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Growing pains in local food systems: a longitudinal social network analysis on local food marketing in Baltimore County, Maryland and Chester County, PennsylvaniaAbstract Local food systems are growing, and little is known about how the constellation of farms and markets change over time. We trace the evolution of two local food systems (Baltimore County, Maryland and Chester County, Pennsylvania) over six years, including a dataset of over 2690 market connections (edges) between 1520 locations (nodes). Longitudinal social network analysis reveals how the architecture, actor network centrality, magnitude, and spatiality of these supply chains shifted during the 2012–2018 time period. Our findings demonstrate that, despite growth in the number of farmers’ markets, grocery stores, farms and restaurants in both counties, each local food system also experienced high turnover rates. Over 80% of the market connections changed during the study period. Farms, farmers’ markets, and grocery stores showed a 40–50% ‘survival’ rate, indicating their role in sustaining local food systems over longer time periods. Other actors, such as restaurants, had a much higher turnover rate within the network. Both food systems became more close-knit and consolidated as the center of gravity for both local food systems pulled away from urban areas toward rural farmland. Evidence of both growth and decay within local food systems provides a new understanding of the social networks behind local foodmore »
This pair of papers examines and describes the state action necessary to make markets function as environmental policy instruments and as strategies of governance. They do this through a detailed look at the mechanics of environmental credit compliance markets in the US states of Oregon, Ohio, and North Carolina in which stream credits are privately created and sold to developers who have impacted protected stream systems. In this paper, we examine the tools, techniques, and people involved in the creation of a value-bearing stream credit out of a physical stream or river site. These observations reveal important principles of how science functions within governance, as well as where gaps and resistances appear that create unforeseen outcomes in market-led policy. We examine the construction and use of instruments that define natural processes as objects with value; these techniques and tools include databases and spreadsheets, algorithms, and field scoring tools that have been scavenged from a wide range of scientific and governance practices and are not themselves inherently capitalist or developed for capitalist purposes. In three different state settings, the move from measure to value is made in different ways that depend on the local institutional and social context. However, they allmore »
Planning for FEWsheds: The Role of Planning in Integrating and Strengthening Food, Energy and Water Systems
As climate change and increased frequency of extreme weather events threaten local and national Food, Energy and Waters (FEW) systems, policymakers and planners are asked to secure the long-term sustainability of resources and address disaster management where failure in one system has cascading effects. The explicit acknowledgment of interdependencies and equity across FEW systems and scales of governance is an approach we term planning for “FEWsheds.” With this research, we build an integrated framework for understanding FEW supply, equity outcomes, available data, and efforts to make FEW systems more resilient through diversification, distributed systems, or relocalization. The literature review demonstrates common flaws in both research design and policy approaches. For example, few studies explicitly address demographic characteristics. Higher-income households use more water, energy and land; are less responsive to price signaling; and often do not bear the negative externalities of infrastructure siting compared to low-income families, who are, in turn, the most vulnerable to supply disruption and contamination. A FEWshed framework helps make apparent the regional interdependencies, inefficiencies and disparities so that policymakers can take corrective action in fostering just, vibrant and sustainable communities for all constituents.
The implications of cumulative land-use decisions and shifting climate on forests, require us to integrate our understanding of ecosystems, markets, policy, and resource management into a social-ecological system. Humans play a central role in macrosystem dynamics, which complicates ecological theories that do not explicitly include human interactions. These dynamics also impact ecological services and related markets, which challenges economic theory. Here, we use two forest macroscale management initiatives to develop a theoretical understanding of how management interacts with ecological functions and services at these scales and how the multiple large-scale management goals work either in consort or conflict with other forest functions and services. We suggest that calling upon theories developed for organismal ecology, ecosystem ecology, and ecological economics adds to our understanding of social-ecological macrosystems. To initiate progress, we propose future research questions to add rigor to macrosystem-scale studies: (1) What are the ecosystem functions that operate at macroscales, their necessary structural components, and how do we observe them? (2) How do systems at one scale respond if altered at another scale? (3) How do we both effectively measure these components and interactions, and communicate that information in a meaningful manner for policy and management across different scales?
Integrating social equity considerations into analyses of the food-energy-water systems nexus (FEWS) could improve understanding of how to meet increasing resource demands without impacting social vulnerabilities. Effective integration requires a robust definition of equity and an enhanced understanding of reliable FEWS analysis methods. By exploring how equity has been incorporated into FEWS research in the United States and countries with similar national development, this systematic literature review builds a knowledge base to address a critical research need. Our objectives were to 1) catalog analysis methods and metrics relevant to assessing FEWS equity at varying scales; 2) characterize current studies and interpret shared themes; and 3) identify opportunities for future research and the advancement of equitable FEWS governance. FEWS equity definitions and metrics were categorized by respective system (food, energy, water, overall nexus) and common governance scales (local, regional, national, global). Two central issues were climate change, which increases FEWS risks for vulnerable populations, and sustainable development, which offers a promising framework for integrating equity and FEWS in policy-making contexts. Social equity in FEWS was integrated into studies through affordability, access, and sociocultural elements. This framework could support researchers and practitioners to include equity in FEWS analysis tools based on studymore »