METRICS FROM THE FIELD: Allowing Ethnic Heritage To Emerge in Farm and Food Policy
Many people who work at the grassroots building community-based food systems aim to create local food networks that build health, wealth, connection, and capacity (Meter, 2010). This vision implies that stronger cultural connections, including vibrant ethnic identity and heritage, must be among the outcomes of food policy.
Yet our policy discourse frequently suggests that economic efficiency constitutes the primary measure of success. This is clearly a narrow view. As long as one's viewpoint is limited to ways of squeezing production costs to the lowest possible levels, or raising prices as high as the market will bear, the basic humanity of food will dissipate and the transformative potential of local foods will be lost. From a systems perspective, measuring success solely using any one indicator, such as efficiency, amidst a complex and rapidly changing system will distort one's understanding of that system, leading to skewed outcomes....
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