Place-Based Food Systems: Making the Case, Making it Happen
In less than a century, our food system has been transformed into a complex network of global-industrial supply chains, increasingly disconnecting us from the people and processes that provide our food. Such a ‘market-driven’ system externalizes many of its social, environmental, and economic costs. At the same time, it concentrates power and profits among a few stakeholders who maintain hegemonic control of the food systems, yet are often far removed from its negative impacts. The list of transgressions is long and familiar to us: extensive environmental degradation, unjust labor conditions for food workers, the collapse of farming communities, epidemic occurrence of western diet–related disease, biodiversity loss, and on it goes. It is a system that produces more food than at any period in history—more than enough to feed the global population (Holt-Giménez, Shattuck, Altieri, Herren, & Gliessman, 2012, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations [FAO], 2017)—yet leaves more than one in 10 people experiencing hunger (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations [FAO], International Fund for Agriculture Development [IFAD], UNICEF, World Food Programme [WFP], & World Health Organization [WHO], 2019).
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