6. February 2024

Innovative urban food strategies – production, delivery and consumption of sustainable and healthy food

By Foodways

In order to implement sustainable urban food strategies, many stakeholders need to be brought on board. These include, of course, manufacturing companies and restaurants, but also local and regional administrations, citizens’ movements and many more. It is still relatively new to implement such food strategies in urban environments, but there are already a few good examples with innovative approaches that tackle the problem.

We have looked at examples of cities from the „Milan Urban Food Pacts“ and would like to present a few innovative food strategies from cities in other countries that have risen to the challenge.

Problems and goals of the projects

Before we move on to specific examples, we would like to briefly clarify a few problems and objectives of urban food strategies, as these are transferable to most cities.


Concrete urban food strategies

Some cities are on the right track and have taken on the challenges of urban food strategies. We would like to introduce a few of them and briefly summarize their approaches.


With the ‘De Site’ project, the city wants to create a sustainable society – of which food production is a part. They are focusing on community gardens in which food is both grown and cooked. The focus is on social interaction and therefore a better understanding and a high level of acceptance.

Barcelona, Lisbon

The two cities are particularly affected by high temperatures in summer. Green corridors and street planting are intended to counteract this. However, they are also focusing on urban gardens in which local produce is also grown. Two purposes, one measure.

Almere, Birmingham

In these two cities, the focus of the food strategies is primarily on cooperation with supermarkets. These should offer more and more local products for sale and thus shorten the supply chains.


With the ‘Edinburgh Food for Life’ project, the city is aiming to increase the consumption of local, organic food. This is already being increasingly promoted in schools, care homes and hospitals.

Gothenburg, Lyon

Here, money is provided for the financial support of urban food production – to shorten supply chains. This includes weekly markets with local suppliers and informal groups for the direct purchase of urban-produced food.


Citizen participation is very important in Sandwell. The town supports them in growing their own food. On the one hand, of course, with valuable advice, but also partly with land on which to grow.


There are promotions for the consumption of locally produced food. The city has also launched the ‘ugly fruit initiative’ project. This uses fruit and vegetables that would otherwise not have made it to the markets because they “don’t look good enough”. A clear statement against food waste.

The future of urban food strategies

We are still at the beginning with such food strategies and there is still a lot to do. However, the examples of these innovative urban food strategies provide a starting point and model for other cities that are confronted with similar problems and want to solve them together. Sustainability in production, delivery and consumption should be integrated into all urban food strategies.

In our team, Markus supports cities and cantons in the development and implementation of nutrition strategies in public administration.


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