Social Networks, Ecological Frameworks, and Local Economies
This chapter presents an overview of the different components of the emerging local food system in Philadelphia, a fast growing system that offers a vivid context, and a diverse and comprehensive outlook of the challenges and opportunities presented by the multiple conceptualizations of local food systems. It analyzes the major components of the physical and organizational structure of the local food system in Philadelphia. The process of globalization, industrialization, and centralization has changed the structure of the food system in a historically short period of time, to the extent that eating locally is no longer an obvious possibility to individuals living in major urban areas in the developed world. The University of California's longstanding Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program defines a local food system as a collaborative effort to build more locally based, self-reliant food economies one in which sustainable food production, processing, distribution and consumption is integrated to enhance the economic, environmental and social health.