Guest Editorial: The UVM Food Systems Summit Makes More Room at the Table


  • Jane Kolodinsky University of Vermont



University of Vermont, Summit, Globalization, Geopolitical Context, Biophysical Constraints, Behavior, Culture


First paragraphs:

This special issue of the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems and Community Development highlights the best of the 2014 Food Systems Summit held at the University of Vermont. The Summit focused on local-level responses to globalization through the following themes: the impact of our geopolitical context on our food system, the biophysical constraints we face for food production globally, and the implications of behavior and culture for our food system. Using a format of refereed presentations and keynote speakers, and allowing for a dialogue between and among scholars, practitioners, policy makers, community activists and interested citizens, the Summit provided a space for lively pushing of the envelope by highlighting constraints and problems with our current food system and offering thoughtful, evidence-based solutions for improvement. Several presenters took the opportunity to go through the referee process. Five of those papers are included in this special issue, along with three commentaries written by the three keynote speakers.

What is unique about the UVM Food Summit is the complex web of inquiry, discussion, openness, and questioning of the status quo by stakeholders in the food movement who don't often come together in the same venue. Conversing about one of the presentations or at the Taste of Vermont reception held on one evening of the Summit, one might find the Vermont secretary of agriculture interacting with a full or assistant professor, a staffer for U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy or Bernie Sanders, the executive director of Vermont's Farm to Plate initiative, and a dairy producer or small vegetable grower. In order to foster change that can improve working conditions of farm workers, provide tasty and healthy meals to schoolchildren, improve the economic conditions of farmers, and insure food access for now and into the future it is necessary for a wide range of actors to have a seat at the same table on an equal basis. That was and remains the goal of the annual UVM Food Systems Summit. What made the 2014 Summit even more meaningful was its place as a preconference event to the joint meeting of the Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society (AFHVS) and the Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS)—further expanding the audience across many disciplines as well as organizations....


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Author Biography

Jane Kolodinsky, University of Vermont

Jane Kolodinsky is professor and chair of the department of Community Development and Applied Economics and director of the Center for Rural Studies/Food Systems Research Collaborative at the University of Vermont.



How to Cite

Kolodinsky, J. (2015). Guest Editorial: The UVM Food Systems Summit Makes More Room at the Table. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 5(2), 3–5.

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