Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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Acknowledgments

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p. xi

This book emerges in large part from the collective work of two related United States Department of Agriculture Multi-State Research Projects: NE-185, Local Food Systems in a Globalizing Environment: Commodities, Communities, and Consumers (1997–2002), and NE-1012, Sustaining Local Food Systems in a Globalizing Environment: Forces, Responses, and Impacts (2002–7). Through these two sequential projects, a shifting assortment of anthropologists, community nutritionists, agricultural economists, political scientists, sociologists, extensionists, and others from across the United States have been...

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Introduction: Practice and Place in Remaking the Food System

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pp. 1-15

We live in a time when food attracts growing scrutiny. Long taken for granted, food now gives many people pause. They ask where it comes from, how it is grown and prepared, and what implications it has for our health and the environment. A dairy cow found to have mad cow disease unleashes...

Part I: What's Wrong with the Food System? Orienting Frameworks for Change

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1. Civic Agriculture and the North American Food System

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pp. 19-32

As agriculture in North America enters the twenty-first century, the economically independent, self-reliant farmer of the last century is rapidly disappearing from the countryside. Farmers, once the centerpiece of the rural economy, often have been reduced to producers of basic commodities for large agribusiness corporations. The real value...

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2. Warrior, Builder, and Weaver Work: Strategies for Changing the Food System

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pp. 33-62

Until recently, analyses of the modern agrifood system have focused more on the dynamics of the prevailing system, particularly the corporate sector, rather than on activities aimed at building alternative agrifood paradigms and initiatives. Researchers have examined the industrialization of agriculture (Welsh 1996), increasing corporate concentration and integration in food transportation...

Part II: Institutions and Practices to Remake the Food System

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3. Farmers’ Markets as Keystones in Rebuilding Local and Regional Food Systems

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pp. 65-83

As the opening bell rings at a farmers’ market, the first customers stream in, buying tomatoes, baked goods, fresh peaches, farmhouse cheeses, and cut flowers from their preferred vendors. Particularly in summer, scenes much like this one occur in small towns and large cities throughout North America. As places...

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4. Practical Research Methods to Enhance Farmers’ Markets

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pp. 84-98

Farmers’ markets play a significant and expanding role in ensuring the viability of small farms and the vitality of towns and communities. They have grown in popularity because they provide communities, producers, and consumers an alternative to a mainstream food distribution system dominated by large-scale firms focused on efficient buying and selling within the global marketplace. Yet...

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5. Community Supported Agriculture as an Agent of Change: Is it Working?

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pp. 99-120

Increased recognition of the negative impacts of global-level economic restructuring on social welfare and the environment has prompted social theorists and activists to look for alternatives at a grassroots level. Within this context community supported agriculture (CSA), in which consumers form direct connections with local farmers to obtain their food, has been proposed as a strategy for revitalizing local agricultural economies, preserving farmland, enhancing...

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6. Food Policy Councils: Past, Present, and Future

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pp. 121-143

State or provincial and local policies greatly influence the sustainability of food systems. For example, land use and transportation decisions affect farm viability and food access; education and public health programs influence the ability of citizens to effectively participate in the food system; institutional purchases...

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7. The “Red Label” Poultry System in France: Lessons for Renewing an Agriculture-of-the-Middle in the United States

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pp. 144-162

In recent decades the United States agrifood system has become increasingly dualistic. On the one hand, in many regions small-scale farming and food enterprises have successfully defined niches and developed direct marketing relationships that allow them to thrive and increase in numbers. This trend...

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8. Eating Right Here: The Role of Dietary Guidance in Remaking Community-based Food Systems

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pp. 163-182

Many forces shape the food system and not the least is what every one of us chooses for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, day after day. Most people are concerned to some extent with eating right, that is, choosing foods that are healthful and that together form a diet that reduces one’s risk of chronic disease such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Fewer...

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9. Community-Initiated Dialogue: Strengthening the Community through the Local Food System

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pp. 183-198

Complex, crosscutting issues affect local food systems. They include urban sprawl, rural ambiance, growth management, open-space preservation, and local agriculture’s economic vitality. Another issue is hunger, which may involve food security, food access, the existence of food deserts, local food self-sufficiency, and...

Part III: The Importance of Place and Region in Remaking the Food System

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10. Retail Concentration, Food Deserts, and Food-Disadvantaged Communities in Rural America

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pp. 201-215

For many residents of the United States purchasing groceries is a minor inconvenience rather than a major obstacle. In 1995 a standard shopping trip for the average U.S. family involved a six-mile drive lasting no more than 12.5 minutes (U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration 2001). For some Americans, however...

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11. Localization in a Global Context: Invigorating Local Communities in Michigan through the Food System

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pp. 216-234

It would not be unreasonable for United States residents to ask themselves the question: what type of food system do I want? How about a food system in which we know where a significant percentage of our food comes from? How about one in which...

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12. Assessing the Significance of Direct Farmer-Consumer Linkages as a Change Strategy in Washington State: Civic or Opportunistic?

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pp. 235-259

Washington State leaders commonly portray the state’s agricultural industry as a sophisticated player in national and international markets. The Washington Wheat Commission heralds the fact that 85 percent of the wheat produced in the state is exported, primarily to Asian Pacific Rim Countries. The Washington Apple Commission proudly proclaims...

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13. Emerging Farmers’ Markets and the Globalization of Food Retailing: A Perspective from Puerto Rico

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pp. 260-276

The globalization of food retailing has enormous consequences for farmers, food processors, regional grocery chains, and other actors in the food system. A 2001 report to the National Farmers Union by Hendrickson and colleagues describes the fast pace of food retail consolidation in recent years (led by Wal-Mart) and discusses...

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14. The Lamb That Roared: Origin-Labeled Products as Place-Making Strategy in Charlevoix, Quebec

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pp. 277-297

Driving north along the St. Lawrence River from Quebec City to their rural village in the spring of 1994 (see map 3), four members of the Agro-tourism Roundtable of Charlevoix (Table Agro-Touristique de Charlevoix) excitedly discussed the interview that had just taken place with the French consul. He had listened to them quietly...

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15. Be Careful What You Wish For: Democratic Challenges and Political Opportunities for the Michigan Organic Community

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pp. 298-314

Early in January 2003 a meeting took place between members of Michigan’s organic food and farming community and selected Michigan State University (msu) faculty and administrators, the vast majority of whom came from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. This meeting was the second in what was expected to be an ongoing dialogue between proponents of organic agriculture and scientists, educators, and extension specialists. The three-hour meeting...

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16. The Social Foundation of Sustainable Agriculture in Southeastern Vermont

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pp. 315-331

An increasing awareness of industrial agriculture’s negative impact on human health, the environment, and rural communities has prompted many to call for an alternative system of agriculture, one that is sustainable. However, the development of such an agriculture entails more than just perfecting an alternative set of growing techniques. If industrial techniques of production have...

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17. Community Food Projects and Food System Sustainability

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pp. 332-344

Former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neil is credited with saying, “All politics is local,” by which he meant that public decisions are influenced by situations that affect citizens in the communities in which they reside, raise their families, and earn their livelihoods. When the United State...

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Conclusion: A Full Plate: Challenges and Opportunities in Remaking the Food System

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pp. 345-356

Efforts to remake the North American food system have become more widespread and diversified through the 1990s and early 2000s. As observers, analysts, and participants, we recognize the growing hum of initiatives by farmers, educators, activists, researchers, and citizens who are now inspired and concerned enough to work on redirecting particular components of the food system toward greater sustainability. Harmonies certainly...

Contributors

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pp. 357-362

Index

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pp. 363-372