
accompanying the COVID-19 crisis is a moment of
opportunity to transform food systems, and city
authorities and municipal governments should play
a key role in this transformation.
COVID-19 highlights the important role of
cities in addressing rising food insecurity
The economic crisis resulting from the COVID-19
pandemic is leading to rising food insecurity, with
the World Food Programme (2020) warning that
COVID-19 could double the number of people facing
acute food insecurity globally by the end of 2020. Most
at risk are those who are already food insecure in the
Global South, including smallholder producers (Food
Security Information Network 2020). However, food
insecurity is rising rapidly even in rich nations of the
Global North, such as the United States, with vulner-
able and low income population groups worst affected
(Fitzpatrick et al. 2020).
COVID-19 has revealed the fragility of food insecur-
ity responses that rely on the charitable sector. Soaring
demand for emergency food relief has coincided with
a decrease in the capacity of food banks to respond, due
to a sharp decline in volunteer numbers and in dona-
tions from the food retail sector (IPES-Food 2020).
There is a need for governments at all levels to
strengthen their response to the COVID-19 food secur-
ity crisis (IPES-Food 2020). With the majority of people
now living in urban centres (DESA 2018), cities are
centre stage. Municipal governments and city authori-
ties have an important role to play in promoting equi-
table access to healthy food (FAO 2020).
COVID-19 reveals the vulnerability of cities’
dependence on global food supply chains
Feeding cities is a complex logistical challenge, and
rapidly growing urban populations are fed through
sophisticated global supply chains. Yet until the intro-
duction of refrigerated transportation after World
War II, fresh food supplies for many cities were
grown locally in peri-urban areas, particularly
perishable products such as fruit and vegetables.
Some cities still have highly productive hinterlands.
However, rapid urban expansion has reduced the
capacity of cities to produce the fresh fruit and vege-
tables that are important to healthy diets. Cities have
become more dependent on distant sources of food.
CONTACT Rachel Carey School of Agriculture and Food, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, University
of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Ninety percent of the food to feed New York’s popula-
tion of around 8 million is trucked into the city
each year (New York City 2020).
COVID-19 is disrupting global food supply chains
and highlighting the vulnerability of cities’ reliance on
complex ‘just in time’ supply chains. Supplies of
imported foods and ingredients have been impacted
by additional border controls, port closures and the
grounding of air passenger transport, a key element in
the freight of perishable foods. Restrictions on move-
ment within countries have also affected road freight,
leading to delays in food deliveries (OECD 2020).
While global and regional food sources are impor-
tant to the food supplies of most cities, there is increas-
ing recognition of the need for some degree of food
system relocalisation to strengthen local food systems
and reduce dependence on distant sources of food.
Research points to multiple benefits for short food
supply chains that connect consumers in urban areas
directly with producers in rural areas, including
strengthening local economies and social connectivity.
In particular, studies emphasise the importance of
diversity for building the resilience of food systems
diversity in sources of food (local and regional as well
as global), diversity in the scale at which food is pro-
duced and distributed, and in the types of production
systems and food enterprises involved (Canal Vieira
et al. 2018).
Building the resilience of city food systems to
City food systems will likely face more frequent shocks
due to climate change, and there is a need to increase
their resilience so that they can withstand and bounce
back from disruption while maintaining food security
for all (Carey and James 2018). The COVID-19 pan-
demic offers valuable lessons in increasing the resili-
ence of food systems. But more than that, it represents
a unique opportunity for food system transformation.
The food system disruption accompanying
COVID-19 is leading to rapid change in the config-
uration of short food supply chains. Producers have
responded to social distancing restrictions and the
closure of some municipal and farmers markets by
moving sales online (IPES-Food 2020, FAO 2020).
Civil society organisations have mobilised to deliver
healthy local food to vulnerable population groups,
and are co-ordinating their efforts by forming new
collaborative enterprises (e.g. the London Food
Alliance). Some are connecting these food relief
efforts to short food supply chains by sourcing
food at fair prices from local farmers, combining
a focus on addressing inequities in the food system
with strengthening food system resilience (e.g.
Moving Feast in Melbourne, Australia).
COVID-19 also creates potential for consumer
behaviour change as people self-isolate, with more
cooking and growing food at home. Many countries
have seen a rise in demand for locally produced food
sourced via short food supply chains (IPES-Food
2020). These changes provide the conditions to trans-
form city food systems so that they bounce forward
healthier, more sustainable, equitable and resilient.
What are the lessons of COVID-19 for policy
and how should cities respond?
There is an opportunity to harness the lessons of
COVID-19 to increase the long term resilience of
city food systems, at the same time as delivering ben-
efits for social equity, health and the environment.
City authorities and municipal governments have an
important role to play in policy responses.
Some city authorities (e.g. Wuhan, New York,
Milan, Tel Aviv, Johannesburg) are leading initiatives
to tackle rising food insecurity during COVID-19 (see
Table 1) by establishing systems to identify vulnerable
citizens and deliver food to them. Some are also col-
laborating with civil society organisations to do this
(e.g. Toronto). Some city authorities are providing
food vouchers to enable vulnerable citizens to access
a healthy diet (e.g. Seattle). Cities are also creating
online maps to help citizens find available food ser-
vices and food relief (e.g. Milan and Washington DC)
(C40 Cities 2020).
COVID-19 offers cities the opportunity to review
their ‘current resilient toolkit’ for food systems
(OECD 2020) and to develop new policy tools. Table
1 proposes some policy tools that cities might want to
consider as part of a future food system resilience
toolkit, based on the lessons of COVID-19.
First and foremost, COVID-19 tells us that all cities
should have plans in place to respond to the immedi-
ate needs of citizens in the event of sudden shocks,
particularly the needs of vulnerable citizens who are
already facing (or on the brink of) food insecurity.
COVID-19 has exposed the inequities in food access
in urban food systems and the fragility of existing
systems of charitable food relief. With the potential
for rising food insecurity due to climate shocks, it is
important that cities and local governments have poli-
cies based on the right to adequate food as a human
right, and recognise their responsibility to help citi-
zens to realise this right.
One of the most important lessons of COVID-19 is
that cities benefit from having well established networks
of actors from across the food system to facilitate rapid
responses to the impacts of food system shocks. City
food policy councils and alliances have been active
during COVID-19 in co-ordinating responses and
advocating for the needs of vulnerable population
groups and for city markets and community gardens
to remain open as ‘essential services’ under social dis-
tancing restrictions (FAO 2020).
Secondly, cities need to ensure the long term resi-
lience of their food systems. COVID-19 suggests that
cities have an important role to play in leading
responses to rising food insecurity in the face of food
system shocks. New York has developed a whole of
government plan combining immediate food relief
with actions to harness the potential for longer term
transformation of its food system (New York City
New York’s system of immediate food relief makes
creative use of existing infrastructure, such as schools
as pick up points for ‘grab and go’ meals and taxis to
deliver food to residents (C40 Cities 2020). To
strengthen long term resilience to shocks and stresses,
the city will increase its emergency warehouse stores of
‘ready to eat’ meals and will advocate for equitable
treatment of all participants in the food supply chain,
including farmers and food industry workers, as well
as consumers (New York City 2020).
To fully realise the lessons of COVID-19 in driving
a transformation to healthy and resilient city food
systems, further research is needed to understand the
significant food system changes currently underway.
There is an immediate need for rapid collection of data
on rising food insecurity in cities to understand which
population groups are most affected in order to facil-
itate the co-creation of effective responses with these
Table 1. Potential policy tools for cities and local governments to strengthen the resilience of city food systems.
Lesson from COVID-19 Policy responses to increase food system resilience Examples
Cities need plans to respond to food
system shocks and strengthen
Establish real-time data collection to assess the
impact of the shock on food security and identify
vulnerable populations
Develop plans to address ongoing food insecurity
after the initial shock subsides
Medium- to long-term
Develop a city food resilience policy that aims to
strengthen food system resilience
Ensure ongoing population surveys to understand
the distribution of food insecurity
Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey (Australia)
Feeding New York – NYC’s policy for responding to
Christchurch City Council food resilience policy
(New Zealand)
Baltimore City food resilience strategy (US)
Household Food Security Survey (international)
Cities need good social protection
mechanisms to respond to rapid
rises in food insecurity due to
Short term
Ensure emergency relief can respond rapidly to
demand surges and meet the food needs of the
most vulnerable
Medium- to long-term
Advocate for social welfare and economic support
indexed to the cost of a healthy food basket
Recognise the human right to food in city food
policies and assist citizens to realise that right
Milan’s Food Aid System in response to COVID-19
NYC’s Food Delivery Assistance Program (US)
Fresh Bucks Seattle (US)
Belo Horizonte’s recognition of the right to food
Local food production and short food
supply chains strengthen the
resilience of city food systems
Short term
Support city and local markets to stay open during
shocks like COVID-19
Promote online platforms that directly connect
farmers and consumers to increase access to
healthy food and support farmer livelihoods
Medium- to long-term
Protect peri-urban farmland through land use
planning policy
Advocate for and promote the viability of peri-
urban farming
Support community gardens
Barcelona’s municipal food markets remained open
during COVID-19 (Spain)
Open Food Network (international)
Vancouver’s Agricultural Land Reserve (Canada)
Toronto’s Golden Horseshoe (Canada)
A strong network of food system
actors can facilitate co-ordination
and rapid response in the event of
a food system shock
Short term
Support civil society organisations to co-ordinate
their efforts in providing immediate food relief for
vulnerable people
Medium- to long-term
Establish a city food policy council or food alliance
with a strong focus on resilience
Connect food system, industry, civil society, and
municipal government actors in local areas
Chicago Food Policy Council COVID-19 rapid
response (US)
Christchurch Food Resilience Network
Good Food in Greenwich (UK)
Neighbourhood networks can
increase local food security and
Short term
Provide support to mutual aid and community
action groups that support neighbourhood food
provisioning and relief
Cape Town Together Community Action Network
(South Africa)
London’s Mutual Aid Network (UK)
Procuring food from local producers
can support economic recovery
Short term
Purchase food from local farmers for food relief
Medium- to long-term
Use ongoing food procurement initiatives for city
services to support local farmers and stimulate the
local economy
‘Vegetable basket’ policy (China)
Farm to school initiatives in New York and
Pennsylvania (US)
groups. There is also an immediate need to under-
stand the impacts of current food system disruption
on the livelihoods of local producers, who make
a valuable contribution to supplies of healthy food,
such as fruit and vegetables, for city populations.
The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting food sys-
tems on an unprecedented scale. Evaluation of the
innovative responses to this disruption from munici-
pal governments, civil society groups and producers
around the world will generate an understanding of
best practice in governance responses to strengthen
the resilience of city food systems to future shocks and
stresses. It may also reveal pathways towards more
significant transformation to healthy, sustainable,
equitable and resilient city food systems.
Disclosure statement
No potential conflicts of interest were reported by the
This work was supported by an initiative grant from the
Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation.
Notes on contributors
Rachel Carey is a Lecturer in Food Systems at the University
of Melbourne, where her teaching and research focuses on
food policy and the governance of sustainable and resilient
food systems. Rachel has a particular interest in the resili-
ence and sustainability of city food systems and she leads the
Foodprint Melbourne project, which is assessing the resili-
ence of Melbourne’s food system to shocks and stresses.
Rachel has worked on the development of food policies for
the City of Melbourne and the City of Greater Geelong. She
is a member of the Editorial Board of the journal Agriculture
and Human Values.
Maureen Murphy is a Research Fellow at the University of
Melbourne investigating the resilience of the food system to
shocks and stresses such as fire, flood, drought and pan-
demic, as part of the Foodprint Melbourne project. In 2018,
Maureen completed her PhD on 'Local food environments
for a healthy equitable city: evidence to inform urban plan-
ning policy and governance in Melbourne, Australia'.
Maureen is interested in the application of research in policy
settings and has worked for close to twenty years in local
and state government.
Leila Alexandra is a Research Assistant on the Foodprint
Melbourne project, at the University of Melbourne, which
investigates the resilience of Melbourne’s food system to
shocks and stresses. Leila’s Honours in Environmental
Science from the ANU identified leverage in social-ecologi-
cal poverty traps, applying system dynamics modelling to an
Ethiopian case study. Leila is interested in systems perspec-
tives on food and agricultural systems, and has worked in
sustainability education, community food enterprises and
Rachel Carey
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scape and food. Abingdon: Routledge, 213–228.
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sion (ST/ESA/SER.A/420). United Nations Department of
Economic and Social Aairs, Population Division.
New York: United Nations.
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cities and local governments in responding to the
emergency. Policy brief, 9 April. Rome: FAO.
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U.S. food insecurity in the United States during the
COVID-19 pandemic. Fayetteville, Arkansas: University
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food crises 2020: Joint analysis for better decisions. Rome:
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symptoms, causes and potential solutions. Communique,
April. International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food
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our city fed during the COVID-19 public health crisis. New
York: New York City.
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tor: issues and policy responses. Policy brief, 29 April.
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ber of people facing food crises unless swift action is taken.
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... Communities and regions must learn from this 'dress rehearsal' to increase local resilience. As noted by Carey et al. (2021), the pandemic has provided valuable lessons and opportunities for cities to understand vulnerabilities and increase resilience in food systems accordingly, and expressed by , such work should employ integrated perspectives that recognize the vulnerabilities highlighted by COVID-19 are not exclusive to pandemic impacts. The first critical step in harnessing these opportunities and engaging in such work is to examine the lessons from COVID-19. ...
... For example, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2021) and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem (IPBES, 2019) highlight the vulnerabilities and challenges agri-food systems will experience as (respectively) climate change and biodiversity loss issues progress and worsen. In the face of increasing global pressures such as climate change, the opportunity to examine and take heed of the lessons learned from the pandemic appear as particularly important (Carey, Murphy, & Alexandra, 2021). Prior to the pandemic, scholars such as Fraser and Campbell (2019) have argued for new approaches to food production, distribution, and consumption to create resilient food systems that can sustainably feed a growing population; this need is perhaps more apparent now than it ever has been. ...
... In addition to being placed-based, scholars in food systems planning (Carey, Murphy, & Alexandra, 2021) and, broadly speaking, integrated sustainability planning (Ling et al., 2009) argue that planning should involve temporal dimensions and long-term perspectives. Similarly, Savary et al. (2020) express how vulnerabilities food systems can be analysed both temporally and across food security components. ...
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted multiple vulnerabilities and issues around local and regional food systems, presenting valuable opportunities to reflect on these issues and lessons on how to increase local/regional resilience. Using the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) in Canada as a case study, this research employs integrated planning perspectives, incorporating comprehensive-systems, regional, place-based, and temporal considerations, to (1) reflect upon the challenges and vulnerabilities that COVID-19 has revealed about local and regional food systems, and (2) examine what these reflections and insights illustrate with respect to the needs for and gaps in local/regional resilience against future exogenous shocks. The study used a community-based participatory approach to engage local and regional government, stakeholders, and community members living and working in the FVRD. Methods consisted of a series of online workshops, where participants identified impacts related to the food production, processing, distribution, access, and/or governance response components of the local and regional food systems and whether these impacts were short-term (under 3 months), medium-term (3 to 12 months), or long-term (over 1 year) in nature. Findings from the study revealed that food systems and their vulnerabilities are complex, including changes in food access and preparation behaviours, lack of flexibility in institutional policies for making use of local food supply, cascading effects due to stresses on social and public sector services, and inequities with respect to both food security impacts and strategies/services for addressing these impacts. Outcomes from this research demonstrate how including comprehensive-systems, regional, place-based, and temporal considerations in studies on food systems vulnerabilities can generate useful insights for local and regional resiliency planning.
... Shorter supply chains, characteristic of urban agriculture and local food systems, also proved more agile in responding to transport issues and labour shortages (Carey et al., 2021). This is consistent with previous supply chain disruptions, such as the Queensland floods (Smith & Lawrence, 2018). ...
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Despite the diverse benefits of urban agriculture, there is limited research into urban agriculture as a sector in Victoria. This report presents findings from a survey of urban agriculture practitioners in Melbourne, Bendigo, Ballarat and Geelong. The findings include the sector’s composition, activities, market channels, challenges, needs and aspirations, as well as opportunities for sector support and growth. The report also proposes a roadmap for addressing critical challenges that face the sector and for building on the strength of its social and environmental commitments. These findings and recommendations are of relevance to policymakers at all levels of government, especially as food security, climate change, human and ecological health and urban sustainability emerge as key interconnected priorities in this challenging decade.
