METRICS FROM THE FIELD: Building a Framework for Sustainable Livelihoods
Keywords:Food Systems, Sustainability, Policy Analysis
First paragraphs:Local food networks in North America operate in relatively wealthy societies, yet they hold many concerns that are shared by communities in places such as those featured in this issue of the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. What could we learn from each other?
When I studied the food systems of Ohio and Indiana, I found that those who were most adept at transforming these food systems had common formative experiences: they had worked for a significant block of time in a so-called "developing" nation. At core, these leaders emphasized patience and inclusive processes. They understood that they were working outside the mainstream paradigm and could not count on significant support to achieve long-term visions. Having worked in settings where resources were limited, they knew how to make significant progress while spending little.
Any region of the globe that strives to feed itself struggles with the same pressures. Each accomplishes great feats simply to survive amidst a political and economic climate that is dedicated to extracting resources from their communities. Each strives for more diverse options than an export-focused, commodity approach to agriculture, and each works to transcend a monocultural vision of life. Each asserts that local resources should be devoted to feeding local people first. Each works consciously to build social connectivity, and often has done so for decades....
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