Editorials from this special issue are available in open access (simply click the ‘free full access’ tab below) at http://cjres.oxfordjournals.org/content/vol3/issue2/index.dtl. Abstracts of other articles are available free, and full articles can be downloaded for a fee, or through libraries that subscribe to this journal.
Excerpt from Editorial Statement: This edition of the Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society is devoted to examining food system (re)-regionalization—a topic that has exploded in academic and public policy circles over the last 5 years. The growing interest in regionalizing food systems is linked to broader concerns that the conventional agro-industrial food system has not effectively provided a nutritious, sustainable and equitable supply of food to the world’s population. Technological innovations have provided cheap food to millions, but there are costs of such a system in terms of soil and water depletion, food safety scares, animal welfare, declining rural communities, rising obesity and diet-related health problems, as well as growing food insecurity. These costs were brought into sharp focus in 2007–2008 when a price surge in world food prices led to food-related riots in over 60 countries.
The majority of the papers in this issue begin with the assumption that the conventional agro-industrial food system is malfunctioning. The interpretation of how broken and what to do about it, however, is where these papers diverge and offer varied perspectives on food system re-regionalization. Papers provide evidence from both the global north and the global south, as well as rural and urban perspectives. They also enlist different conceptual frameworks ranging from urban political ecology to institutional economics. This introduction to the special issue reviews (i) definitions of food system (re)-regionalization, (ii) past and current conceptual perspectives on re-regionalized food systems, (iii) evidence of new institutional arrangements in particular regions and (iv) directions for future research.