With funding from a Sustainable Community Innovation Grant (SCIG) from Southern SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education) and the Southern Rural Development Center, we are currently examining the impact of farmer-consumer interactions on production practices. More specifically, we are studying the effect of personal(izing) market relationships on the practices that farmers are using to produce food and on the assumptions and choices of local food consumers. By conducting interviews with farmers and intercept surveys with consumers, we are deepening our understanding of how the movement to localize food systems is contributing (or not) to the development of environmentally sustainable agriculture.
Sustainable Community Innovation Grant from Southern SARE
Growing Local Grant from Southern SARE
With funding from a multi-year Large Systems grant from Southern SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education), this project is looking at how and why local food system development can be a means of creating food system change in Western North Carolina and the Southern Appalachians. The project is guided by a theoretical framework that draws from the idea of food democracy and is conducting long term research with farmers, people that work in the food industry, community decision makers, and ordinary citizens. The project has identified indicators specific to food democratizing efforts, opportunities and barriers to local food from the perspectives of stakeholders operating in different places in the food system, and strategies “successful” farmers use to mitigate risk in local markets and improve farm viability. It has studied the implications of the food dollar for the economic impacts of localizing food systems and the transition from tobacco to food production.
Local Food and Farm Assessments for the 420 Counties of North Carolina
In 2015, ASAP contracted with the Appalachian Regional Commission to conduct food and farm assessments for the 420 counties in the ARC geographic area. The purpose of these assessments was to baseline local food and farm activity within the region. The project identified relevant food system indicators and developed a “snapshot” methodology to provide communities with a starting point for understanding the food system where they live. The project produced county snapshots for all ARC counties with data on production, retail infrastructure, information on health, consumption, and food access, and equity.