Collection: Food, agriculture and rural communities

This collection showcases a range of LGIU work that explores food, agriculture and rural communities. From exclusive LGIU member content to our Global Local newsletters filled with innovation and inspiration, plus articles which are free for anyone to read, this collection provides resources to support better policy and practice for your communities. This collection has something to offer for staff and councillors in public services who aspire to drive and improve engagement and sustainability in rural and agricultural areas.

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Food: health, supply and sustainability

Food is an incredibly complex and often contentious topic with concerns such as obesity and hunger entangled with issues of inequality, climate change, supply chains, producers, supermarkets, and the economy. These resources showcase some of these different threads and reflect on the important leadership and delivery role that local government plays in addressing this challenging issue.

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Global Local: Food and community

This edition of Global Local looks at food’s impact on our communities. Read here.

In Conversation with Vivienne Swan, Sustainable Food Places Coordinator at Edible Edinburgh

We chat with Vivienne Swan, Sustainable Food Places Coordinator at Edible Edinburgh. Read here.

Swift Read: Food Insecurity and Poverty

The pandemic has highlighted various faults in the UK’s food systems, from the quality of free school meals and their provision over holidays to soaring food bank numbers. This briefing outlines some of the most recent issues and policies regarding food and poverty in Scotland, where food insecurity is more prevalent than in the rest of the UK and the use of food banks has become commonplace. Read here.

Global Local: Community gardens and food security

In this edition of Global Local, LGIU looks at community gardens and the role that they can play connecting individuals with nature and food systems, addressing food insecurity and building more resilient communities. Read here.

Food deserts: increasing access to healthy, affordable food

10.2 million people are estimated to live in food deserts in the UK. This briefing looks at the challenges of quantifying and assessing food availability and increasing access to healthy food options in low income areas. Read here.

Insights into sustaining European urban agriculture projects

How can municipalities make urban farming projects thrive in the long term? This blog covers lessons from project leaders in Greece, Portugal and Bulgaria that range from cutting-edge digital mapping to creative ways to nourish soil. Read here.


The pandemic made the vulnerabilities of the industrial food system acutely visible to policy-makers, and highlighted how integral the agricultural industry is to communities around the world. As people lost livelihoods and supermarket shelves emptied of food, local councils swung into action, working closely with the community to support food relief initiatives. These resources spotlight LGIU’s recent work on agriculture, the agricultural industry and the industry’s impact on communities at the local level.

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Uniting local government and farmer voices at COP26

Resilient food systems that address food security, health and sustainability are an essential part of a climate change agenda and local government is at the heart of it.  Nourish Scotland is working with local governments to support sustainable food systems. Read here.

The Impacts of Brexit on Agriculture in the Highlands and Islands

Agriculture is an extremely important industry in rural areas of Scotland. Douglas Irvine, Executive Manager of Economic Development at Shetland Islands Council, blogs about the impact that Brexit will have on this vital industry in the Highlands and Islands. Read here.

Urban agriculture: strengthening the nexus of research, policy and practice

This article explores the expansion of urban agriculture in municipalities and its impact on public health, circular economies, climate change mitigation, food security and community wellbeing. It also explores food systems transformation at the local level. Read here.

Rural communities

Rural communities often face barriers when it comes to accessing necessary goods and services including childcare, housing, and digital connectivity. Cities and urbanised areas larger populations and economic authority is the main contributor for why government focus can often neglect rural areas. However, as the below resources will highlight it is critical that local authorities provide greater attention and support to rural communities as they play an integral role in supporting our wider community through food supply, safe drinking water, wildlife conservation, affordable energy and much more. These LGIU resources showcase how local authorities around the world are working collaboratively with communities and other third-party organisations to improve the quality of life for rural communities.

Rural township in Australia. Credit: Photo by Greg Brave

Supporting rural communities who face a cost of living crisis – a real and urgent problem to solve

The costs of living in rural areas is significantly higher than in urban areas across the whole of the UK. This case study briefing explores how local authorities are working collaboratively with rural communities and other third-party organisations to tackle concerns surrounding quality of life, especially for the most vulnerable. Read here.

Understanding the economic consequences of insufficient housing for workers in rural areas

This briefing draws on the research conducted for Regional Councils Victoria’s Rural Victoria Housing Blueprint to understand the impacts of insufficient housing supply on local economic growth. This is the first in a two-part series that explores the interconnected issues of liveability, population attraction and retention, housing supply, and economic development. Read here.

Global Local: Rural 20-minute neighbourhoods

In this issue of Global Local, we’re examining whether the 20-minute neighbourhood concept can be successfully implemented in more rural settings. Read here

How Clare County Council is building up its rural communities: a case study

Clare County Council has recently launched its renewed Rural Development Strategy – following the success of the original 2017 county-wide strategy. This case study showcases the exciting innovation coming from Ireland’s 2022 Local Authority of the Year and offers several lessons and insights into the area of rural development. Read here.

Calls for a new model for rural childcare to address “childcare deserts”

This briefing explores the recent Loddon Mallee RDA report, titled Creating viable childcare services in rural areas, and focuses on the steps required to create a sustainable model for early-year childcare in rural communities. Read here.

Expanding digital access in rural areas – Digital Donegal

Rural areas often face barriers to accessing today’s digital society. LGIU Ireland hears from Brian Boyle, Head of Information Systems in Donegal County Council, to understand how local governments can provide the UN-recognised right to internet access. Read here.