A Values-Based Framework for Community Food Choices

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This paper examines the definition and implementation of community-based alternative food systems (AFS), drawing on examples from British Columbia, Canada. We seek to reframe the goals of AFS by focusing on the values associated with food production, distribution and consumption strategies. We argue that current AFS thinking suffers from an over reliance on policies reflecting single rather than multiple objectives and arguments over specific alternatives rather than a values-focused debate. A decision-focused approach, using a consequence matrix, is proposed to link people's expressed values to food policy responses and clarify trade-offs across options. This reframing should encourage new dialogue, new policy alternatives, and increased acceptance of actions supporting AFS.

Keywords: alternative food systems; community; sovereignty; values-based thinking

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3197/096327110X485400

Publication date: February 1, 2010

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  • Environmental Values is an international peer-reviewed journal that brings together contributions from philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology, ecology and other disciplines, which relate to the present and future environment of human beings and other species. In doing so we aim to clarify the relationship between practical policy issues and more fundamental underlying principles or assumptions.

    Environmental Values has an impact factor (2013) of 1.739.
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