Handbook on the Globalisation of Agriculture
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Handbook on the Globalisation of Agriculture

Edited by Guy M. Robinson and Doris A. Carson

This Handbook provides insights to the ways in which globalisation is affecting the whole agri-food system from farms to the consumer. It covers themes including the physical basis of agriculture, the influence of trade policies, the nature of globalised agriculture, and resistance to globalisation in the form of attempts to foster greater sustainability and multifunctional agricultural systems. Drawing upon studies from around the world, the Handbook will appeal to a broad and varied readership, across academics, students, and policy-makers interested in economics, trade, geography, sociology and political science.
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Chapter 22: Building sustainable communities through alternative food systems

Alison Blay-Palmer and Irena Knezevic


Food provides a meaningful lens to create and build more sustainable communities. Given the challenges currently facing humanity it offers a shared basis for transformation. It can act as a platform for social equity, personal well-being, ecological resilience and robust economies. Through food, we have the capacity to tackle climate change, water quality and quantity degradation, the global diabetes crisis, and gross social inequity. While acknowledging that each community food system is as unique as the space/place where it emerges, there are some factors that seem to increase levels of sustainability. The proposed chapter will extend earlier theoretical work on sustainable food systems and assess existing frameworks in light of empirical work through a selection of case studies in Ontario, Canada. These case studies are grounded in work from six universities and represent a scan of over 200 projects in the province. Each case study will be assessed through the lens of complex adaptive systems theory with a view to understanding more about the role of the principles derived from chaos and complexity theory including diversity, connectivity, self-organization, nested hierarchies and iterative feedback loops.

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