Local Food Systems and Agricultural Diversification: Opportunities and Obstacles

  • Swanson, Mark (PI)

Grants and Contracts Details


This research will examine the key opportunities for and barriers to the development of a local food system in an economically distressed region of central Appalachia. Using a systems approach, this holistic study will examine all the actors in the local food system, including farmers, consumers, retailers, distributors and restaurants to learn their attitudes about and participation in the local food system. The project uses multiple methods, including qualitative interviews, focus groups, text analysis, GIS mapping and analysis, and a quantitative survey, to consider the entire food system in context. This holistic approach contrasts with most research in the field, which tends to be limited to the study of one type of actor in the system at a time. Project outcomes include a list of the key opportunities for and barriers to a local food system, contributions to the academic literature on food systems, identification of training needs for food system actors, and development of a GIS/Powerpoint presentation to make research findings and local food system issues available to the research communities, as well as to the wider audience of food system activists, community development specialists, and extension agents.
Effective start/end date11/1/0310/31/07


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