METRICS FROM THE FIELD: Building a Framework for Sustainable Livelihoods


  • Ken Meter Crossroads Resource Center



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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Author Biography

Ken Meter, Crossroads Resource Center

Ken Meter, president of Crossroads Resource Center, has taught economics at the University of Minnesota and the Harvard Kennedy School. He is one of the most experienced food system analysts in the U.S., having produced 85 regional and state food system assessments in 30 states, focused on geographic farm and food economies. A member of the Alliance for Building Capacity, he is also the author of Hoosier Farmer? Emerging Food Systems in Indiana.
Ken Meter



How to Cite

Meter, K. (2012). METRICS FROM THE FIELD: Building a Framework for Sustainable Livelihoods. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 3(1), 13–15.