Rome, a Policy without Politics: The Participatory Process for a Metropolitan Scale Food Policy

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Jan 11;17(2):479. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17020479.


In light of the challenges that all cities face today, food is offered as a prism through which to read and intervene on various areas that affect the quality of life of the population: circular economy, urban metabolism, social relations, economies, and food quality. In the Roman context, in recent years, numerous initiatives have revitalized the debate on food and brought the discussion to the center of the interest of an ever-increasing number of citizens. However, these experiences appear unrelated and there is a lack of coordination and political coherence. Faced with this evidence, starting from a territorial analysis, this contribution analyzes the process that led a local group of stakeholders to formulate a proposal for a food policy for the city of Rome. The proposal contains a series of possible actions that aim, on the one hand, to recompose the relations between the city and its territory, with a view to re-localization and re-territorialization of agro-food productions and, on the other hand, to reconnect the economic and social relations that the industrialization of food chains has compromised. The network analysis of the bottom-up process, which mainly investigates networking and negotiation skills between various interests, is carried out and related to a careful analysis of the food system in the Roman context. Furthermore, an overview of the state of the art of urban food policies in Italy has been provided to better contextualize the study case. The findings show actors and topics involved in the process, identifying further development towards a more comprehensive participatory process for a systemic food strategy at the metropolitan level.

Keywords: food governance; food policy; food system sustainability; local development; stakeholder engagement; urban agriculture.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Agriculture / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Cities
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Policy / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Politics*
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Rome
  • Urban Population