Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 33–42 | Cite as

Coming in to the foodshed

  • Jack KloppenburgJr.
  • John Hendrickson
  • G. W. Stevenson


Bioregionalists have championed the utility of the concept of the watershed as an organizing framework for thought and action directed to understanding and implementing appropriate and respectful human interaction with particular pieces of land. In a creative analogue to the watershed, permaculturist Arthur Getz has recently introduced the term “foodshed” to facilitate critical thought about where our food is coming from and how it is getting to us. We find the “foodshed” to be a particularly rich and evocative metaphor; but it is much more than metaphor. Like its analogue the watershed, the foodshed can serve us as a conceptual and methodological unit of analysis that provides a frame for action as well as thought. Food comes to most of us now through a global food system that is destructive of both natural and social communities. In this article we explore a variety of routes for the conceptual and practical elaboration of the foodshed. While corporations that are the principal beneficiaries of a global food system now dominate the production, processing, distribution, and consumption of food, alternatives are emerging that together could form the basis for foodshed development. Just as many farmers are recognizing the social and environmental advantages to sustainable agriculture, so are many consumers coming to appreciate the benefits of fresh and sustainably produced food. Such producers and consumers are being linked through such innovative arrangements as community supported agriculture and farmers markets. Alternative producers, alternative consumers, and alternative small entrepreneurs are rediscovering community and finding common ground in municipal and community food councils. Recognition of one's residence within a foodshed can confer a sense of connection and responsibility to a particular locality. The foodshed can provide a place for us to ground ourselves in the biological and social realities of living on the land and from the land in a place that we can call home, a place to which we are or can become native.


