Participation and Investment in Local Agriculture: What's in a Community?


  • David V. Fazzino II University of Alaska, Fairbanks
  • Philip A. Loring University of Alaska, Fairbanks
  • Azara Mohammadi University of Alaska, Fairbanks



Community Supported Agriculture, Food Justice, Food Systems, Local Food


This commentary highlights how participation and investment in local food systems vary between differently situated actors in Alaska, with an emphasis on communities in the interior of the state. Our experiences with various food system research projects over the last five years have revealed several exclusionary and inclusionary practices and policies that call into question shared notions of community among local food producers and consumers. We note the different motivations and discourses that producers and consumers construct for themselves and each other regarding their participation in local food movements. Tension and frictions exist in these multilayered foodscapes where cultural values of community, as imagined by both producers and consumers, confront the reality of market interactions. Hence, rather than producing a unified narrative of sustainability that is agreed upon by all members of some imagined community, we suggest that future food system research and development initiatives should be open to how foodscapes will and must remain contested landscapes whose contours are ever shifting. The alternative, we argue, is to perpetuate a façade of food system reform that, while sufficient for some, will remain vulnerable to external criticism by those who continue to promote only large-scale and industrial paradigms.


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Author Biographies

David V. Fazzino II, University of Alaska, Fairbanks

Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Alaska, Fairbanks; P.O. Box 757720; Fairbanks, Alaska 99775 USA; +1-907-474-6188.

Philip A. Loring, University of Alaska, Fairbanks

Water and Environmental Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks; P.O. Box 755910; Fairbanks, Alaska 99775 USA.

Azara Mohammadi, University of Alaska, Fairbanks

Student Assistant, Department of Anthropology, University of Alaska, Fairbanks; P.O. Box 757720; Fairbanks, Alaska 99775 USA; +1-907-474-6188.




How to Cite

Fazzino II, D. V., Loring, P. A., & Mohammadi, A. (2013). Participation and Investment in Local Agriculture: What’s in a Community?. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 3(4), 103–108.

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