Focus and Scope

The Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development (JAFSCD) is the world's only peer-reviewed, transdisciplinary journal focused solely on food and farming-related community development. JAFSCD uses a double-blind peer review process, with expert reviewers who include researchers, scholars, and food systems professionals in the field. 

JAFSCD emphasizes best practices and tools related to the planning, community economic development, and ecological protection of local and regional agriculture and food systems, and works to bridge the interests of practitioners and academics. Articles are immediately published online as they are accepted, but are aggregated into quarterly issues for indexing purposes. JAFSCD is an online-only journal; subscribers access the content online and may download or print any articles.

As the journal focuses on the practice of agriculture and food system development, empirical and methodological content are emphasized over the theoretical. Applied research-based papers, case studies, project post-mortems, effective strategies, impact analyses, new possibilities (problems-solving, opportunity-taking and the like) are examples of what professionals in government, the nonprofit sector, and private practice find helpful in their work.

Open Access and JAFSCD as a Community-Supported Journal

As of January 1, 2018, JAFSCD is open access! We are funding our work using an innovative model borrowed from the food system, becoming the world's first community-supported journal. See the list of JAFSCD's Library and Agency Shareholders and University and College Program and Nonprofit Shareholders. We welcome your institution's support—learn how at our publisher's website. Authors at shareholding institutions have the US$500 APC waived (see below).

We are indexed in databases from CABI, EBSCOhost, ProQuest, Web of Science, the U.S. National Agriculture Library's AGRICOLA database, and CNKI (one of China's largest A&I databases—forthcoming). See the current list.

Related Fields

Agriculture and food systems–based community development has several kindred fields:

  1. Sustainable development is development that "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" (United Nations, World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987).
  2. Community Economic Development (CED) is "action taken locally by a community to provide economic opportunities and improve social conditions in a sustainable way. Often CED initiatives aim to improve the lot of those who are disadvantaged. An aspect of 'localizing economics,' CED is a community-centered process that blends social and economic development to foster the economic, social, ecological and cultural well-being of communities" (Wikipedia).
  3. Food Policy is the "area of public policy concerning the production and distribution of food. It consists of the setting of goals for food production, processing, marketing, availability, access, utilization and consumption, as well as the processes for achieving these goals. The policy may be set on any level from local to global. Food policy comprises the mechanisms by which food-related matters are addressed or administered by governments, by international bodies or networks, or by any public institution or private organization. As a subfield of public policy, food policy covers the entire food chain, from natural resources to production, processing, marketing and retailing, as well as food hygiene, consumption and nutrition" (Wikipedia).

Publication Frequency

Articles are published online as they are approved and formatted, and are gathered into quarterly issues for indexing purposes. Occasional supplements are published in addition to the quarterly issues.

Open Access Policy

JAFSCD content is published as open access—available to all, worldwide, without charge to the user or their institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author. This is in accordance with the BOAI definition of open access. All content is copyrighted by the authors and can be cited or reused with proper attribution through the CC BY 4.0 license.

We are able to do this through an innovative funding model: a community-supported journal. JAFSCD shareholders support the journal with annual shares that show their commitment to broad distribution of JAFSCD's research.

Plagiarism Statement

JAFSCD actively checks submissions for instances of plagiarism using Microsoft Word and online plagiarism-checking software. A good overview of plagiarism and practices to avoid it can be found at the APA Style Blog.


JAFSCD is funded in part by the following partners. These leading North American university programs focused on food systems pay an annual sponsorship fee in support of JAFSCD's open access publication of high-quality, transdisciplinary research.

Sources of Support

Many entities are supporting JAFSCD as the world's first community-supported journal by becoming shareholders and joining the JAFSCD Shareholder Consortium. Libraries are also continuing to support JAFSCD by becoming Library Shareholders.

Journal History

JAFSCD was founded by New Leaf Associates, Inc., a social enterprise owned by Amy Christian and Duncan Hilchey. In an online market survey conducted by New Leaf Associates in the summer of 2009 regarding the proposed new journal, the over 1,200 respondents strongly endorsed the proposed concept of an applied journal with a focus on the interests of practitioners, farmers, students, and applied researchers, both in the U.S. and abroad. By practitioners we mean the staff of nonprofit organizations, government agencies, educational institutions, consultants, and others who are on the frontier of agriculture and food systems development.

The respondents reported a wide range of interests across the entire spectrum of the food system. However, given the pre-existence of both academic and applied journals in sustainable agriculture, nutrition and food security, we are intentionally narrowing the focus of the journal to the core of activities in the food system where producers and consumers share keen interests. 

In 2013, JAFSCD became a publication of the Lyson Center for Civic Agriculture, a project of the Center for Transformative Action, a nonprofit affiliated with Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Founders Amy Christian and Duncan Hilchey still edit and manage the journal, which also has 4 regular columnists, 25 advisors, and over 150 reviewers around the world. We appreciate the support of these volunteers and supporters.

On January 1, 2018, JAFSCD transitioned to become an open access journal, freely available to all. We based our open access model on something familiar to those involved with food systems — community supported agriculture — to become the world's first community-supported journal.

Ongoing funding to support open access comes from organizations that purchase annual open access shares to become shareholders; our four founding partners; and continuing support from libraries as library shareholders.