Improved rural-urban connectivity is critical to achieve sustainable food systems, and the city region food system framework provides a manageable approach to move concretely towards that goal.

Urban and rural people, particularly the disadvantaged, suffer the same global-local forces of marginalisation that contribute to inequities of access, benefits and resources in both high and low income countries. There is an international trend to depend on international commodity markets to source food needs for urban centres. However, international markets are often volatile, and the global food system is not always resilient to shocks, and can contribute to the growing problems around malnutrition. 

The relationship between urban and rural spaces, peoples and environments is vital, and is undoubtedly one of the critical development issues that needs to be addressed in the post-2015 development agenda. While critical urban-rural linkages go beyond food systems to include labour, migration, ecosystem services, input and output markets etc., integrated city region food systems are a key dimension of the rural-urban nexus that need to be explored and developed in order to contribute to a more sustainable urbanisation and rural development, to promoting environmental sustainability and to building inclusive food systems for urban and rural-based populations.

CRFS are not a total solution to food and nutrition security, but they can play a critical role in helping to develop the Future We Want including:

  • RIGHTS-BASED FOOD SECURITY AND NUTRITION: CRFS can play a vital role in ensuring a resilient supply of affordable, healthy food – particularly for vulnerable populations across the rural-urban nexus.
  • SMALL-SCALE FOOD PRODUCTION AND SUSTAINABLE LIVELIHOODS: CRFS can provide livelihood support for small-scale food producers and family farming, within formal and informal food systems – both in rural and urban areas.
  • DEMOCRATIZATION OF FOOD GOVERNANCE AND THE RIGHT TO FOOD: CRFS provide increased scope for local participation in food systems development, planning and governance and can represent a key platform for operationalizing the right to food and food sovereignty.
  • BALANCED RURAL AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT: The scope for improved regional, territorial, or "landscape based" management of ecosystem services for food – including those linked with water and energy security.