Informational and Structural Changes for a Sustainable Food System
FROM FARM-TO-FORK (Akron Press 2016)
Posted: 16 Sep 2018
Date Written: July 31, 2018
The relationships between food systems, law, and the environment are strong. The ecological costs of modern industrial and large-scale food production are driven by greenhouse gas emissions, fertilizers and pesticides, and food miles, as well as agricultural law. Food choices contribute to the climate crisis, cause species loss, impair water and air quality, and accelerate land use degradation. This chapter considers legal, theoretical, and practical steps to a more sustainable food model. Part I discusses the underlying reasons for problems in the current food system, including those manifested in law, and the perceived benefits of creating a new agricultural paradigm. Part II discusses the major agricultural and food programs that have become more common in shaping a different food system model, specifically focusing on direct marketing (for example, farmers’ markets and community-supported agriculture) and the organic movement as it relates to small farmers. Part III argues that in order to change modern American food consumption, two changes must take place — increased awareness and increased availability. This chapter reiterates the need to increase the amount of information available to consumers and the consequences of food choices. It further argues that structural changes in the food system are necessary to increase access to sustainable foods by building on current efforts to increase direct marketing by farmers and the number of farmers that are certified, creating better food system planning through state food policy councils and municipal planners, building on existing interests in intrastate and regional efforts supporting local food and local economies, and improving management of existing alternative agricultural distribution and production systems.
Keywords: Sustainability, Sustainable Food Systems, Structural Changes, Informational Changes, Environmental Impact, Industrial Food Model, Direct Markets, USDA, Food Policy, Modern Food System
JEL Classification: K1, K11, K39, L60, Q10, Q12, Q14, Q18, Q19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation