From Urban Agriculture to Urban Food

Food System Analysis Based on Interaction Between Research, Policy, and Society

in Nature and Culture
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  • 1 Swiss Academic Society for Environmental Research and Ecology heidrun.moschitz@fibl.org
  • 2 The Research Institute of Organic Agriculture jan.landert@fibl.org
  • 3 The Research Institute of Organic Agriculture christian.schader@fibl.org
  • 4 The Research Institute of Organic Agriculture rebekka.frick@fibl.org
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Abstract

Urban agriculture is embedded in an urban food system, and its full potential can only be understood by looking into the dynamics of the system. Involving a variety of actors from civil society, policy, and the market, we conducted a comprehensive analysis of the food system of the city of Basel, Switzerland, including policy and actor analysis, analysis of perceptions on urban agriculture, food flow analysis, and a sustainability assessment. The article presents the results of these analyses and discusses how research can contribute to the societal debate on food systems transformation. We particularly reflect on how the research project became a boundary object in a dynamic process to develop new ideas and activities, as well as to create a space for future debates in the city’s food system.

Contributor Notes

Heidrun Moschitz has a background in agricultural science and policy network analysis, and has been working on urban-rural linkages in Switzerland and Europe for many years. Her particular interest is in understanding mechanisms of urban food governance, and the interactions between policy, administration, and civil society. She also looks into the meanings and importance of local food in urban and rural areas, including organic food and farming development. Currently, she coordinates the working group on urban agriculture of the Swiss Academic Society for Environmental Research and Ecology (saguf). E-mail: heidrun.moschitz@fibl.org

Jan Landert has studied environmental sciences at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. Directly after his studies, he worked on topics related to water quality. In the past years, his research has focused on the sustainability of food systems. In this field, he developed indicators and methods to assess the sustainability of entire food systems, as well as farms and businesses in the food sector. Most recently, he has been working on how to assess the urban food system governance with regard to sustainability. E-mail: jan.landert@fibl.org

Christian Schader is leading sustainability assessment activities at the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) in Switzerland. He studied agricultural sciences at the University of Bonn and holds a PhD in agri-environmental policy evaluation at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. His work encompasses evaluations of environmental, economic, and social aspects of food production and consumption. This includes the development and application of methods, models, and tools for analyzing different environmental, economic, and social aspects of food supply chains. E-mail: christian.schader@fibl.org

Rebekka Frick holds an MSc in environmental governance from the University of Freiburg (Germany). Her focus is on governance of environmental problems related to agriculture with an emphasis on local and regional governance mechanisms. In particular, she has looked at the connection of agriculture and cities by studying the meanings of urban gardening activities. Further, she has analyzed the food flows for different cities. Currently, she works on a project that elaborates an action plan aiming at fostering the organic value chain in a specific region in Switzerland. E-mail: rebekka.frick@fibl.org

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