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Special Collection

Feeding cities in history – the rural geography of urban food security in Europe

Annika Björklund, Guest Editor     Mats Berglund, Guest Editor    
Collection launched: 24 Aug 2016
Historical urban research has pointed out a considerable rurality – including cultivation of arable fields and vegetable gardens, as well as livestock keeping – in and near historical towns and cities worldwide. These circumstances have been shown particularly clear concerning small towns, as early-modern towns had access to agricultural land in their vicinity, or controlled hamlets in their surroundings in many parts of Europe. Research on this topic has this far been conducted mainly at national levels, sometimes published in national languages, which makes international comparisons and more general conclusions challenging. With this special issue we address this shortcoming by presenting a selection of case studies to better understand the management, roles and functions of urban food producing landscapes historically. Urban food markets were linked, not only to rural hinterland but also to urban cultivation. Also in times of crises, food security was managed locally by the towns.