In 1996, the journal Agricultural and Human Values published “Coming into the Foodshed,” by UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems scholars Jack Kloppenburg, John Hendrickson, and G. W. “Steve” Stevenson. The article, with over 400 citations, provides an invitation and foundation for robust discussion about building resilient and sustainable local and regional agriculture and food systems.
The authors engaged the concept of the “foodshed” as an “organizing metaphor…that starts from a premise of the unity of place and people, of nature and society.” The article called for research, education, and organizing around reembedding agriculture and food into communities, and vice versa.
2021 marked the 25th anniversary of “Coming into the Foodshed.” These years have been defined by the exacerbation of corporate concentration, exploitative labor practices, loss of small farms, and other challenges identified in the article, but also an explosion of grassroots activism, scholarship, and new markets organized around the promotion of just, sustainable, and resilient agriculture. Can the concept of “foodshed” help us navigate the next 25 years?
CIAS organized a roundtable discussion to examine this metaphor and how it might do the necessary work of reckoning with corporate concentration and structural racism, continued degradation of soil and water, and a history of broken treaties, land theft, and violence against communities of color. As we look to reimagine and rebuild our agriculture and food system towards economic relationships that support people and the land but also deeper notions of regeneration and food sovereignty—does “foodshed” get us there?
- Jack Kloppenburg (emeritus Professor, UW-Madison Department of Rural Sociology, original author “Coming into the Foodshed” (1996))
- John Hendrickson (UW-Madison CIAS, Farm Viability Specialist, original author “Coming into the Foodshed” (1996))
- Christian Keeve (PhD student U of KY, critical geographer, CIAS minigrant recipient, https://geography.as.uky.edu/users/cbke227)
- Jennifer Gauthier (Senior Outreach Specialist, Menominee County/Nation) Jennifer is the lead author for an eFieldbook on food sovereignty. https://impact.extension.org/2020/10/new-efieldbook-available-kemecemenaw-tribal-extension-partnerships-that-support-indigenous-food-sovereignty-on-the-menominee-indian-reservation/
- Facilitated by Annie Jones (UW-Madison, Organizational Development and Tribal Nations Specialist, UW Extension, Fellow, Department of Community and Environmental Sociology)
Further reading: Edible Madison’s interview with Jack Kloppenburg on foodsheds.