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Feeding capitals: Urban food security and self-provisioning in Canberra, Copenhagen and Tokyo
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Australian National University, Australia.
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Number of Authors: 52014 (English)In: Global Food Security, ISSN 2211-9124, Vol. 3, no 1, p. 1-7Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Most people live in cities, but most food system studies and food security issues focus on the rural poor. Urban populations differ from rural populations in their food consumption by being generally wealthier, requiring food trade for their food security, defined as the extent to which people have adequate diets. Cities rarely have the self-provisioning capacity to satisfy their own food supply, understood as the extent to which the food consumed by the city's population is produced from the city's local agro-ecosystems. Almost inevitably, a city's food security is augmented by production from remote landscapes, both internal and external in terms of a state's jurisdiction. We reveal the internal and external food flows necessary for the food security of three wealthy capital cities (Canberra, Australia; Copenhagen, Denmark; Tokyo, Japan). These cities cover two orders of magnitude in population size and three orders of magnitude in population density. From traded volumes of food and their sources into the cities, we calculate the productivity of the city's regional and non-regional ecosystems that provide food for these cities and estimate the overall utilised land area. The three cities exhibit differing degrees of food self provisioning capacity and exhibit large differences in the areas on which they depend to provide their food. We show that, since 1965, global land area effectively imported to produce food for these cities has increased with their expanding populations, with large reductions in the percentage of demand met by local agro-ecosystems. The physical trading of food commodities embodies ecosystem services, such as water, soil fertility and pollination that are required for land-based food production. This means that the trade in these embodied ecosystem services has become as important for food security as traditional economic mechanisms such as market access and trade. A future policy question, raised by our study, is the degree to which governments will remain committed to open food trade policies in the face of national political unrest caused by food shortages. Our study demonstrates the need to determine the food security and self-provisioning capacity of a wide range of rich and poor cities, taking into account the global location of the ecosystems that are provisioning them.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 3, no 1, p. 1-7
Keywords [en]
Cities, Food security, Self-provisioning, Provisioning ecosystems
National Category
Social and Economic Geography Agricultural Science, Forestry and Fisheries
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-161679DOI: 10.1016/j.gfs.2013.09.001ISI: 000209595900001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-161679DiVA, id: diva2:1260929
Available from: 2018-11-05 Created: 2018-11-05 Last updated: 2018-11-05Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
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