Agriculture and Human Values

, 22:451 | Cite as

Place, Taste, or Face-to-Face? Understanding Producer–Consumer Networks in “Local” Food Systems in Washington State

  • Theresa Selfa
  • Joan Qazi


In an increasingly globalized food economy, local agri-food initiatives are promoted as more sustainable alternatives, both for small-scale producers and ecologically conscious consumers. However, revitalizing local agri-food communities in rural agro-industrial regions is particularly challenging. This case study examines Grant and Chelan Counties, two industrial farming regions in rural Central Washington State, distant from the urban fringe. Farmers in these counties have tried diversifying large-scale processing into organics and marketing niche and organic produce at popular farmers markets in Seattle about 200 miles away. Such strategies invoke the question, “How are ‘local’ agri-food networks socially and geographically defined?” The meaning of what constitutes “local” and/or “sustainable” systems merits consideration in the linking of these rural counties with distant urban farmers markets. Employing historical, in-depth interview and survey research, we analyze production and consumption networks and the non-market systems that residents in these counties access for self-provisioning and food security.


Foodsheds Local food systems Organic farming Sustainability Washington State 



Community Supported Agriculture


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of Exeter-Cornwall and Utah State UniversityLogan, PenrynUSA, UK
  2. 2.Geography DepartmentWenatchee Valley CollegeWenatcheeUSA

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