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Ad hoc support : Surfood

Sustainable urban food systems

Urban Society
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During the year and a half of the project, from November 2012 to April 2014, researchers from the Agropolis Foundation scientific community and their colleagues, with the support of the UNESCO Chair on world food systems, conducted activities to set up a federative research program on the sustainability of urban food systems. The scientific bibliography and the 7 seminar sessions have positioned the Montpellier research on the sustainability of urban food systems and produced a relevant and ambitious scientific project. The Surfood project was submitted to Agropolis Fondation on October 2, 2013, then amended and submitted again on March 17, 2014.
The project brings together 21 research teams from Montpellier, Marseille, Lyon, Hanoi, Dakar and Rabat, in social sciences, food science technology, nutrition and Political Science. The project has managed to integrate the thinking of the researchers around common problem and goal to improve the sustainability of urban food systems. This scientific project has been supported internationally by the 11 qualified personalities involved in its scientific council. With the organization in Montpellier of the 5th AESOP conference in October 2013 but also the participation of researchers in international conferences (resilient cities, Sustainable Food summit, IUFN, Ecocity, FoodLinks, etc.), the Surfood’s scientific community has integrated the global landscape of networks on sustainable food, urban food and sustainable cities. She has presented her work and projects and is known and expected on an international scale on these topics.
The meeting between researchers and local stakeholders organized in October 2013 in Montpellier, the 15 master internships conducted in 2013 in partnership with local stakeholders and the various seminars leaded to create strong collaborations between researchers and local stakeholders on issues related to Surfood. The dialogue has been initiated and the way is open for project development and implementing collaborative research / action under Surfood.
The various activities undertaken during this period led to the publication of a book that lists and describes the key projects undertaken by Surfood researchers on issues contributing to the problem of Surfood. The project also contributed to the editing of the „dossiers Agropolis“ on "Food, Nutrition, Health" presenting the local teams and their research on these topics. Finally, the master internships helped capitalize the first works through reports, policy briefs and conference talks (including for AESOP 2013 and the Surfood meeting in Montpellier October 22, 2013).
The co-investment of the Agropolis Foundation alongside the CIRAD, Montpellier SupAgro, the INRA, the IRD, the IRSTEA, the CNRS, the Montpellier Universities, the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation (via the Unesco Chair on world food systems) and Montpellier SupAgro, allowed setting up and initiating the Surfood program. Today a dynamic is up and Montpellier’s research international visibility on this issue is real.


Building on these new collaborations, the Surfood’s scientific community wants to go on investing in this topic especially issues of sustainability of urban food systems in the Southern cities. Indeed these issues, still relatively unknown, would complement the approaches developed today on the northern cities. A symposium will be held in 2015 on what can cities do to secure their food and make it more sustainable, with AFD, FAO, RUAF, Terres en Villes and CIAT. Thus, collaborations developed with Hanoi, Dakar and Rabat during this year may be utilized.
In 2014-2015 a work on innovative projects on sustainable food will be launched in the ISAM / IPAD curriculum (Montpellier SupAgro and Cirad) and the Master 2 on Food (ISTHIA) from Toulouse. This work will be promoted through a meeting in April 2015.
The Greater Montpellier has asked Surfood researchers to work together to build a local food policy strategy. This work is expected to start in late 2014.
Furthermore, Surfood topics continue to be explored by teams through the many projects going on ant with the new projects that have been set up such as “practices and policies of the united city, MARGUERITE (food justice) or on going research on food waste. The state of the art on modelling and representation of a sustainable urban food system in an integrated manner might be carried out in 2015, with support from the Foundation Agropolis. This work might be enhanced by the publication of a reference book.
The Surfood scientific community wants to maintain momentum and assert its visibility by continuing to actively participate in networks such as AESOP, Resilient cities and take part in other international events. As a result of its visibility, Surfood’s scientific community is know asked for collaboration with the global collaborative platform being set up on “City Region Food Systems and sustainable urbanization."
Finally, articles have been written or are being written based on the results of the 2013 internships and communications that have been produced, to be submitted for publication in late 2014 and 2015.

Project Number : 1200-012

Year : 2012

Type of funding : SP

Project type : PC


Start date :
14 Nov 2012

End date :
18 Apr 2014

Flagship project :

Project leader :
Nicolas Bricas

Project leader's institution :

Project leader's RU :

Budget allocated :
140088 €

Total budget allocated ( including co-financing) :
140088 €

Funding :