Local Government Planning for Community Food Systems

UB researchers were the driving force behind “Local government planning for community food systems” a report published by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), a United Nations agency that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. The 164-page report details strategies local governments in low- and middle-income countries can use to create more innovative and equitable community food systems.

Image cover of the FAO Report Local Government Planning for Community Food Systems.

"Local Government Planning for Community Food Systems" was co-produced by researchers and community partners in the case study countries, along with authors Samina Raja, Erin Sweeney, Yeeli Mui and Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah of UB’s Community for Global Health Equity and the UB Food Lab. It includes contributions from 10 students and six community partners from Ghana, Jamaica and India. The report, which centers the experiences of smallholder farmers in low- and middle-income countries, "reinforces the critical role of community food systems for broader social transformation in cities and regions,” states Dr. Raja, Co-Director for the Community for Global Health Equity. "These farmers are responsible for growing food for the world, yet they are often the most food insecure." FAO directors Anna Lartey and Vimlendra Sharan note that “This publication invites us to rethink food systems and supply chains through the lens of a ‘community,’ as a reminder that people and their everyday practices and relationships with food are central to the design of these processes.” 

Raja, S., Sweeney, E., Mui, Y., Frimpong Boamah, E. 2021. Local government planning for community food systems – Opportunity, innovation and equity in low- and middle-income countries.


Over the last couple of decades, local governments have started taking action to address food system challenges. Many innovative food policies have taken place in cities in particular. However, despite major developments spearheaded by visionary local leaders and communities in recent years, local governments in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) continue to face major challenges in integrating food security, nutrition and sustainable food systems in their agenda.

This publication introduces a new knowledge base for understanding food planning and governance processes and models in local governments of low- and middle-income countries, a valuable counterbalance to the prevailing literature and experience from high-income countries. It provides practical insights on the needs, challenges and opportunities in local food planning practice in three countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean. Based on reported cases, this publication offers a broad guiding framework and a methodology for subnational government bodies - including city, metropolitan, regional, distinct and parish governments - that takes into consideration the uniqueness of each local context