Toward Alternative Food Systems Development: Exploring Limitations and Research Opportunities
Keywords:Alternative Food Systems, Farm Labor, Food Security, Food Skills, Local Foods, Producer-Consumer Relationships, Scale, Traditional Foods
AbstractIn recent years, interest in alternative food systems (AFS) has grown both in the popular imagination and in the academic literature. The literature is rife with justifications (or hopes) for the continued and necessary expansion of AFS in the face of unsustainable conventional food provisioning. Within the next five years it will be important to determine how to make alternatives more stable in order for them to play a more prominent role in battling the food insecurity and other social and economic challenges equated with agro-industrial foods. The goal of this commentary is to demonstrate some highly context-specific challenges and possible research trajectories in both the global South and the global North. We argue that in the global South more robust data collection can strengthen local food systems and traditional foods research, while in the global North, food skills and food literacy research may be important for scaling up and making alternative food systems more stable without compromising important social and economic ideals.
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