Chapter 26 of Handbook of Sustainable and Regenerative Food Systems

This chapter considers the significance of rural–urban linkages in current and future food systems. Food is at the core of the rural–urban relation: an increasingly urbanized global population is dependent on rural areas for its food supply, whilst rural societies and environments have in turn been transformed by their integration into a global food system oriented to provisioning cities. However, this system faces challenges from environmental, social, and political concerns, with counter-movements promoting alternative models for food production and consumption that imply a reworking of the spatial dynamics of the food system. Accordingly, the chapter critically outlines four different scenarios for rural–urban interactions in sustainable food futures, focused on relocalization of food systems to city hinterlands, urban agriculture, intensive peri-urban farming, and reruralization. The chapter concludes by briefly reflecting on the potential and limitations of different approaches to reconfiguring rural–urban relations in more sustainable food systems and questions that consequently need to be considered by social scientists engaging with these developments.