Today’s food and agricultural systems are closely linked to pressing challenges for sustainable human life. Longer-term policy-making is seriously needed. Urban decision-makers have considerable power to shape the food and agricultural sector by, among other things, changing public food procurements towards greater sustainability.
The aim of this comparative study is to explain variation in the ambitiousness of policy targets and the successful implementation of urban food policies in the cities of Zurich, Munich and Nuremberg. I conducted an in-depth process-tracing analysis of the mech- anisms behind the adoption and implementation of 13 sustainable food procurement regulations officially adopted by the city councils from 2003 to 2014. In all 13 cases, high electoral safety, credible expectations of long-term policy benefits and high executive insti- tutional capacity are necessary conditions for the adoption of long- term policies. However, they do not explain variation in target’s ambition and implementation’s success. Based on theory-building process-tracing, I argue that the variation in the degree of adoption and implementation success of long-term policies can be explained by five policy process and design features:
1. deliberative and cor- poratist governance mechanisms,
2. a high level of central coordi- nation for crosscutting policy implementation,
3. involvement of decision-makers in policy networks,
4. strong use of evidence-based instruments,
5. bundling of short-term and long-term benefits.
Governing Urban Food Systems in the Long Run. Comparing Best Practices in Sustainable Food Procurement Regulations GAIA 25/4 (2016): 260 – 270. Download here.