Can every city be a food growing city?
How can lessons learned from Food Growing Schools: London’s project successes be applied to supporting the development of more sustainable food systems?
Food Growing Schools: London project elevators from the University of the West of England and University of Cardiff have assessed our work since the project was launched and have used their findings to examine how cities can support innovative strategies to respond to new challenges in food systems.
“Cities have emerged as leaders in food system innovation and transformation, but their potential can be limited by the absence of supportive governance arrangements.
This study examined the value of Food Growing Schools London (FGSL) as a programme seeking city-wide change through focusing on one dimension of the food system. Mixed methods case study research sought to identify high-level success factors and challenges.
Findings demonstrate FGSL’s success in promoting food growing by connecting and amplifying formerly isolated activities. Schools valued the programme’s expertise and networking opportunities, whilst strategic engagement facilitated new partnerships linking food growing to other policy priorities.
Challenges included food growing’s marginality amongst priorities that direct school and borough activity. Progress depended on support from
individual local actors so varied across the city. London-wide progress was limited by the absence of policy levers at the city level.
Experience from FGSL highlights how city food strategies remain
constrained by national policy contexts, but suggests they may gain traction through focusing on well-delineated, straightforward activities that hold public appeal.
Sustainability outcomes might then be extended through a staged approach using this as a platform from which to address other
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Hannah Pitt, Sustainable Places Institute, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF10 3BA,Wales, UK
Mat Jones, Bristol Centre for Public Health and Wellbeing, University of the West of England, Bristol BS16 1QY, UK; firstname.lastname@example.org
Emma Weitkamp, Science Communication Unit, University of the West of England, Bristol BS16 1QY, UK; email@example.com