Workshop ‘Food Sovereignty and Urban-Rural Integration’


UPDATE 05.10.2015 Official registration is closed. Only very few seats remaining. Check here.

This workshop will focus on learning from a new wave of food initiatives which are contributing to strong and lasting urban-rural links and are creating the foundations for a new generation of local development strategies. Urban areas have become the dominant settlement pattern and increasingly the sustainability discourse is centred on the question of how to transform cities into resilient, sustainable habitats. This also presents a challenge for their rural hinterlands as there is a glut of cheap, ready-made industrial food in our cities, and more and more people become obese and unhealthy, while organic food from nearby is scarce, sometimes really expensive, and requires culinary preparation and skills. The economic crisis has highlighted that impoverished people in crisis-struck cities need to reconnect to the rural neighbourhoods in the proximity in order to restore functional economic flows; the most elementary and exemplary one being the food system.

European citizens (community supported farming initiatives and direct sales networks) and local governments (Resilient Cities network, Transition Towns…) have started to point the way towards regional food sovereignty. The workshop will discuss what can be learned from these initiatives and especially:

• Which forms and patterns of urban-rural partnerships stand out in respect to local food sovereignty and are most appropriate to mend the broken food cycle and to revive regional food systems on a larger scale?
• How far can these partnerships and their activities contribute to strengthening social cohesion, and reviving and consolidating rural-urban relationships?
• How can they be supported by EU territorial policies and urban and rural development programmes?

Tuesday, 13 Oct. 14:30 – 17:00

Building of the CoR, VM1

Draft Programme

Time Action Presumable speaker/moderator
14:30-14:40 Welcome and opening statements LDNET, Haris Martinos

Thematic introduction:

Why choosing food sovereignty as a core topic for rural-urban integration?

What are the main challenges and in which way is this rural-urban integration manifest itself in respect to the food system?

Robert Lukesch (moderator)

Two presentations (2*15’):


Rural-urban integration through sustainable food systems. The territorial perspective. Experiences from the URBACT network “Sustainable food in urban communities”




New rural-urban links and alliances for a sustainable future. The actors’ and communities’ perspective. Experiences from social economy initiatives for food democracy and food sovereignty


Both speakers start from referring to specific case examples and relate them to a broader concept of reconnecting the broken links between territorial flows and actors respectively (with reference to the key questions set out in the thematic introduction)


Short Q&A sessions (2*5’)



Marianne Karstens (NL),

Consultant. Amersfoort/URBACT network


Bob Cannell (UK), Co-operative Business Consultants

15:30-15:45 Break

1/4h of buzz groups deliberating on the questions:

–          In how far do we find these initiatives worth being up-scaled? (benefits and pitfalls)

–          How can these initiatives grow and consolidate on larger scales?

–          What should be done (or not done) to support local initiatives from the point of view of EU and MS policies?


Participants form small groups of 2-4 with their neighbors


Moderated by Urszula Budzich-Tabor (ENRD)


16:00-17:00 1h Panel comprising
–          the two presenters (see above) 

–          FAAN: A study on Local Food Systems in Europe



–          Council Member of the City of Athens (Sustainability Portfolio), and Assistant Professor at the University of the Aegean, Lesvos)


–          Secretary General of the Standing Work Group on Regional Rural Development in South East Europe


–          ECOLISE – European Network for Community-Led Initiatives on Climate Change and Sustainability


–          ENRD – Coordinator for CLLD/LEADER

–          someone from ENRD


–          LDnet


Each panellist not yet introduced shortly presents him/herself and what the organisation/initiative stands for (max 3’ each). The panellists don’t make presentations, however they are supposed to spontaneously react on the ideas and comments coming from the audience.



Marianne Karstens (NL)

Bob Cannell (UK)


Sandra Karner (AT), researcher


Eleni Myrivili (EL)




Boban Ilić (MK)



André Vizinho (PT), researcher


Urszula Budzich-Tabor (PL)


Toby Johnson (UK)


Moderated by Robert Lukesch