Food Webs and Food Sovereignty: Research Agenda for Sustainability


  • Charles Francis University of Nebraska, Lincoln; Norwegian University of Life Sciences
  • Michelle Miller University of Wisconsin
  • Molly Anderson College of the Atlantic
  • Nancy Creamer North Carolina State University
  • Michelle Wander University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Jacob Park Green Mountain College
  • Thomas A. Green IPM Institute of North America, Inc.
  • Brent H. McCown University of Wisconsin–Madison



Food Economics, Food Environmental Impacts, Food Production, Food Systems, Food Systems Research, Rural Communities


Future food production will be constrained by the scarcity of fossil fuel and fresh water as well as increasing intensity and unpredictability of weather events and climate changes. The assurance of food security and equity for many consumers is complicated by concentration of ownership of land and other production resources, as well as a global corporate food systems model that is driven by profit at the expense of people and the environment. To assess potential alternatives to the contemporary global food chain, well focused research is needed on local food production and food webs where small- and midscale family farms provide economic viability for rural communities and their regions. We suggest multiple and integrative research priorities in production, enterprise, and farm economics, environmental impacts of farming at different scales, and social and community consequences of value adding and economic multipliers in local food webs and systems as well as the structure of agriculture. Research into key questions on food security and how it relates to increased food sovereignty is clearly needed to assess creative food system alternatives for the future.


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Author Biographies

Charles Francis, University of Nebraska, Lincoln; Norwegian University of Life Sciences

Professor, Department of Agronomy & Horticulture, University of Nebraska–Lincoln; Lincoln, Nebraska 68583-0915 USA; +1-402-472-1581

Visiting Professor of Agroecology, Institute of Plant and Environmental Sciences (IPM); P.O. Box 5003; Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB), N-1432; Aas, Norway; +47 6496 6137.

Michelle Miller, University of Wisconsin

Associate Director, Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems, University of Wisconsin; 1535 Observatory Drive; Madison, Wisconsin 53706 USA.

Molly Anderson, College of the Atlantic

Chair in Food & Sustainable Agricultural Systems, College of the Atlantic; 105 Eden Street; Bar Harbor, Maine 04609 USA.

Nancy Creamer, North Carolina State University

Professor and Director of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, North Carolina State University; Campus Box 7609; Raleigh, North Carolina 27695 USA.

Michelle Wander, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Professor and Director of the Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture Program, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; N-225 Turner Hall, MC-047; 1102 South Goodwin Avenue; Urbana, Illinois 61801 USA.

Jacob Park, Green Mountain College

Associate Professor, Business and Public Policy, One Brennan Circle, Poultney, Vermont 05764 USA.

Thomas A. Green, IPM Institute of North America, Inc.

President, IPM Institute of North America, Inc., 4510 Regent Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53705 USA.

Brent H. McCown, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Professor Emeritus, Department of Horticulture, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53706 USA.



How to Cite

Francis, C., Miller, M., Anderson, M., Creamer, N., Wander, M., Park, J., Green, T. A., & McCown, B. H. (2013). Food Webs and Food Sovereignty: Research Agenda for Sustainability. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 3(4), 95–101.

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