About the Journal

Focus and Scope

The Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development (JAFSCD) is the world's only peer-reviewed, transdisciplinary journal focused solely on food and farming-related community development. JAFSCD uses a double-blind peer review process, with expert reviewers who include researchers, scholars, and food systems professionals in the field. 

JAFSCD emphasizes best practices and tools related to the planning, community economic development, and ecological protection of local and regional agriculture and food systems, and works to bridge the interests of practitioners and academics. Articles are immediately published online as they are accepted, but are aggregated into quarterly issues for indexing purposes. JAFSCD is an online-only journal; subscribers access the content online and may download or print any articles.

As the journal focuses on the practice of agriculture and food system development, empirical and methodological content are emphasized over the theoretical. Applied research-based papers, case studies, project post-mortems, effective strategies, impact analyses, new possibilities (problems-solving, opportunity-taking and the like) are examples of what professionals in government, the nonprofit sector, and private practice find helpful in their work.

JAFSCD is committed to working toward a more equitable and just food system. As such, our Equity Agenda guides our pro-equity and anti-racist decision-making and assessment processes. To enhance and forward the Equity Agenda, we have released our Statement on Anti-Black Racism (June 18, 2020) and our Anti-Oppression Policy Statement (December 18, 2020).

Open Access and JAFSCD as a Community-Supported Journal

As of January 1, 2018, JAFSCD became open access! We fund our work using an innovative model borrowed from the food system, becoming the world's first community-supported journal. See the list of JAFSCD's Library and Agency Shareholders and University and College Program and Nonprofit Shareholders. We welcome your institution's support—learn how at our publisher's website. Authors at shareholding institutions have the US$750 APC waived (see below).

We are indexed in databases from CABI, EBSCOhost, ProQuest, Web of Science, the U.S. National Agriculture Library's AGRICOLA database, and CNKI (one of China's largest A&I databases—forthcoming). See the current list.

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Related Fields

Agriculture and food systems–based community development has several kindred fields:

  1. Sustainable development is development that "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" (United Nations, World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987).
  2. Community Economic Development (CED) is "action taken locally by a community to provide economic opportunities and improve social conditions in a sustainable way. Often CED initiatives aim to improve the lot of those who are disadvantaged. An aspect of 'localizing economics,' CED is a community-centered process that blends social and economic development to foster the economic, social, ecological and cultural well-being of communities" (Wikipedia).
  3. Food Policy is the "area of public policy concerning the production and distribution of food. It consists of the setting of goals for food production, processing, marketing, availability, access, utilization and consumption, as well as the processes for achieving these goals. The policy may be set on any level from local to global. Food policy comprises the mechanisms by which food-related matters are addressed or administered by governments, by international bodies or networks, or by any public institution or private organization. As a subfield of public policy, food policy covers the entire food chain, from natural resources to production, processing, marketing and retailing, as well as food hygiene, consumption and nutrition" (Wikipedia).

Publication Frequency

Articles are published online as they are approved and formatted, and are gathered into quarterly issues for indexing purposes. Occasional supplements are published in addition to the quarterly issues.

Open Access Policy

JAFSCD content is published as open access—available to all, worldwide, without charge to the user or their institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author. This is in accordance with the BOAI definition of open access. All content is copyrighted by the authors and can be cited or reused with proper attribution through the CC BY 4.0 license.

We are able to do this through an innovative funding model: a community-supported journal. JAFSCD shareholders support the journal with annual shares that show their commitment to broad distribution of JAFSCD's research.

Conflict of Interest Policy

When submitting a manuscript for consideration, the author is asked to disclose any conflicts of interest. Any disclosure is included on the first page of published papers. JAFSCD provides information about conflict of interest on this website and in its submission query form. During the peer-review process, reviewers are asked if they suspect any conflict of interest on the author(s)' part; this is part of every review questionnaire.

Human and Animal Rights

When reporting experiments on people, authors should indicate whether the procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national), or if no formal ethics committee is available, with the Helsinki Declaration as revised in 2008. If doubt exists whether the research was conducted in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration, the authors must explain the rationale for their approach and demonstrate that the institutional review body explicitly approved the doubtful aspects of the study. If there is suspicion that work has not taken place within an appropriate ethical framework, the editor in chief may contact the author(s)’ ethics committee and/or reject the manuscript.

When reporting experiments on animals, authors should indicate whether institutional and national standards for the care and use of laboratory animals were followed. Further guidance on animal research ethics is available from the International Association of Veterinary Editors’ Consensus Author Guidelines on Animal Ethics and Welfare.

Informed Consent

Patients have a right to privacy that should not be violated without informed consent. Nonessential identifying details should be omitted. Informed consent should be obtained if there is any doubt that anonymity can be maintained. 

Identifying information, including names or initials, should not be published in written descriptions or photographs unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian) gives written informed consent for publication. Informed consent for this purpose requires that an identifiable patient be shown the manuscript to be published. Authors should disclose to these patients whether any potential identifiable material might be available via the Internet as well as in print after publication. Patient consent should be written and archived by the author(s). When informed consent has been obtained, it should be indicated in the published article.

Plagiarism Statement

JAFSCD actively checks submissions for instances of plagiarism using Microsoft Word and online plagiarism-checking software. A good overview of plagiarism and practices to avoid it can be found at the APA Style Blog.


JAFSCD is funded in part by the following partners. These leading North American university programs focused on food systems pay an annual sponsorship fee in support of JAFSCD's open access publication of high-quality, transdisciplinary research.

Sources of Support

Many entities are supporting JAFSCD as the world's first community-supported journal by becoming shareholders and joining the JAFSCD Shareholder Consortium. Libraries are also continuing to support JAFSCD by becoming Library Shareholders.

Journal History

JAFSCD was founded by New Leaf Associates, Inc., a social enterprise owned by Amy Christian and Duncan Hilchey. In an online market survey conducted by New Leaf Associates in the summer of 2009 regarding the proposed new journal, the over 1,200 respondents strongly endorsed the proposed concept of an applied journal with a focus on the interests of practitioners, farmers, students, and applied researchers, both in the U.S. and abroad. By practitioners we mean the staff of nonprofit organizations, government agencies, educational institutions, consultants, and others who are on the frontier of agriculture and food systems development.

The respondents reported a wide range of interests across the entire spectrum of the food system. However, given the pre-existence of both academic and applied journals in sustainable agriculture, nutrition and food security, we intentionally narrowed the focus of the journal to the core of activities in the food system where producers and consumers share keen interests. 

In 2013, JAFSCD became a publication of the Thomas A. Lyson Center for Civic Agriculture and Food Systems, a project of the Center for Transformative Action, a nonprofit affiliated with Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Founders Amy Christian and Duncan Hilchey manage and edit the journal, which also has regular columnists, an editorial board of nearly 100, and over 150 reviewers around the world. We appreciate the support of these volunteers and supporters.

On January 1, 2018, JAFSCD transitioned to become an open access journal, freely available to all. We based our open access model on something familiar to those involved with food systems — community supported agriculture — to become the world's first community-supported journal.

Ongoing funding to support open access comes from organizations that purchase annual open access shares to become shareholders; our partners; and continuing support from libraries as library shareholders.