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School of Environment and Natural Resources


Social Sustainability in the Food System: Examining Innovative Local Government Plans

Apr 6, 2016, 9:00am - 10:00am
460 Kottman Hall

Rachel Metzler will present her honors presentation on Wednesday (4/6) from 9-11AM in 460 Kottman Hall. Her presentation is Social Sustainability in the Food System: Examining Innovative Local Government Plans.
Faculty Advisor:  Jeff Sharp
Research Advisor:  Jill Clark

Description of research: Over fourteen percent of households in the United States (US) are food insecure (USDA, 2013). At the same time, small and midsize farmers have been under pressure for the past 40 years from an economic and political system that champions and rewards large-scale commodity production (USDA, 2012). Communities, including local government actors, across the country are acting to build food systems that address these issues. These actions, which are one focus within the broader alternative agrifood movements (AAMs), are largely based upon the ideal of creating a just and sustainable food system (Constance, et. al, 2014). However, the incorporation of social sustainability into local government’s framing and action on food systems has been relatively unexplored. The purpose of this research is to develop an understanding of how leading local governments are utilizing social sustainability within food systems planning. This work expands indicators of  social sustainability put forth by McKenzie (2004) to develop a framework to examine local government practice. Utilizing a qualitative content analysis, this framework is applied to four local governments’ planning documents that have been recognized as innovative by experts in the field.