Transitioning towards a sustainable food city

Authors: Quest, J., Shiel, C. and Watson, S.

Start date: 6 September 2018



The paper provides a case study of a capacity building project and critical reflection in relation to transitioning to a sustainable food city.


An action research approach was adopted involving two research initiatives; firstly, a survey to elicit stakeholders’ understanding of sustainable local food, with a view to creating a shared agenda and informing future strategic direction; and secondly a combination of research approaches, including paired discussions, generation of pictorial outputs and a workshop, aimed to inform the future vision and mission of the Partnership.


Collaboration with stakeholders through a variety of research initiatives has facilitated the development of a Sustainable Food City Partnership, with the overarching aim of achieving a transition towards a more sustainable food system. Moreover, collaboration has contributed to the transition of the Partnership to ensure sustainability and continuity after the initial funding stage.

Research limitations/implications

While universities have an important role to play in guiding direction and shaping new community initiatives for sustainability in their regions, the challenges, resources and time involved may be under-estimated; these projects take considerable time to yield fruit.

Practical Implications

The findings of the study will be of interest to those working in the community to promote education for sustainable development and better food systems.


This paper addresses a gap in the literature in relation to universities and their collaboration in multi-actor networks, in building capacity and contributing to local sustainability transitions.

Keywords: Sustainability, Sustainable Food, Transitions, Capacity Building, Partnership working

The data on this page was last updated at 05:18 on July 19, 2019.