Forthcoming Publication

Growing HomeTM: Reconnecting Agriculture, Food, and Communities
by Joanna Green and Duncan Hilchey

growing home

This very popular handbook for community-based food and agricultural initiatives, first published in 2002, is being updated with the many new tools and strategies that have emerged in the last few years. Growing Home is designed for community and economic developers, agricultural development specialists, planners, Extension educators, and other community organizers who are working to achieve sustainable community development. It offers tools for planning and examples of strategies used by communities in the northeast United States. New content will include organizing multifarm CSAs, agricultural zoning, urban farming, geographic indications, and much more.


Journal on Agriculture and Food System Development Launched in 2010

New Leaf launched the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, an online, peer-reviewed journal that provides state-of-the-art, practical information for agriculture and food system development professionals, in late 2010. It serves as a publishing vehicle for practitioners, students, and applied researchers. JAFSCD is at The full contents of the inaugural issue are free and open to the public.

In deliberating on whether to publish the journal, we carefully looked at journals that were already available and conducted a survey of possible subscribers. Read a brief report of the survey results.

Journal to Focus on Interests of Practitioners and Applied Researchers

In the online survey regarding our proposed new journal, the 1,200+ survey respondents strongly endorsed our proposed concept of an applied journal with a focus on the interests of practitioners, farmers, students and applied researchers, both in the U.S. and abroad. By practitioners we mean nonprofit organization and agency staff who are on the frontier of agriculture and food systems development.

The respondents reported a wide range of interests across the entire spectrum of the food system. However, given the availability of both academic and applied journals in sustainable agriculture, nutrition and food security, we are intentionally narrowing the focus of the journal to the core of activities in the food system where both producers and consumers interact or share keen interests: new farming opportunities, farmland protection, public policy, value chains and distribution systems, local food marketing strategies and campaigns, and many related economic and community development activities. The journal's niche can be seen in the diagram below.

Core Focus of the Journal

Production Theme Examples

  • Input Manufacture
  • Equipment manufacture and production systems
  • Agribusiness and biotechnology
  • Input retailing and agriculture services
  • Sustainable agriculture (agronomics, agronomy, technology)
  • Urban agriculture/community gardening
  • Agricultural education/mentoring/farm-to-farm
  • Farm labor

Core Journal Theme Examples

  • New farmers, small farm development
  • Farmland protection (easements, zoning, etc.)
  • Adding value strategies
  • Deiversification, specialization (e.g. specialty-crop industry clusters)
  • Distribution systems, cooperatives, value chains
  • Agriculture in the middle
  • Marketing strategies, campaigns, and food and ag. tourism
  • Geographic Indications

Consumption Theme Examples

  • Retailing
  • Consumer knowledge, attitudes, behavior
  • Food system planning
  • Food policy
  • Food citizenship
  • Food security
  • Emergency food assistance
  • Health and nutrition (education)
  • Emergency food assistance
  • Food sovereignty, food justice
  • Cooking and home food preparation, foodways

This diagram shows a range of sample topics across the food system, with the top third more focused on production issues, and the bottom third more focused on consumption issues. This new journal will focus on the middle third (in green) — what we refer to as "core themes."

Of course, the diagram is simply a heuristic devise. We acknowledge that all of these topics, and many others, are interlinked in a complex web (as opposed to a linear structure). Furthermore, we recognize they are linked to many critical non-food system issues, including employment, a region's economic base, income, cultural issues, energy, environmental degradation, politics, global trade, etc., and we hope that papers submitted can reflect this complexity by embedding the main topic in a larger context such as these, while also providing concrete information on specific issues and opportunities.

Articles accepted for peer review by the journal will focus on the agriculture and food system development core themes exclusively, or will focus on other non-core themes, as long as at least one of the core themes is still an important part of the paper. The table above serves as a general guideline for the journal content - although there will be no rules set in concrete.

Contextual Subjects

Within a theme, papers may concentrate on a wide range of contextual subjects, including (but not limited to):

  • Advocacy
  • Barriers
  • Best practices
  • Civic engagement/participatory strategies
  • Development (regional, community, rural, urban)
  • Conflict resolution
  • Community decline
  • Economics
  • Employment/labor/workforce
  • Energy flow and efficiency
  • Entrepreneurship/microenterprise
  • Financing
  • Environmental/conservation issues
  • Ethics
  • Financing and investment
  • Food safety
  • Impact/indicators/benchmarking
  • Legal issues
  • Organizational development and infrastructure
  • Place-making
  • Practitioner professional development
  • Recycle/waste management
  • Regulation/policy
  • Rural development
  • Social issues (e.g., disadvantaged groups)
  • Student /volunteer opportunities
  • Technique, tools, strategies, approaches
  • Youth

"Development" as a Key Concept of the Journal

The term "agriculture development" has long been the purview of international development agencies operating in the nonindustrialized world. But, as practitioners and scholars alike pointed out in their responses to our survey, despite the distances and differences in culture, we share a number of challenges and we have much to teach one another. A mobile farmers' market or a new generation cooperative may be useful in any country. That said, the respondents leaned toward having the journal focus on agriculture and food systems in modern economies, with the occasional paper focusing on shared interests with the nonindustrialized world.

Related Fields and Professions

Agriculture and Food System Development has several kindred fields:

  1. Sustainable development is development that "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." ((United Nations, World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987)
  2. Community Economic Development (CED) is "action taken locally by a community to provide economic opportunities and improve social conditions in a sustainable way. Often CED initiatives aim to improve the lot of those who are disadvantaged. An aspect of 'localizing economics,' CED is a community-centered process that blends social and economic development to foster the economic, social, ecological and cultural well-being of communities." (Wikipedia)
  3. Food Policy is the "area of public policy concerning the production and distribution of food. It consists of the setting of goals for food production, processing, marketing, availability, access, utilization and consumption, as well as the processes for achieving these goals. The policy may be set on any level from local to global. Food policy comprises the mechanisms by which food-related matters are addressed or administered by governments, by international bodies or networks, or by any public institution or private organization. As a subfield of public policy, food policy covers the entire food chain, from natural resources to production, processing, marketing and retailing, as well as food hygiene, consumption and nutrition." (Wikipedia)

Related Journals

It is important to recognize there are a number of journals available for publishing on topics relating to agronomic and production aspects of sustainable agriculture, as well as on food consumption, nutrition, and health. Furthermore, there are also a few well established journals that focus on the social sciences and humanities aspects of food and agriculture. We will encourage potential authors to consider carefully the appropriate publishing vehicle for their material. Authors submitting articles may be referred to these other journals, such as Agricultural Systems, Agriculture and Human Values, Ecology of Food and Nutrition, International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment, Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition, Journal of Sustainable Agriculture, and Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems.

As the journal aims at the practice of agriculture development, empirical and methodological content will be emphasized over the theoretical. Research-based papers, case studies, project post mortems, effective strategies, new possibilities (problems-solving, opportunity-taking and the like) are examples of what practitioners find helpful in their work.