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Sustaining Local Food Systems in a Globalizing Environment: Forces, Responses, Impacts

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Title: Sustaining Local Food Systems in a Globalizing Environment: Forces, Responses, Impacts


1
Sustaining Local Food Systems in a Globalizing
Environment Forces, Responses, Impacts
  • A presentation on USDA
  • Multi-State Research Project
  • NE-1012
  • 16 May 2005
  • St. Louis, Missouri

2
Background
  • Unfinished NE-185 business
  • Evolving issues, continued interest
  • NE-1012 proposed as next generation project
  • USDA authorizes project Oct. 2002-Sept. 2007

3
Growing media attention to local food systems
  • In our familys garden, each year weve grown
    more of what weve eaten and have looked for the
    rest at farmers markets. Its a useful exercise
    to sit down to a meal and take inventory, asking
    how each item came to us Who worked where, for
    poor wages or with toxic pesticides? What forests
    were cleared or creatures driven into extinction
    for anothers unthinking consumption? It gives
    me a sense of security and humility to forgo
    those costs in favor of whats closer at hand.
  • Barbara Kingsolver, Local Foods that Please the
    Soul, The New York Times, 2001

4
Core questions of project
  • Given strong trends toward industrialization and
    globalization, how do sustainable, local food
    systems emerge and endure in different places?
  • What are the key challenges, the diverse
    community responses and the social, economic and
    environmental impacts of those responses?

5
Project context and priorities
  • Multi-institutional
  • Multi-disciplinary
  • Academic-practitioner dialogue and collaboration
  • Conceptual rigor and creativity
  • Applied and policy relevance

6
Objective 1
  • Collaborate with local food system stakeholders
    and food citizens to identify high priority
    information needs and the form in which
    information should be shared.

7
Farm Fresh Atlas in Dane County, Wisconsin
  • Lists 100 sustainable farms and food businesses
    in 10 county region
  • Now in 4th year
  • NGO partners, citizen feedback

8
Iowa Community Food System Atlas Project
  • Inventory and analysis of conventional and
    alternative food system in 4 rural counties
  • Learning circles with county stakeholders

9
Missouri Regional Cuisines Project
  • Ecological region identification and label of
    origin development
  • Diverse business agency participants in pilot
    region
  • Diverse state-level partners

10
Objective 2
  • Identify and analyze ongoing and potential forces
    that are maintaining and transforming
    relationships between localities and their food
    systems.

11
Historical and structural trends
  • Trends and shifts, such as….
  • Changing transportation technologies
  • Urban sprawl
  • Demographic shifts
  • Changing gender roles
  • Rising cost of health care
  • Retail concentration

12
Events and turning points…
  • Factory closing or opening
  • Extreme weather (flood or drought)
  • War
  • Change in local leadership

13
Federal, state, local policies
  • Federal commodity subsidy payments
  • New environmental regulations
  • HACCP (food safety) regulations
  • Farmland protection programs
  • Labor legislation

14
Objective 3
  • Examine the diverse strategies local food system
    stakeholders and food citizens are currently
    using or might use to create and manage ongoing
    or potential change in the food system.

15
Case studies of alternative food system
initiatives
  • How begun?
  • What vision and goals?
  • Resources and constraints?
  • Market and non-market connections?
  • Geographic scale?

16
Enhancing farmers markets
  • Participatory farmers market assessments Oregon
    and West Virginia
  • Farmers market vendor and manager surveys
    Michigan, Iowa, California, New York

17
Farm-to-School Projects
  • Constraints and concerns of school food service
    managers NY
  • School salad bars affect (local) fruit
    vegetable consumption CA

18
Buy Fresh-Buy Local Campaigns
19
Objective 4
  • Document and assess key economic, environmental
    and social impacts of current or potential
    efforts to create and manage change in the food
    system.

20
The challenge of identifying and measuring
outcomes
  • Going beyond pretty pictures and happy stories
  • Finding common metrics
  • Yet respecting regional differences

21
Sustaining economically…
  • Jobs created
  • Quality of jobs created (wages, benefits)
  • Reduced social inequality and social exclusion

22
Sustaining landscapes…
  • Preservation of farmland
  • Increase of wild and agro- biodiversity
  • Enhanced soil and water resources

23
Building community…
  • Increased public awareness knowledge about food
    system
  • Greater citizen participation in agricultural and
    food issues
  • Enhanced cultures of personal and community
    health

24
Forthcoming book collecting the work of NE-1012
participants
  • Remaking the North American Food System, edited
    volume, University of Nebraska Press.

25
Photo Credit USDA NRCS
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