The RUAF Foundation

About RUAF

The RUAF Foundation is a global network with member organisations in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and Europe together constituting a leading centre of expertise in the field of (intra- and peri-) Urban Agriculture and City Region Food Strategies. RUAF, operational since 1999, is a not-for-profit organisation registered in the Netherlands.


The RUAF Foundation seeks to contribute to reducing urban poverty, enhancing urban food security, improving urban environmental management and stimulating participatory city governance. RUAF contributes by enhancing the capacities of local authorities and other stakeholders and facilitating the integration of (intra- and peri-) urban agriculture and city-region food measures in the policies and action programmes of local, regional and national governments, civic society organisations and private enterprises, with active involvement of the urban producers and other relevant stakeholders.

Areas of work

At present, the RUAF Foundation is focusing its activities on the following 5 areas of work:

Planning Resilient urban food systems

RUAF assists local and regional governments and other stakeholders in the analysis, planning and development of more resilient city-region food systems by stimulating exchange between cities on this topic; providing guidelines, factsheets and toolkits; and providing staff training and technical assistance in both urban food system assessment and the design and implementation of adequate food policies and programmes, taking a multi-stakeholder and pro-poor approach.

Short food chains and local economy

RUAF enhances the capacities of local support organisations to assist groups of small-scale urban producers and other market actors in the analysis of market demand, in the establishment of direct linkages with potential buyers (e.g., consumers looking for organic food, restaurants, local government food procurement), in the creation of quality labels, and in the establishment and running of small-scale value-adding enterprises and product delivery systems.

Food security and social inclusion of the urban poor

RUAF collaborates with municipalities, NGOs and other actors to realise food projects with urban poor and disadvantaged groups (single women with children, jobless youth, HIV/AIDS-affected households, recent migrants) to enhance their access to nutritious and affordable food and to facilitate social inclusion through home-, school- and community gardens, collective food-buying cooperatives and the use of “low space” technologies (e.g., containers and hanging baskets) in slum areas.

Productive reuse of wastes & wastewater

RUAF facilitates increased reuse of solid and liquid wastes in (intra- and peri-) urban agriculture through conducting applied research, developing safe reuse practices, training staff, assisting in the design of municipal resource recovery strategies and programmes, stimulating innovation in the agriculture-water-energy nexus and documenting best practices and business models that combine productivity with reduced environmental impacts.

Urban agriculture and city adaptation to climate change 

RUAF supports local governments in the integration of urban agriculture and forestry into strategies for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction by training local staff, including food in urban vulnerability assessments and land use planning, and identifying urban agriculture and forestry models with high relevance for climate-change mitigation and adaptation (e.g., productive use of flood zones, agroforestry on landslide-prone slopes, productive rooftop gardens).

Visit to a rooftop farmer, producing gangeer in a hydroponic system

Rooftop Farming in Cairo

In informal settlements of Greater Cairo a rooftop farming project was started in 2014, supported by GIZ. The results were promising, but technical and managerial problems still have to be solved.

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Integrating urban agriculture and forestry into climate change action plans

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