Food System Thinking

The Southern Africa Food Lab and WWF South Africa, together with inputs from various food systems experts, have  created the Urban Food System Thinking guide for practitioners in government, business, or civil society, who want to engage in a structured process of thinking about problems and possible responses in their city’s food system.

The guide builds on existing tools on this topic, but is distinct in that it is a step-by-step process that does not require much time, money, or data, and also in that it does not start with the city’s food system, as a whole, which can be overwhelmingly complex and somewhat abstract.


Instead, the guide focuses on a particularly important aspect of the system that requires most immediate attention. The guide asks: why do children in particular communities have insufficient nutritious food to eat?

This approach allows for a zooming out process, in which successively larger and longer-term aspects of the food system – and possible implications for action – are considered in a context-relevant manner.


Urban food System thinking takes the users through a staged process, which includes awareness raising and preparatory work, the identification of key issues, and the prioritization of intervention options.


Download the full guide here.