The centre works on the following research themes.

Governance and planning

How are urban food systems organized? What are the conflicts that need to be overcome? Is there a food council in cities? Are urban food systems localized or globalized? What is the role of main actors involved (civil society, private sector, governments, universities and international organizations) of urban food systems? What are the drivers and barriers of a good urban food system? How are urban gardeners organized? How can we improve food systems governance? How can policy allocate more land to urban agriculture?

These are some of the questions that guide this research theme that aims to understand in general the governance of urban food systems and how they can be improved for people and planet.

Food and nutrition security

How food secure are urban populations? What are the drivers behind urban food security? What is the geography of urban food security? How can we tackle food insecurity? Are urban dwellers nutritionally secure? What explains diet change? What are the drivers of food choice? How can we sustainably improve diet diversity and quality? How to promote more fruits and vegetables in diets among urban populations?

These questions guide this research theme that aims to better understand drivers and barriers of urban food security and formulate recommendations that support policy interventions.

Social and economic equity

Who are the urban poor? How can we promote food justice in urban areas? What kinds of social protection systems (food banks, social restaurants, nutrition-sensitive cash-transfer programs, etc.) are viable to improve food equity? How can we support grassroots activities dedicated to providing vulnerable populations with access to healthy and sustainable food? How can women and youth be supported to contribute to urban food systems and increase their benefits to them?

This research theme aims to provide answers to these questions and propose viable policy interventions that effectively and equitably improve urban poor capacity to better feed themselves.

Food production, supply and waste

How are food items produced in cities? What types of urban gardens are developed? How can we optimize urban and peri-urban agriculture in the face of lack of land? How can we improve the resilience of urban and peri-urban agriculture against climate change? How is food production related to ecosystems services? How can we reduce the ecological footprint of urban food systems? How are street food systems organized? What is the geography of food supply? How can we improve the rural-urban food supply chain? How can we improve food transportation and logistics to better connect rural and urban areas? How can cities create municipal public markets to support local production? How can we minimize food losses in the stages of the food supply chain? How can we minimize the amount of food thrown away by households?

This research theme is focused on these questions and aims to improve how food is produced and supplied in cities to ensure urban dwellers have access to healthy and nutritious diets. The theme also works on how to reduce food waste to avail of more citizens of more food.

Theme 6 – Urban food systems. Conference “Research & Policy: two peas in a pod? A dialogue for food security impact”
Allotment gardens in Benin. Preliminary results presented at the joint mid-term review meeting of the Food & Business Global Challenges Program of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research
How support to urban poor especially, women in developing allotment gardens can provide their households with access to fresh foods ? A success story on improving urban food security in Benin.
How can a multi-stakeholder committee improve the way research is conducted? A story about the development of allotment gardens in Benin.
Urban agriculture in Benin: how can policy support gardeners?
A site selection tool for allotment gardens
What can we learn from allotment gardens in urban areas?
Development of two pilot allotment gardens in two cities of Benin
Capitalizing stories of change during the research process
Improving urban food security: A success story
Enhancing urban food security in and around the cities of Benin