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Distributed for University Press of New England

Civic Agriculture

Reconnecting Farm, Food, and Community

While the American agricultural and food systems follow a decades-old path of industrialization and globalization, a counter trend has appeared toward localizing some agricultural and food production. Thomas A. Lyson, a scholar-practitioner in the field of community-based food systems, calls this rebirth of locally based agriculture and food production civic agriculture because these activities are tightly linked to a community’s social and economic development. Civic agriculture embraces innovative ways to produce, process, and distribute food, and it represents a sustainable alternative to the socially, economically, and environmentally destructive practices associated with conventional large-scale agriculture. Farmers’ markets, community gardens, and community-supported agriculture are all forms of civic agriculture. Lyson describes how, in the course of a hundred years, a small-scale, diversified system of farming became an industrialized system of production and also how this industrialized system has gone global. He argues that farming in the United States was modernized by employing the same techniques and strategies that transformed the manufacturing sector from a system of craft production to one of mass production. Viewing agriculture as just another industrial sector led to transformations in both the production and the processing of food. As small farmers and food processors were forced to expand, merge with larger operations, or go out of business, they became increasingly disconnected from the surrounding communities. Lyson enumerates the shortcomings of the current agriculture and food systems as they relate to social, economic, and environmental sustainability. He then introduces the concept of community problem solving and offers empirical evidence and concrete examples to show that a re-localization of the food production system is underway.

160 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2

Biological Sciences: Natural History

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Table of Contents

List of Tables • Acknowledgements - Introduction: Community Agriculture and Local Food Systems • Civic Agriculture • Farming and Food Today • A Place for Civic Agriculture • Plan of the Book - From Subsistence to Production: How American Agriculture Was Made Modern • Agriculture and Rural Life • The Emergence of Modern Economic Forms • Early Agricultural Development • Three Agricultural Revolutions • The Social Construction of Modern Economic Categories • Civic Economy, Economic Embeddedness, and the Informal Economy • The Civic/Embedded Economy in the United Satates - Going Global: The Industrialization and Consolidation of Agriculture and Food Production in the United States • From Craft Production to Mass Production • The Trend toward Concentration and Consolidation • Changing Geography of Production • Distancing: Separating Production and Consumption • Control of Farmland • Labor Intensification • Supply Chains - The Global Supply Chain • The Global Food System • The Jolly Green Giant as a Corporate Migrant • Grocery Wars • Corporate Reach: The Men and Women behind the Food System •Whiter the Poor Customer? - Toward a Civic Agriculture • Moving Toward Civic Agriculture • Theoretical Underpinnings of Civic Agriculture • Walter Goldscmidt’s Landmark Study • Production Districts • Two Models of Agricultural Development • Neoclassical Economics Versus Pragmatism • Production versus Development Frameworks • Experimental Biology versus Ecological Biology • Corporate versus Community Orientation • Corporate Middle Class versus Independent Middle Class • Political Process and Power • Motors for Change • Civic Agriculture and Sustainable Agriculture • Why Didn’t Small Business Flourish? - Civic Agriculture and Community Agricultural Development • Profiling Civic Agriculture • Community-Supported Agriculture • Restaurant Agriculture • Farmers’ Markets • Roadside Stands • Urban Agriculture. City Farming, Community Gardens • Measuring Civic Agriculture - From Commodity Agriculture to Civic Agriculture • Commodity Agriculture • Refashioning Farming to fit the Marketplace • Reconnecting Farm, Food and Community: Tools for Change • Civic Agriculture: Moving from the Marketplace to the Community.

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