... This has led to a bottom-up movement that seeks policy options and paradigm shifts to enable a new food system governance for the Anthropocene (Pothukuchi and Kaufmann, 1999;Wittman, 2009;Levkoe, 2011;De Friodmont-Goertz et al., 2020), including the mainstreaming of Edible City Solutions for socially resilient and a sustainable productive urban landscape . The pandemic has also illuminated the vulnerabilities of our global food supply chains and the need for resilient local food systems (Carey et al., 2020). As a consequence, an increasing number of city administrations have begun to analyze the multiple aspects and outcomes of their food systems (e.g., Milan Urban Food Policy Pact). ...
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People drive transitions. Current urban living conditions, specifically food systems, challenge the health, wellbeing and coherence of individuals and whole societies, and for effective change toward resilient communities, people need to reinvent the way they produce, distribute and consume food. Consequently, in their communities' people are creating foodscapes and governing the transition toward sustainable local food systems. Here, we introduce a conceptual framework to develop this transformation through empowering the urban multi-stakeholder society as the agent of this process. To do so, we reviewed scientific evidence and experiences from seven selected City Regions (Albacete, Baku, Dresden, Izmir, Ljubljana, Megara, and Valparaiso) as case studies and conducted a SWOT analysis to explore the capacity of food systems to enhance multi-functionality of urban landscapes, with special focus on social cohesion and quality of life. We grasp existing policies; hone them and leverage policies and strategies toward human-centered actions for future proofing food systems.
... In the case of the city of Seattle, the local governments have provided a healthy diet for vulnerable citizens through food vouchers. Similarly, in some cities such as Milan and Washington, online maps have been generated to identify the vulnerable and deliver food to them (Carey et al., 2020). This has also created an opportunity to re-establish physical and relational connections between the producer and the consumer. ...
Multiple global trends and drivers have resulted in a steep escalation of tech-socio-economic inequities in basic human needs across the industrialized as well as industrializing nations. This escalation is paralleled by the growing trend of novel and simple frugal innovations for meeting basic human needs, which are applied across various communities in the world towards bridging gaps of inequity. It is noteworthy that frugal innovations are abundantly observed in the biological designs in nature. This paper is aimed at understanding the methodology of frugal engineering behind the resulting frugal manufacturing innovations through discovering the cross-section of frameworks of biological designs in nature and equitable social innovations. Authors have applied the framework of biological designs as these designs are observed to deliver multifunctionality, resilience, and sustainability which are key to a frugal and equitable innovation platform and achieved by the frugal engineering process. As water is one of the most basic human needs, this paper uses water as an illustrative example to understand the frugal engineering process. Authors discuss designs in nature from cactus, tree roots, and human skin, and design parallels in related frugal innovations namely in fog capturing nets, ice-stupa, and Zeer (pot-in-a-pot), respectively, for equitable water access. The authors propose a resulting methodology for frugal engineering.
Recent years have witnessed an intensification of scientific debates on food system transformation, which, however, continue to unfold mostly at the macro-level, with little empirical backing. To begin to fill the gap between theory and practice surrounding food system transformation, this paper focuses on the governance scale that has been more actively engaging with the complexity of food systems: the urban. Based on a critical review of the academic literature on food system transformation, the paper analyses data collected through interviews with actors involved with the urban food agenda at two levels of governance. These include representatives from high-level organisations operating at the global scale and urban food coordinators from the UK — a country where cities have collectively mobilised to change national food priorities. Findings from the analysis highlight a discrepancy between global and local perceptions of the feasibility of systemic approaches, the lack of an evidence-base to support urban food policies and the inertia of national governments as crucial links between global and local food system governance. As the paper concludes, this raises the need for a re-orientation of research and policy agendas on food system transformation towards the development of a polycentric and plurivocal governance context.
