Agricultural systems and local development
In countries that have rapidly modernized their agricultural sector, the food system that emerges usually adopts an industrial approach to food production. Under this model of agriculture, there is increased specialization and concentration among stakeholders, production is geared towards satisfying the demands of mass markets, and products are standardized. While the industrialized food system is effective in terms of productivity, its sustainability is now being questioned given its negative impact on employment, local land use, and the environment.
At the same time, new initiatives are emerging to reconnect agriculture with local territories. These efforts seek to showcase the unique characteristics of rural areas and regions, bring consumers and producers together, and diversify farm activities. As well, they help promote artisanal know-how, authenticity, taste, freshness, and the growth of local economies. The initiatives developed also reflect a growing interest in proximity as a response to economic globalization, competition, and standardized product marketing, which seems to inevitably lead people to seek out a more local experience of food.