Despite the dominant trends toward farm consolidation and cheap food policies in California, there are many examples of producers who are adopting regenerative on-farm practices and supporting organizations that assist small, beginning, and sustainability-focused farmers to thrive in a challenging environment. Sustainability innovations profiled in this case study are variously related to the three broader concepts of socioecological systems, integrated landscape management, and rural-urban interface. After reviewing these concepts, this case study presents the main barriers to sustainable farming and sustainable food systems, which are identified in interviews with producers. This case study then profiles illustrative examples of economic, social, and environmental innovations at the farm and institutional levels, which have achieved success at overcoming these barriers and are sufficiently documented for sharing and scaling-up impact. Producer innovations to reduce climate and market risks are then classified on a scale continuum. Finally, this case study presents the diverse types and qualities of support available to sustainability-focused farmers and ranchers in California, with clear policy implications for broadening and deepening this support.
Article Case| January 17 2020
Innovations in Agricultural and Food Systems Sustainability in California
Case Studies in the Environment (2020) 4 (1): 1–14.
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Micah Elias, Robin Marsh; Innovations in Agricultural and Food Systems Sustainability in California. Case Studies in the Environment 1 January 2020; 4 (1): 1–14. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/cse.2019.002170
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