Published September 24, 2019
The effects of climate change are compounding existing economic challenges faced by small-holder farmers around the world, threatening a critical link in sustainable food systems at the local and global scale.
The findings are documented by the Plan-REFUGE project led by the School of Architecture and Planning's Food Lab and UB's Community for Global Health Equity. Drawing from case studies in Accra, Ghana; the Indian states of Kerala and Odisha; and the Parish of Clarendon, Jamaica, the project investigates how small-holder farmers are adapting their daily living practices in the face of challenges including globalization and climate change.
Funded by the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization, Plan-REFUGE aims to cultivate learning exchange among local stakeholders and build capacity for food systems planning among policy makers from the local to global scale. The research team is directed by Samina Raja, professor of urban planning and director of UB's Food Lab, and Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah, assistant professor of urban planning and affiliated faculty of UB's Community for Global Health Equity.
Food systems are defined as the place-based infrastructure that enables food to travel from source to plate and beyond. Communities’ food systems encompass a complex set of interlinked activities that enable the production, aggregation, processing, wholesale, and retail of food, and the acquisition, preparation as well as consumption of food. As such, challenges in the food system often link to broader economic, environmental and social challenges including globalization, climate change, infrastructure and inequities in access to housing, education and wealth.
According to the Plan-REFUGE team, climate-related impacts and responses varied widely across the three study countries, revealing a number of opportunities for adaptive responses and policy innovation in communities around the world: