Counter visits from more than 160  countries and 1400 universities (details)

The political economy of development
This academic site promotes excellence in teaching and researching economics and development, and the advancing of describing, understanding, explaining and theorizing.
About us- Castellano- Français - Dedication
Home- Themes- Reports- Statistics/Search- Lecture notes/News- People's Century- Puro Chile- Mapuche


Sustainable Food Systems:
The Role of the City

by Robert Biel


This book, by a leading expert in urban agriculture, offers a genuine solution to today’s global food crisis. By contributing more to feeding themselves, cities can allow breathing space for the rural sector to convert to more organic sustainable approaches. Biel’s approach connects with current debates about agroecology and food sovereignty, asks key questions, and proposes lines of future research. He suggests that today’s food insecurity – manifested in a regime of wildly fluctuating prices – reflects not just temporary stresses in the existing mode of production, but more profoundly the troubled process of generating a new one. He argues that the solution cannot be implemented at a merely technical or political level: the force of change can only be driven by the kind of social movements which are now daring to challenge the existing unsustainable order. Drawing on both his academic research and teaching, and 15 years’ experience as a practising urban farmer, Biel brings a unique interdisciplinary approach to this key global issue, creating a dialogue between the physical and social sciences


This book is published under a Creative Common 4.0 International license (CC BY 4.0).
This license allows you to share, copy, distribute and transmit the work;
to adapt the work and to make commercial use of the work providing attribution
is made to the authors (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you
or your use of the work). Attribution should include the following information:
Robert Biel, Sustainable Food Systems. London, UCL Press, 2016. 

First published in 2016 by UCL Press University College
 London Gower Street London WC1E 6BT
Available to download free: ucl- press
Text © Robert Biel, 2016 Images © Robert Biel, 2016
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from The British Library.
Further details about CC BY licenses are available at licenses/ ISBN: 978–1–911307–07–5 (Hbk.) ISBN: 978–1–911307–08–2 (Pbk.) ISBN: 978–1–911307–09–9 (PDF) ISBN: 978–1–911307–10–5 (epub) ISBN: 978–1–911307–11–2 (mobi) ISBN: 978–1–911307–29–7 (html) DOI:10.14324/111.9781911307099

Cover, title, copyright, contents, list of figures

1. Introduction

This is a book about how people can feed themselves into the future, and also about major aspects of climate adaptation/ mitigation. I sought to approach these extremely serious topics in a spirit of responsibility. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has proposed the need for a ‘new paradigm’ premised on ‘sustainable intensification’ and I felt it was essential to engage with this constructively rather than merely critiquing its ‘discourse’.
2. Searching for a new model of food and farming

3. The mainstream farming paradigm - what went wrong?

4. How systems change: crisis and rifts

5. Embracing complexity: the earth system, land and soil

6. Dialectics of a (re)discovered sustainability

7. Political dimension – agriculture and class struggle

8.Towards a new paradigm – practical guidelines

9. Regenerating the earth system , working with climate

10.Food, imperialism and dependency

11. Built systems, biomimicry and urban food - growing

12. Autonomy, radicalism and the commons



Selected World Development Indicators (various years)

World Development Reports (complete series)
(in construction)

Related themes:
- Agrarian policies
- Agribusiness

- Aid
- Bureaucracy
- Debt
- Decentralization
- Dependency theory
- Development
- Development Economics
- Economic Policies
- Employment/Unemployment
- Foreign Direct Investment
- Gender
- Human Rights
- Human Development
- Hunger
- Inequality/social exclusion
- Informal sector
- International Trade
- Integrated International

- Labour Market
- Microfinance
- Migration
- Poverty
- Privatization
- State/Civil Society/

- Sustainable Development
- Transnational Corporations
- Urbanization

- Complete list of development themes