Governance and Innovations in Local Food System Development
A Bottom-Up Approach in North Carolina
Governance is a collaborative and systemic approach to governing that fosters innovation and inclusiveness of a broad combination of actors, processes, and instruments (Jordan, Wurzel, & Zito, 2005). It draws from the energy, expertise, and resources of the collaborative to employ more sustainable, bottom-up policy solutions. The growth in popularity of local foods and community-based food systems as a pushback to the globalization of our food industry has given rise to a network of coalitions, institutions, and actors in North Carolina that are engaging in local food system development and governance to create a place-based local food economy in the state. The case reviews the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS), a transdisciplinary, interinstitutional collaboration between the state’s two land-grant institutions, (North Carolina State University and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University), and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences, as an active and prominent stakeholder in the process of local food system governance. The Farm to Fork Initiative, now over 10 years in operation, is reviewed to provide both insight into and reflection of a bottom-up approach to creating a local food economy through governance, innovation, and the implementation of community-based food system initiatives.
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