Creating the taste of place in the United States: can we learn from the French?
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In the United States, there is a growing awareness of the implications of our globalized food system, a system that incorporates all manner of agriculture, food distribution, food processing and transformation, and consumption. The ever increasing distance between where our food is produced and where it is consumed has helped spur a movement to develop a system of place based foods. Right now multiple models are in play, including farmers markets, community supported agriculture, and the localvore movement. This article will do a close examination of another model from France, the French system of appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC); nationally regulated by the French Ministry of Agriculture it supports and protects foods and drinks with unique links to particular territories. The AOC system is based on geographically distinct and historically specific food and drink found throughout France. By closely examining one AOC product—Comté cheese produced in the rural agricultural region in Jura—the authors consider the possibilities for an AOC-style system in the United States.
KeywordsLocal foods Globalized food system Quality labels Certification Terroir France United States Cheese
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