Planting Seeds for an Improved Agrifood System? Linking the Aims of the Alternative Agrifood Movement to Executive Action in the First Two Years of the Obama Administration
This paper uses several case studies to look at the dialogic relationship between the Obama administration and the alternative agrifood movement. We evaluate the case studies based on criteria developed from the agroecology literature and literature on food security, agrarianism, and the alternative agrifood movement as a whole. Additionally we compare the policy tools utilized and the funding levels of each of the cases. Our findings suggest that the Obama administration is committed to tackling issues of food security and promoting the well-being of small- and mid-scale farmers and their local agrifood economies. Deconsolidation of large agribusiness, equitable trade, and workers' rights do not appear to be high priorities on Obama's food and agriculture agenda, however. Our analysis further indicates that the administration views agriculture and food policy as embedded into a broader socioeconomic and political system. Both the administration and the alternative agrifood movement support the use of capacity-building, symbolic, and incentive tools that emphasize community and individual responsibility. Overall, there is evidence that the alternative agrifood movement and the Obama administration are co-constructing a more community-based food system that simultaneously reflects neoliberal rationale.
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