Local food systems are increasingly receiving political support across the globe. As part of this trend, food policy councils (FPCs) are generally considered to be ideal governance platforms in the transition to just, sustainable and democratic localized food systems. However, insight into the governance processes to transform local food systems is lacking. This article analyzes the politics of localizing food systems at play in the FPCs of Ghent (Belgium) and Philadelphia (Pennsylvania, USA). The focus is on the development of urban agriculture in both cities, and includes an analysis of the politics of scale through three scalar practices of scale framing, scale negotiating, and scale matching. This analysis reveals that differences in the way in which the politics of scale are played out in both FPCs resulted in the creation of different opportunities and constraints for urban agri-culture development. The article shows that attention for politics of scale in FPCs can help identify dynamics of socio-political inclusion and exclusion and power struggles in the governance of urban agriculture. The article formulates two governance principles: understanding local food systems as multi-scalar issues, and the explicit adoption of procedural justice as a core objective in governance processes.