Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology


Douglas Jackson‐Smith


The modern global agrifood system has had significant negative impacts on consumers and producers. This has precipitated the rise of local food systems that are purported to improve the health and livelihoods of consumers and producers. High expectations have led to significant public and private resources dedicated to the development of local food systems. Despite this, there has been little systematic research exploring the social and institutional conditions that facilitate or frustrate local food system development.

Using a comparative case study approach, this study explored the ways local structural conditions, collective action, food system policies, and the political context affect the development of local food systems. Findings suggested truly robust local food system development requires either collective action or public policies and are more likely to exist and be successful depending on the political climate and the balance of power between land use interests in the community.


This work made publicly available electronically on August 2, 2010.