Hungry Cities Partnership

Document Type

Hungry Cities Report

Publication Date



Balsillie School of International Affairs


This report aims to shed further light on the food system of Mexico City’s Metropolitan Zone (referred to in this report as “the ZMCM”). The report is part of a research program on food security in cities of the Global South within the Hungry Cities Partnership (HCP) and builds on earlier HCP publications including The Urban Food System of Mexico City, Mexico (Capron et al 2017), The State of Household Food Security in Mexico City, Mexico (Capron et al 2018), and Urban Food Deserts in Nairobi and Mexico City (Wagner et al 2019). It also contributes to the comparative analysis of food security and food systems in the seven cities under study as part of the HCP. The other cities are Maputo, Mozambique; Kingston, Jamaica; Nairobi, Kenya; Cape Town, South Africa; Bangalore, India; and Nanjing, China.

Small-scale street commerce has spread throughout the ZMCM in recent decades. Street food stalls can be found at strategic points of constant foot traffic including in and around some of the city’s new inter-modal transit stations. Food vendors work at thousands of street corners and busy intersections across the city, or sell to car drivers as they wait at traffic lights or are stalled in the city’s notorious traffic jams. Informal vendors can also be found at bus and minibus stations, on pavement benches, outside hospitals, schools, markets, churches, and close to employment sites. While food sold by informal vendors often lacks minimum standards of hygiene and freshness and is therefore considered unhealthy, it is still consumed by clerical workers and other low-income residents. In mixed-use residential areas, a network of mobile food vendors on bicycles serve those working in low-wage jobs in construction, valet parking services, and private security for restaurants and bars. Also, on weekends, fresh produce is sold directly by producers from the back of their trucks to local residents in many different neighbourhoods.