Skip to main content

Forests 4 Food in Cities




Cities worldwide are taking action to tackle food availability, with local authorities investing in community orchards, urban gardening and similar initiatives to connect residents to local food sources. These edible landscapes are not only an integral part of a more inclusive food system but bring together diverse stakeholders for more sustainable food production and consumption, increased biodiversity and environmental benefits for years to come.  


Urban Food Forests

Some of the most nutrient-rich foods originate from forests: nuts, berries, mushrooms and plants, for example. What if we used this invaluable forest ecosystem in our cities to provide nutritious, healthy and locally produced food for urban residents?

Mimicking how plants grow naturally in layers within a forest, food forests consist of a canopy with tall fruit and nut trees, shrubs and bushes which bear fruit, a layer of herbs and vegetables, and ground-hugging plants, vines and roots. In addition to being less maintenance-heavy than crops, these food forests boost biodiversity, contribute to food security, and help build more sustainable and resilient communities.



NET timeline

Cities around the world are taking action to ensure that the food grown is eaten. To meet the challenge of feeding cities in the future, UNECE launched NaturEaTown (NET), a resource management platform that helps cities find, track and use food that may otherwise be wasted.

By convening actors across local food value chains in a single virtual place, NET helps cities build on existing sustainable food management efforts and to more easily locate and localize food for use.

NET helps build collaboration in the food system to improve local food security and choices and includes cities, producers, distributors, sellers and NGOs, to collaborate at scale and to promote sustainable production, use and redistribution of food in urban and surrounding areas.

Using blockchain, NET provides transparent, consistent data to trace available food and measure the impact of programs and initiatives related to increasing food access and reducing food waste. This supports the successful implementation of local, national and global (SDG 12) policy commitments to the responsible production, consumption and distribution as well as zero waste of food. It will also help achieve the  local, national and global policy targets related to zero hunger (SDG2), urban greening (SDG 11) circular economy (SDG 12), environment and climate (SDG 15).


For more information: NaturEaTown or contact Secretariat 

NaturEaTown flyer






























Learn more about ECE Urban Action


Last update date: June 30, 2023