Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Urban Research

Local Food System Planning: The Problem, Conceptual Issues, and Policy Tools for Local Government Planners

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Urban Research

Local Food System Planning: The Problem, Conceptual Issues, and Policy Tools for Local Government Planners

Article excerpt


Local food system planning was identified in the late 1990s as an emerging and important urban planning object. Since then, little attention has been placed on identifying a robust and comprehensive understanding of the roles and tools local government can use in addressing their local food systems. The emerging literature identifies problems with the dominant productionist agricultural system, addresses conceptual issues and often advances normative arguments in support of developing and supporting local food systems, but attention to the practical actions needed to address this issue on the ground have been limited. This paper provides an overview of the reported risks (such as water shortages, climate change, peak oil) associated with our dominant food systems, addresses the lack of attention to the importance of subscales within 'local' and definition of 'local food,' and it identifies the main reasons for considering local food systems as part of addressing the food system risks. Finally, it presents a policy framework along with tools and roles for local government to address local food systems within each of the framework's categories. The principal purpose is to help advance the local food system work of planners in their North American communities.

Keywords: local food systems, local government, urban planning, sustainability, food system policy


La planification locale de systeme alimentaire a ete identifiee dans les annees 1990 comme un aspect important en urbanisme. Depuis, peu d'attention a ete accordee l'elaboration d'une meilleure comprehension concernant cette question, et le role et les outils que les gouvernements locaux peuvent utiliser pour repondre au besoin de leurs systemes alimentaires locaux. La recente litterature concernant ce sujet identifie des problemes avec le systeme de production agricole dominant, aborde les enjeux conceptuelles et, plus souvent qu'autrement avance des arguments normatifs l'appui et le soutien soutenable des systemes alimentaires locaux. Toutefois, l'attention sur les mesures pratiques necessaires pour repondre cette question sur le terrain son limites.

Cet article consiste en un apercu des risques signales de par les etudes associes nos systemes alimentaires dominants (tels que les penuries d'eau, les changements climatiques, choc petrolier). L'etude aborde egalement le manque d'attention l'importance des sous-echelles en ce qui a trait au terme 'local' et a la definition de 'nourriture locale' et, identifie les principales raisons de considerer les systemes alimentaires locaux dans le cadre de lutte contre les risques du systeme alimentaire. Finalement, l'article presente un cadre politique ainsi que des outils et des strategies pour les gouvernements locaux pour developper et renforcer le developpement de systeme alimentaire locale. Le but principal est de contribuer l'avancement des travaux des planificateurs sur les systemes alimentaires locaux dans les communautes en Amerique du Nord.

Mots cles: systeme alimentaire locale, administration communale ou locale, amenagement du territoire, planification urbaine, politique des systemes d'alimentation


The study of Local Food Systems and Production (LFS/P) represents a nascent field of geographic study, an emergent focus in urban planning (Granvik 2012) and it is increasingly a key part of sustainable development and the resilient community discourse (Kaufman 2009; Roseland 2012). The convergence of several related food system risks like climate change (Ostry et al. 2011), peak oil (Roberts 2009), productionist agriculture impacts (Tilman et al. 2002), and global demographic trends (Roberts 2009; Peters 2010; The Government Office for Science 2011) highlight the critical role food systems will play in the future at the local level. Research on how local communities and their local governments can support local food systems is essential for responding to this emerging food challenge, and addressing how we grow food is one of the most significant opportunities to become more sustainable (De La Salle 2011). …

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