Veterinary Medicine Critical Thought Common Ground Social Community Human Interaction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Allen, P. L. and C. E. Sachs. 1991. “The social side of sustainability.”Science as Culture, Volume 2, Part 4, Number 13: 569–590.Google Scholar
  2. Ashman, L., J. de la Vega, M. Dohan, A. Fisher, R. Hippler, and B. Romain. 1993.Seeds of Change: Strategies for Food Security for the Inner City. Los Angeles, CA: Interfaith Hunger Coalition.Google Scholar
  3. Bakko, E. B. and J. C. Woodwell. 1992. “The Campus and the Biosphere Initiative at Carleton and Saint Olaf Colleges.” In D. J. Egan and D. W. Orr (eds.).The Campus and Environmental Responsibility. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.Google Scholar
  4. Barlett, P. F. 1993.American Dreams, Rural Realities. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press.Google Scholar
  5. Berry, W. 1984. “Whose head is the farmer using? Whose head is using the farmer?” In W. Jacksonet al. (eds.).Meeting the Expectations of the Land: Essays in Sustainable Agriculture and Stewardship. San Francisco, CA: North Point Press.Google Scholar
  6. Berry, W. 1987.Home Economics. San Francisco, CA: North Point Press.Google Scholar
  7. Berry, W. 1990.What Are People For? San Francisco, CA: North Point Press.Google Scholar
  8. Berry, W. 1991. “Out of your car, off your horse.”The Atlantic Monthly (February): 61–63.Google Scholar
  9. Berry, W. 1992. “Conservation is good work.”The Amicus Journal (Winter): 33–36.Google Scholar
  10. Berry, W. 1993.Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community. New York, NY: Pantheon Books.Google Scholar
  11. Bonanno, A., L. Busch, W. Friedland, L. Gouveia, and E. Mingione (eds.). 1994.From Columbus to ConAgra: The Globalization of Agriculture and Food. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas.Google Scholar
  12. Bookchin, M. 1986.The Modern Crisis. Philadelphia, PA: New Society Publishers.Google Scholar
  13. Clancy, K. L. 1993. “Sustainable agriculture and domestic hunger: rethinking a link between production and consumption.” In P. Allen (ed.).Food For the Future. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  14. Crouch, M. 1993. “Eating our teachers: local food, local knowledge.”Raise the Stakes (Winter): 5–6.Google Scholar
  15. Dahlberg, K. 1993. “Regenerative food systems: broadening the scope and agenda of sustainability.” In P. Allen (ed.).Food For the Future. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  16. Friedmann, H. 1993. “After Midas's feast: alternative food regimes for the future.” In P. Allen (ed.).Food For The Future. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  17. Getz, A. 1991. “Urban foodsheds.”The Permaculture Activist 24 (October): 26–27.Google Scholar
  18. Goodman, D., B. Sorj, and J. Wilkinson. 1987.From Farming to Biotechnology: A Theory of Agroindustrial Development. New York, NY: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  19. Gussow, J. D. 1993. “But what can I eat in March?”The Natural Farmer (Spring): 14–15.Google Scholar
  20. Hamm, M. W. 1993. “The potential for a localized food supply in New Jersey.” Unpublished paper presented at the Environment, Culture, and Food Equity Conference, Pennsylvania State University, June 3–6.Google Scholar
  21. Harding, S. 1986.The Science Question in Feminism. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Hartford Food System. 1991.Solutions to Hunger in Hartford: Rebuilding Our Local Food System, 1991 Action Guide. Hartford, CT: Hartford Food System.Google Scholar
  23. Hassanein, N. and J. Kloppenburg, Jr. 1995. “Where the grass grows again: knowledge exchange in the sustainable agriculture movement.”Rural Sociology 60: 4 (Winter).Google Scholar
  24. Hedden, W. P. 1929.How Great Cities Are Fed. Boston, MA: D. C. Heath and Company.Google Scholar
  25. Hendrickson, J. 1994. “Community supported agriculture.”Direct Marketing, Number 41, (May), Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin-Extension.Google Scholar
  26. Herrin, M. and J. D. Gussow. 1989. “Designing a sustainable regional diet.”Journal of Nutrition Education (December): 270–275.Google Scholar
  27. Hightower, J. 1973.Hard Tomatoes, Hard Times. Cambridge, MA: Schenkman Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  28. Jackson, W. 1980.New Roots for Agriculture. San Francisco, CA: Friends of the Earth.Google Scholar
  29. Jackson, W., W. Berry, and B. Colman. 1984.Meeting the Expectations of the Land. San Francisco, CA: North Point Press.Google Scholar
  30. Kneen, B. 1989.From Land to Mouth: Understanding the Food System. Toronto, NC Press Limited.Google Scholar
  31. Le Guin, U. K. 1969.The Left Hand of Darkness. New York, NY: Ace Books.Google Scholar
  32. Leopold, A. 1949.A Sand County Almanac. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  33. National Research Council (NRC). 1989.Alternative Agriculture. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  34. Orr, D. 1992.Ecological Literacy: Education and the Transition to a Postmodern World.. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  35. Peterson, R. 1994. “From gut to ground: a personal case study of a foodshed.” Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  36. Piercy, M. 1976.Woman on the Edge of Time. New York, NY: Fawcett Crest.Google Scholar
  37. Quinn, D. 1993.Ishmael. New York, NY: Bantam Books.Google Scholar
  38. Rodale, R. 1982.The Cornucopia Papers. Emmaus, PA: The Rodale Press.Google Scholar
  39. Rural Wisconsin Cornucopia Task Force. 1982.The Wisconsin Cornucopia Project: Toward a Sustainable Food and Agriculture System. Madison, WI: Rural Wisconsin Cornucopia Task Force.Google Scholar
  40. Sanderson, S. E. 1986. “The emergence of the ‘world steer’: internationalization and foreign domination in Latin American cattle production.” In F. Tullis and W. L. Hollist (eds.).Food, the State, and International Political Economy. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.Google Scholar
  41. Scott, J. 1976.The Moral Economy of the Peasant. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Snyder, G. 1992. “Coming in to the watershed.”Wild Earth, Special Issue.Google Scholar
  43. The Packer. 1992. “From grower to consumer: an elaborate Odyssey.”The Packer (June 13).Google Scholar
  44. The Toronto Food Policy Council. 1993.Developing a Food System Which is Just and Environmentally Sustainable. Toronto: Toronto Food Policy Council.Google Scholar
  45. Thompson, E. P. 1966.The Making of the English Working Class. New York, NY: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  46. Valen, Gary L. 1992. “Hendrix College Local Food Project.” In D. J. Egan and D. W. Orr (eds.).The Campus and Environmental Responsibility. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.Google Scholar
  47. Van En, R. and C. Roth. 1993. “Community supported agriculture.” University of Massachusetts Cooperative Extension System.Google Scholar
  48. Waters, A. 1990. “The farm-restaurant connection.” In R. Clark (ed.).Our Sustainable Table. San Francisco, CA: North Point Press.Google Scholar
  49. Whatmore, S. 1994. “Global agro-food complexes and the refashioning of rural Europe.” In A. Amin and N. Thrift (eds.).Holding Down the Global. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  50. Winne, M. 1994. “Community food planning: an idea whose time has come?”Seedling (Summer): 1–4, 8.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jack KloppenburgJr.
  • John Hendrickson
  • G. W. Stevenson

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations