By Kate Clancy and Kathryn Ruhf, From Choices Online
EXCERPT: The focus on local food systems has been quite strong over the last decade, and the phenomenon has appropriately been given a lot of attention by consumers, researchers, and food supply chain participants. As a complement to the other papers in this issue, we devote our attention here to the concept of regional food systems. While many food system advocates use—and think of—the concepts as synonymous, we argue that such a merger obscures critical distinctions and fails to provide a meaningful framework upon which to build a more economically viable and environmentally sustainable food system. We suggest that a regional food system includes “local” but operates in a larger, more comprehensive scale. Many of our arguments and assumptions have not been tested yet, but offer fruitful opportunities for analysis, ways to work together, and a useful research agenda.