30 July 2015 – can food systems adapt to rapid urbanisation?

There is a good article in the UK Guardian, written by Sunniva Bloem, about the pressures put on our food systems by rapid urbanisation. With the UN saying that more than 60% of the world’s predicted population of 5 billion will live in urban areas by 2030 – how will people access nutritious foods in a sustainable way?

In particular, the article points to the problems associated with  medium and small cities – and especially those with less than 1 million inhabitants located in Asia and Africa which have the  fastest growing urban agglomerations. As Bloem says, ‘ small cities can struggle with long term urban planning and fresh food supply, and national policies need to ensure the most vulnerable have access to nutritious foods‘. And in large cities, planners and policymakers need to ensure that already over burdened infrastructures can cope.

Bloem comments that it is vital urban planning takes context-specific consumer and private sector trends into the picture. She says,’ regulation to increase access is one step governments can take. This should include working with informal retailers such as street vendors as well as anticipating the growth of supermarkets and ensuring the nutritional quality and affordability of products is increased.‘ This, once again, underlines the need to ensure traditional food markets and street vendors remain viable as  a vital part of peoples’ resilience against hunger in cities in every country around the world.

You can read the full article here