Short food supply chains have been advocated as a means of rural development, as they improve the position of primary producers in the value chain. In this proposal we look at short supply chains from the perspective of urban rather than rural development. Short supply chains can play a role in addressing urban problems such as climate change, obesity, storm water control, etc.
Short food supply chains have been advocated as a means to reduce CO2 impact of the agricultural system. Although a reduction of food miles certainly contributes to reducing climate impact, this proposal takes as premise that to really improve the ecological performance of the food system other flows of goods and services need to be shortened as well (e.g. nutrient, water, and carbon cycles need to be closed). In the current context these aspects are usually treated separately, this proposal argues to treat them more integrated.
The research will analyse the way in which several European city regions deal with short supply chains in food, nutrients, water, and carbon. The project will facilitate selected SMEs to further innovate in food production and delivery, nutrient and water management, and multifunctional use of space, and will disseminate the results among a wider audience of SMEs. By doing so, the research will look beyond the state of the art, it will suggest how city regions could look like if they chose to further relocalise their food system.
Finally the project will also establish links with stakeholders and RTD activities regarding urban and peri-urban agriculture and short chain delivery of food in urban and peri-urban areas in developing countries. This will be organised through a process of dialogue, sharing of experiences, exchanging of best practices and joint learning.