I've been following the food shed discussion with much interest. I'm part
of a group working on a book tentatively entitled "Sustainaing Rural
Landscapes: Applying Innovative Concepts to the Practical Work of Landscape
Protection and Land Use Planning". My chapter, and those of a couple of
other collaborators, will explore the relationship between
food/agricultural marketing systems and the sustainability of Northeast
U.S. communities and landscapes. In our discussions we have been using the
term MARKETSCAPE rather than food shed,food system, food circle or
whatever. Now I'm trying to figure out whether to continue using
"marketscape" or buy into one of the other terms which are quickly gaining
familiarity (at least with SANET users.) I'd welcome feedback. Does
"marketscape" offer any improvements over the other terms in that it does
not imply a particular directionality, scale or structure?

Anyway, in addition to your comments on terminology, I also welcome
comments on this early (READ: ROUGH-VERY ROUGH) outline of ideas for my
chapter below. The "social capital and environmental capital" stuff refers
to Cornelia Flora's outline of 4 types of capital - 1) physical (including
money), 2) human (individuals' skills, education, labor, etc) 3) natural
resource and 4) social (the way we are organized to interact, our
institutions, cultural norms, level of mutual trust, etc etc...) A high
degree of social capital makes more effective use of other forms of
capital. My thesis is that locally/regionally integrated marketscapes (eg
food sheds) foster the development of social capital and perhaps therefore,
natural resource capital. Global marketscapes, on the other hand tend to
degrade social capital in both importing and exporting communities.

I have not yet delved into the literature which many of you have suggested
so I'm sure I will find lots of good stuff in there too. In the meantime,
thanks in advance for any comments you have.


"THE AGRICULTURAL MARKETSCAPE": Implications for Development of Social and
Natural Resource Capital

I. Definitions:

Marketscape: A geographic conceptualization of agricultural marketing
systems, mapping the sources and destinations of inputs and outputs to and
from farms. (Should be superimposed on a mapping of natural resources and
of human population)

Locally integrated marketscape:  A system of marketing relationships in
which there is a high level of recirculation of resources - coupling of
farm inputs and outputs (sources and destinations) - within a locality. Eg:
generation of agricultural inputs (soil fertility, seed, breeding stock,
machinery and equipment, knowledge, training, new farmers, farm labor,
credit....) from local resources; and distribution of farm products (food
and fiber, "waste" nutrients, recreational access...) to local recipients.
"Local" and "integrated" both being relative terms - the tighter the
linkages geographically, the more locally integrated; the more numerous and
diverse the linkages, the more locally integrated.

Locally non-integrated (or non-locally integrated?) marketscape: A system
of marketing relationships in which the sources and destinations of farm
inputs and outputs are geographically distant, and therefore disconnected
from the people and landscape of a locality. Eg: the "global market"

II. Social attributes of marketscapes

Locally integrated. Marketing relationships are more likely to be personal
relationships, maintained over time. High degree of control in creating and
defining economic relationships remains with local people. Producers and
consumers of inputs and outputs view each other in more than economic
terms, have many shared interests including, importantly, an interest in
the local landscape. Economic and social relations more horizontal,
egalitarian, based more on reciprocity, trust. Negotiation of
interdependent but distinct economic interests. Long-term view, shared
commitment to locality. High degree of accountability to local community.
Farm business decisions made with an eye to many goals - economic,
environmental, community relations. Very strong networks involving farm and
nonfarm interests .... So, many positive contributions to developing social

Non-locally integrated. Disconnection between economic and personal
interests and relationships; economic relations primarily vertical (farmers
at the bottom?); low level of local control of economic relationships,
power remains outside local community and non-accountable. Farm business
decisions made against primarily economic criteria. Few opportunities for
trustbuilding between farmers and nonfarmers. Little understanding,
connection to, "ownership" of local agriculture by non-farmers. Very weak
networks - farmers alienated, isolated. Symbolic diversity - us against
them. No relationship between the local food supply and the local

III. Implications of marketscape for developing social capital of
locality-based communities

Development of more locally integrated marketscapes can be seen as a
strategy for building social capital in rural communities, and for
strengthening horizontal linkages between rural and urban

Following would be case examples of local marketscape development, eg
Ithaca, New York and Eastern Europe....

Judy Green                              Phone: 607-255-9832
Coordinator                             Fax: 255-9984
Farming Alternatives Program            Email: jg16@cornell.edu
Dept. of Rural Sociology
Cornell University              Never attribute to malice that which is
Ithaca, NY  14853-7801          adequately explained by stupidity