In This Issue: Working on Wicked Problems in Food Systems


  • Duncan Hilchey Lyson Center for Civic Agriculture and Food Systems



Editorial, Value Chains, Supply Chains


Full text of this issue's editorial:

Quite by happenstance, the challenges, barriers, and limitations of local/regional food initiatives emerged as a thematic thread in this final issue of 2015. But we're not ending the year on a negative note since, while our authors in this issue do present us with a number of wicked problems, their applied research also sheds light on opportunities, alternatives, new strategies, policies, and research to address them. This positive practicality undergirds our mission with the Lyson Center for Civic Agriculture and Food Systems, and we are pleased that so many applied scholars are taking these issues head-on. Solutions, we hope, will come in time.

We start this jam-packed open-call issue with John Ikerd's "The Economic Pamphleteer" column in which he proposes a definition of a Food Ethic that complements Aldo Leopold's Land Ethic. As a seminal and influential concept, this piece should be distributed far and wide—so feel free to share it with your networks! By the way, in the coming year we will be publishing a collection of five years of the "Economic Pamphleteer," which promises to make great reading for students, food policy councils, food bloggers, and others.

Next is a viewpoint paper entitled Local Food, Food Democracy, and Food Hubs by Allison Perrett and Charlie Jackson. They argue that food hubs may not, in and of themselves, challenge the fundamental status quo established by mainstream food supply chains.

In a paper published under JAFSCD Open Choice, The Unattainable Trifecta of Urban Agriculture, Sarita Daftary-Steel, Hank Herrera, and Christine Porter reflect on the limitation of UA to provide good food, job training, and income to communities without outside funding. This paper is freely available thanks to the authors.

The cover image for this issue was supplied by author Jennifer Blecha, who in her paper Regulating Backyard Slaughter: Strategies and Gaps in Municipal Livestock Ordinances identifies five approaches to governing the increasingly contested issue of backyard slaughter. The photo was taken by Jennifer’s colleague Stephanie Carnow; we appreciate her allowing us to use it.

Snehalatha Gantla and Larry Lev follow with Farmers' Market or Farmers Market? Examining How Market Ownership Influences Conduct and Performance, in which they reveal how three types of ownership influence market goals and mission, general operations, and performance outcomes.

In Rural School Food Service Director Perceptions on Voluntary School Meal Reforms, Natoshia Askelson, Disa Lubker Cornish, and Elizabeth Golembiewski find common challenges among rural school districts in implementing farm-to-school and school garden programs were a very small staff, lack of concrete knowledge about how these programs work, and lack of access to local producers and chefs.

Similarly Mahbubur Meenar highlights the significant challenges related to administration, budget, collaboration, longevity, financial return, spatial mismatch, and community engagement that NGOs experience in community capacity-building in Nonprofit-Driven Community Capacity-Building Efforts in Community Food Systems.

In Bioplastics: Acceptable for the Packaging of Organic Food? A Policy Analysis, Ching-Hua Yeh, Friedrich-Karl Lücke, and Johann Janssen argue that more attention needs to be paid to bioplastics as packaging for organic food as part of a sustainable food supply chain.

Next, Alicia Hullinger and Keiko Tanaka examine how a state branding campaign can support mainstream farmers in Agriculture of the Middle Participation in State Branding Campaigns: The Case of Kentucky.

In Associations Between Farmers Market Managers' Motivations and Market-Level Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Electronic Benefit Transfer (SNAP/EBT) Availability and Business Vitality, Rachel Ward, Deborah Slawson, Qiang Wu, and Stephanie Jilcott Pitts find that nutrition and business are not mutually exclusive interests at farmers' markets.

Maximize Impact, Minimize Resources: Locating Food Deserts and Increasing SNAP Spending on Fruits and Vegetables by Kelly Moore, Bruce Waite, David Dinkins, Marilyn Swisher, Alia Delong, and Tracy Johns presents a case study of a new approach they have developed for doing rapid food insecurity assessments.

Allie Perline, Annie Heuscher, Annie Sondag, and Blakely Brown identify key opportunities and challenges for hospitals to using locally sourced foods as reported by local producers and hospital staff in Perceptions of Local Hospitals and Food Producers on Opportunities for and Barriers to Implementing Farm-to-Hospital.

Whether aquaponic gardening and fish farming can contribute to food security is the key question addressed in Production and Consumption of Homegrown Produce and Fish by Noncommercial Aquaponics Gardeners by David Love, Laura Genello, Ximin Li, Richard Thompson, and Jillian Fry.

In Assessing the Potential for Pocket Agriculture in Mountainous Regions: A Case Study in West Kootenay, British Columbia, Canada, Rachael Roussin, Julie Wilson, Gregory Utzig, and Les Lavkulich suggest that climate change may increase the capacity of underutilized montane lands to produce food in isolated rural areas.

Julius Okello, Margaret Hutchinson, Agnes Mwang'ombe, Jane Ambuko, Florence Olubayo, and Martin Mwakangalu use a willingness-to-pay model to explore the viability of adding value to traditional crops in Consumer Demand for Value-added Products of African Indigenous Vegetables in Coastal Kenya: The Case of Sun-dried and Frozen Cowpea Leaves.

Finally, we offer a number of book reviews. Matthew Mars reviews the New Bread Basket: How the New Crop of Grain Growers, Plant Breeders, Millers, Maltsters, Bakers, Brewers, and Local Food Activists Are Redefining Our Daily Loaf, by Amy Halloran. Molly Anderson reviews Food Security Governance: Empowering Communities and Regulating Corporations, by Nora McKeon. Angela Glore reviews the Growing Local film series, "Pig not Pork," "Seeding a Dream," and "Changing Hands." And Julia Russell Jozkow reviews Lentil Underground: Renegade Farmers and the Future of Food in America, by Liz Carlisle.

The Lyson Center for Civic Agriculture and Food Systems (, publisher of JAFSCD, wishes you happy holidays in 2015 and peace and abundance in 2016.


Publisher and Editor in Chief


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Author Biography

Duncan Hilchey, Lyson Center for Civic Agriculture and Food Systems

Publisher and editor in chief of JAFSCD.



How to Cite

Hilchey, D. (2015). In This Issue: Working on Wicked Problems in Food Systems. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 6(1), 1–2.

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