David versus Goliath in the Food Policy Space
AbstractIn the food studies field, it is uncommon to encounter a local food/alternative food movement practitioner who is also an academic. Alan R. Hunt is one of these rare birds. He runs a consultancy business, Local Food Strategies, working from his parents’ farm in Hampton, New Jersey, after completing a Ph.D. in rural development in northern England in 2013. Hunt’s interest in how producers and consumers could breathe new life into local food systems was piqued by his experience of trying to preserve the family property as a sustainable, working farm in the face of political and economic pressures, such as the U.S. farm bill and urban encroachment on peri-urban land. The farmer in Hunt is acutely aware of the unintended consequences of ostensibly well-meaning laws and wondered what difference it could make if stewards of the land were tapped for their unique, local knowledge. His research question in Civic Engagement in Food Systems Governance was: “How have stakeholders been included in the policy process, and has the policy process responded to their interests and concerns?” (p. xiii, emphasis in original). These are the crucially important questions that Hunt explores in his comparison of local food advocacy organizations in Britain and the United States.
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