Experiencing Local

This report discusses the findings of research conducted by ASAP’s Local Food Research Center, which investigated the impact of place-based food and farm experiences on participants in a local food system building effort in Western North Carolina. The research focused on experiences at farmers markets and on farm tours. As organizers deeply involved in this effort, the research was informed by ASAP’s perspective that local food system building can be a catalyst of food system change. The transformative potential of local food lies in its capacity to engage people with food and farming in ways that activate an interest and desire to be active food system participants. Consistent with literature on food democratization, the effort in Western NC is grounded in the idea that expanding participation is vital to creating food systems that align with values and that support the health and wellbeing of the communities and environments in which they are embedded.

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