Innovative Governance


The spotlight, Innovative Governance, is where our 10 Beacons had diverging interests. Primarily, we focused on innovative governance’s spatial integration and territorial aspects. In particular, from the COACH perspective, the question arose of how new forms of governance could help collaboration on the territorial level. Those territorial approaches improve transparency in food chains/networks, leading to greater consumer trust and agency and enhancing market access for producers. Recently many overlapping concepts have been introduced in the academic literature to track this spatial integration and shed light on varied aspects of the territorial arrangements, such as foodsheds, bioregions, or city region food systems. Several governance tools and policy instruments can initiate the change in the territorial level of the food systems: urban agriculture, preservation of agricultural lands, and food self-provisioning. Our spotlight resource group encounters also revealed that such territorial developments are dependent on inclusive organisational structures. More recently, the UN FSS defined the territorial approach as the highest (horizontal) priority across the five action tracks (1. Ensuring access to safe and nutritious food, 2. Shifting to sustainable consumption patterns, 3. Boosting nature-positive production, 4. Advancing equitable livelihoods, and 5. Building resilience). It also stated the essential role of the territorial approach to sustainable food systems (UN FSS, 2021).

Governance is always considered a Janus-faced phenomenon: an internal process of decision-making and participation on the territorial level and an external activity to engage with other actors at the territorial level. This section presents what creates a favourable and hindering environment for the ten initiatives/Beacons below. How do decision-making structures help collaboration to flourish? What is the role of various actors (activists, academics, citizens, social entrepreneurs, governments, private sector)? In what way, innovative governance has challenged, altered, or replaced the dominant institutions?

TERRITORIAL GOVERNANCE – As a policy concept, the EC promotes the territorial governance approach as the basis of European Regional Policy (e.g., Smart Specialisation Strategies) (Moodie et al. 2021, Stead 2013). In this policy sense, it is the mobilisation of regional actors (and their groups) and the integration of indigenous knowledge into policymaking processes that entail bottom-up policymaking. Such collaboration on the territorial level could bring improved transparency in food provisioning, trigger greater consumer trust, better food literacy, foster food citizenship, and create better, more localised market opportunities and overall resilience for producers.

Source 1: Moodie et al. (2021). Territorial governance and Smart Specialisation: empowering the sub-national level in EU regional policy. Territory, Politics, Governance, 1–21.
Source 2: Stead D. (2013). Dimensions of territorial governance, Planning Theory & Practice, 14:1, 142-147.

Beacons’ experiences



The City of Stavanger


Unicorn Grocery

Pipers Farm

Tamar Grow Local


De Hongerige Stad

Granennetwer Pajottenland


Ernährungsrat Wien





Dela ferme au quartier


Bizkaigane Elkartea




Pereta Cooperative