Special Issue "Rural-Urban Relations and Sustainable Food Systems"

A special issue of Environments (ISSN 2076-3298).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (26 June 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Gianluca Brunori
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Pisa, Via del Borghetto, 80–56124 Pisa, Italy
Interests: rural development strategies; sustainable food systems; marketing of local food; innovation in agriculture and rural areas; small farms; food security; digitalisation
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Sabrina Arcuri
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Pisa, Via del Borghetto, 80–56124 Pisa PI, Italy
Interests: urban/local food strategies; sustainable food systems; rural-urban relationships; food security; rural development

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Whether it is from climate change, the energy crisis, or economic downturn, we are more aware than ever that the food system will confront many challenges in the future. The recent pandemic has shown the necessity–as well as the opportunity–to test novel approaches that question the business-as-usual way in which our food system is shaped. This means its resilience must increase, while at the same time its capacity to provide food security for all must be enhanced. The relation between the city and the countryside has also come to the fore, alongside multiple benefits that could potentially arise out of the enhancement of such relations. In this Special Issue, food systems are used as an organizing framework, as they represent the ideal locus to think of urban and rural as two closely interconnected dimensions. Looking at the ecological, social, economic, technical, and institutional components of the food system(s) and their interactions and outcomes, the “boundaries” between rural and urban become blurred. Our focus is on the sustainability-related aspects that relate the various components and outcomes of the food system to their rural–urban context. We invite papers presenting original research on this topic, to contribute to the identification of best practices and potential solutions to present and future challenges.

Prof. Gianluca Brunori
Dr. Sabrina Arcuri
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Environments is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • rural-urban relations
  • food systems
  • food security
  • sustainability
  • resilience
  • rural
  • urban
  • post-pandemic

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Article
Migration, Rural–Urban Connectivity, and Food Remittances in Kenya
Environments 2021, 8(9), 92; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/environments8090092 - 07 Sep 2021
Viewed by 401
Abstract
This paper draws on data from a representative city-wide household food security survey of Nairobi conducted in 2017 to examine the importance of food remitting to households in contemporary Nairobi. The first section of the paper provides an overview of the urbanization and [...] Read more.
This paper draws on data from a representative city-wide household food security survey of Nairobi conducted in 2017 to examine the importance of food remitting to households in contemporary Nairobi. The first section of the paper provides an overview of the urbanization and rapid growth of Nairobi, which has led to growing socio-economic inequality, precarious livelihoods for the majority, and growing food insecurity, as context for the more detailed empirical analysis of food security and food remittances that follows. It is followed by a description of the survey methodology and sections analyzing the differences between migrant and non-migrant households in Nairobi. Attention then turns to the phenomenon of food remitting, showing that over 50% of surveyed households in the city had received food remittances in the previous year. The paper then uses multivariate logistic regression to identify the relationship between Nairobi household characteristics and the probability of receiving food remittances from rural areas. The findings suggest that there are exceptions to the standard migration and poverty-driven explanatory model of the drivers of rural–urban food remitting and that greater attention should be paid to other motivations for maintaining rural–urban connectivity in Africa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural-Urban Relations and Sustainable Food Systems)
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Article
Alternative Agri-Food Systems under a Market Agencements Approach: The Case of Multifunctional Farming Activity in a Peri-Urban Area
Environments 2021, 8(7), 61; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/environments8070061 - 24 Jun 2021
Viewed by 806
Abstract
(1) Background: A large body of literature is available on the environmental, social, and economic sustainability of alternative food systems, but not much of it is devoted to the dynamics underlying their design and implementation, more specifically the processes that make an alternative [...] Read more.
(1) Background: A large body of literature is available on the environmental, social, and economic sustainability of alternative food systems, but not much of it is devoted to the dynamics underlying their design and implementation, more specifically the processes that make an alternative food system successful or not in terms of its sustainability aims. This gap seems to be particularly critical in studies concerning alternative food systems in urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA). This paper explores how the design and implementation of multifunctional farming activity in a peri-urban area surrounding the city of Reggio Emilia in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy impact the achievement of its sustainability aims. (2) Methods: The environmental, social, and economic components of this project are explored in light of the sociology of market agencements. This method brings up the motivations of the human entities involved in the project, the role played by nonhuman entities, and the technical devices used for the fulfillment of the project’s aims. (3) Results: The alternative food system under study lacked a robust design phase and a shared definition of the project aims among all the stakeholders involved. This ended in a substantial mismatch between project aims and consumer expectations. (4) Conclusions: When a comprehensive design stage is neglected, the threefold aim concerning sustainability might not be achievable. In particular, the design of alternative food systems must take into account the social environment where it is intended to be put in place, especially in UPA, where consumers often live in suburban neighborhoods wherein the sense of community is not strong, thus preventing them from getting involved in a community-based project. In such cases, hybridization can play a role in the sustainability of alternative food networks, provided that some trade-offs occur among the different components of sustainability—some components of sustainability will be fully achieved, while others will not. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural-Urban Relations and Sustainable Food Systems)
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