Building sustainable regional food systems

Policies and support

Authored by: Kathleen Kevany , Maya Fromstein

The Routledge handbook of comparative rural policy

Print publication date:  November  2019
Online publication date:  October  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138594111
eBook ISBN: 9780429489075
Adobe ISBN:


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Sustainable regional food systems hold the potential to increase food security and accessibility, sovereignty and prosperity. Debates are increasing on the impacts of the integrated, industrialized global food system. In the global context of industrial agriculture some rural areas may benefit from large-scale production while many regions may be compromised in the quest for higher yields and higher profits from highly mechanized and intensive agriculture. Urban as well as rural settings are contending with the combination of food production challenges fueled by climate crisis, financial crisis, and energy crisis. Business as usual is no longer justifiable. To achieve greater sustainability involves consideration of global pressures combined with local, regional, as well as national priorities, principles, and practices. This chapter provides a definition of sustainable regional food systems along with a discussion of the various elements involved. Based on progress being witnessed in more sustainable regional food systems, recommendations are provided to inform food policies and supports. The insights uncovered prompt the promotion of food system regionalization to increase regional food sovereignty, foster economic prosperity, support environmental sustainability, and foster rural well-being as well as greater social equity.

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