Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 537–542 | Cite as

Introduction to the Symposium on American Food Resilience (Part 2)

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Abstract

The security of the US food supply faces unprecedented challenges due to changes in our food system and the environment during recent decades. The 27 articles in the Symposium on American Food Resilience examine the resilience of food production and distribution – the system’s ability to withstand shocks or stresses that could lead to disruption of the food supply. Four central questions provide a framework:
  1. 1.

    What are the main lines of vulnerability and how do they function?

     
  2. 2.

    What are leverage points for reducing the risks and improving the capacity to cope with breakdowns?

     
  3. 3.

    What is already being done by government, civil society, and the private sector?

     
  4. 4.

    What can scientists, teachers, and other professionals do through research, education, community action, or other means to make the food system more resilient?

     
The Symposium is in two parts. Part 1, which was published in the last issue of this Journal, laid out a conceptual framework and surveyed the problems. Part 2, which is in this issue, focuses on solutions. Paradigm shift is a major theme in Part 2. It revolves around two key ingredients:
  1. 1.

    Conflict between the prevailing “industrial” paradigm and sustainability

     
  2. 2.

    The scale of food system operations, and the contribution that more resilient regional food systems can make to the security of our food supply

     
Concrete details are provided by case studies from New England, Ohio, North and South Carolina, and Wisconsin, where researchers or nonprofit organizations have collaborated with food system practitioners to strengthen and diversify regional food production and food supply chains. A case study from Washington applies the diversity perspective to a strategic analysis of regional capacity for disaster response. Resilience planning in Australia features strategic policy analysis with quantitative techniques such as linear programming optimization and system dynamics, which can profitably be employed elsewhere as well. Together, the Symposium articles provide a bounty of material that can be mined by researchers, teachers, policy makers, farmers, and other food system practitioners for application to their own circumstances.

Keywords

Food system Food security Food supply Food supply chains USA Diversity Resilience Sustainability Regional scale Paradigm shift Strategic analysis Policy 

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Copyright information

© AESS 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.EcoTipping Points ProjectKailuaUSA
  2. 2.Environmental StudiesSkidmore CollegeSaratoga SpringsUSA

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