Local Food Strategies LLC

Civic Engagement in Food System Governance:
A Comparative Perspective of American and British Local Food Movements


The local food movement is one of the most active of current civil engagement social movements. This work presents primary evidence from over 900 documents, interviews, and participant observations, and provides the first descriptive history of local food movement national policy achievements in the US, from 1976 to 2013, and in the UK, from 1991 to 2013, together with reviews of both the American and British local food movements. It provides a US-UK comparative context, significantly updating earlier comparisons of American, British and European farm and rural policies. The comparative perspective shows that, over time, more effective strategies for national policy change required social-movement building strategies, such as collaborative policy coalitions, capacity-building for smaller organizations, and policy entrepreneurship for joining together separate rural, farming, food, and health interests.   The book is a significant revision of the 2013 doctoral thesis, providing chapters than can be easily extracted from the whole for course instruction, and introduces, in full, a Theory of Food Systems Practice in the final chapter.


  1. Local Food Policies as a Lens on American and British Food Movements
  2. Local Food in National American Policy, 1976-2012: Increasing Inclusion, Increasing Policy Success
  3. Local Food in National English Policy, 1991-2012: Policy Decline with Increased Contention
  4. English Case Study: The Co-option of Local Food Policy by Environmental Interest Groups
  5. American Case Study: Overcoming Barriers to Policy Change due to Civil Society Coordination Failure
  6. Making Space for Collaboration in the Food System: Three Practices for Overcoming Exclusion (empowerment, policy entrepreneurship, and capacity building)
  7. Toward a Theory of Food Systems Practice (Summary)

Academic audiences