Agriculture is a significant source of greenhouse gases (GHG). Agriculture GHG emissions are often quantified at national or state level, with local-scale emissions not available to inform the state's regional policies and local government and community action to mitigate climate change. We present spatial inventories of GHG from food production for the state of New South Wales in Australia for methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and the sum of the two GHG in carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e). We used a top-down approach to disaggregate emissions from state level reported in the State and Territory Greenhouse Gas Inventories to emissions at local government area level using publicly available agricultural census data. Our estimates showed that regional local government areas accounted for 18,522,010 t of CO2−e, 572,707 t of CH4 and 10,785 t of N2O emissions for food production, while metropolitan local government areas (Greater Sydney) accounted for 104,057 t of CO2−e, 2313 t of CH4 and 151 t of N2O emissions for food production. Livestock emissions dominated most regional local government areas, contributing on average (median) 14 times more emission than cropping emissions. Our study applies an approach for a transparent estimate of local-scale emissions consistent with the Australian national inventory. To supplement the food production emissions inventory, a spatial food consumption-based inventory using emission factors derived by Hendrie et al. (2016) is presented to illustrate the importance of engaging cities when addressing GHG emissions from food systems. Sources and spatial trends in food production-based and consumption-based emissions in New South Wales are addressed to guide policymakers and communities on opportunities to mitigate associated emissions to address climate goals.
Technical Report
Full-text available
Means and number/percentage of respondents for each state are presented in Table 1. These responses are based on a representative, post-strata weighted national sample (n=10,368) of US adults collected in the last week of March 2020. Even though the responses are weighted, in those states where fewer than 50 respondents are surveyed, those states are treated as missing cases and food insecurity percentages are not provided. Our descriptive measure of food insecurity is based on the 10-question USDA Adult Food Security Survey Module 1. Unlike the USDA, we ask respondents about their food-related experiences in the last three months. The scores are recoded into a single food insecurity index ranging from 0 to 10 after all the responses are recoded into binary responses. From this continuous scale, a dichotomous variable is then computed to indicate food insecurity for any respondent whose combined score is greater than 2 (= 1) reflecting moderate to high food insecurity and 2 or less (= 0) reflecting no or low food insecurity. For states with food insecurity reported, 19 states had average food insecurity percentages that were lower than the national average (38.3%); 20 states had higher than average food insecurity percentages. The remaining 11 states did not meet the threshold, based on the number of respondents in our survey from that state, for reporting food insecurity averages. States reporting the highest averages of food insecurity included: Alabama, Arkansas Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas; those states reporting the lowest averages included: Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, West Virginia, and Wyoming. The highest food insecurity averages were found in Southern and Mid-southern regions of the country; Midwestern and Northeastern states typically reported less food insecurity than other regions of the country. These regional variations appear to be following some of what we already know about where food insecurity is highest (see figure 1), but there appear to be some important pockets of need that are unexpected and certainly will require a finer-grain analysis to better understand these differences and their how and why.
Urban food systems are connected with several pressing issues, including urban population growth, resource scarcity, and climate change. To cope within these issues, urban food systems need to become more sustainable in their practices, as well as resilient in the face of extreme weather events. While scholars have started to investigate this topic, no comprehensive analysis has yet addressed what entails sustainable and resilient urban food systems. Through a systematic review of the literature, this paper aims to improve our understanding of the key components of sustainable and resilient urban food systems. This study reviewed 53 publications and identified components related to the health, social, economy, environment, and governance domains. Only 5 of the works included in the review discussed sustainability and resilience to the impacts of climate change in urban food systems simultaneously, so there is an opportunity for original research and analysis. The most frequently identified components of urban food systems relate to: access to healthy food; connectivity between urban and rural areas; having a strong local food economy and food production; reducing food waste; and, having active participation of all actors in decision making. There is some level of consensus on linking sustainability and resilience, but diversity in food sources and the development of social capabilities need to be emphasised for climate change adaptation.
COVID-19 and the crisis in food systems: symptoms, causes and potential solutions
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OECD, 2020. COVID-19 and the food and agriculture sector: issues and policy responses. Policy brief, 29 April. World Food Programme, 2020. COVID-19 will double number of people facing food crises unless swift action is taken. Media release, 21 April. World Food Programme.
Urban food systems and COVID-19: the role of cities and local governments in responding to the emergency
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Peri-urban agriculture in Australia: pressure on the urban fringe
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