Assets and needs of local food producers in Sedgwick County: An exploratory analysis
The current agricultural food system has been criticized for its economic, social, and environmental consequences. Alternative and local food systems have been proposed to be movements reacting against current agricultural food systems, as they emphasize social and environmental issues over purely economic ones. Such systems include farmers markets, community gardens, community-supported agriculture, and urban agriculture. The current study focused on the perspectives of local food producers in Sedgwick County. Using in-depth and inperson qualitative interviews, participants were asked what the assets and barriers are to alternative food systems in Sedgwick County, motivations to participate in such systems, and what Sedgwick County’s food system has the potential to look like in 10 years. Using qualitative methodology, major themes from participants’ interviews were produced from coded interview data. Major themes connected to assets and barriers included those related to infrastructure, knowledge and desire for local food, the climate of Kansas, business and institutional interest in local food, and bureaucracy and policy surrounding local food systems. Major themes connected to motivations included those related to a connection to people, community, nature, as well as emphasizing and being conscious of environmental and social impacts of agriculture. It is hoped that by better understanding the assets and barriers of Sedgwick County’s food system as well as what motivates one to be involved in local food systems, this study can connect and inform key stakeholders, organizations, citizens, and food advocates in Sedgwick County.