Growing a sustainable local grain economy in Arizona
A multidimensional analytical case study of an alternative food network
Local grain economies are being developed in North America and Europe as alternatives to the global grain economy and its negative externalities. Little is known, however, about their size, structure, and sustainability, in particular as they evolve. This study offers such insights from a case study of the local grain economy in Arizona. The study uses an analytical framework that combines quantitative and qualitative data and a number of analytical methods to construct a multidimensional profile of the local grain economy. The findings indicate steady growth of the local grain economy in Arizona—in production quantities, range of businesses, diversity of products, and local economy benefits over a number of developmental stages. The findings also suggest that challenges of consolidation, transparency, and other growth issues might undermine its sustainability. The insights can inform the further development of the local grain economy in Arizona and other regions. The study also provides a framework that, through comparative research, allows for creating generalized knowledge about local grain economies and alternative food networks.
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