News and Events Archive

Call for Chapters(2014-06-09)

Agri-culture and Policy: Food and Farming in the American South

Editors: Angela Halfacre and Courtney Quinn

Interest in alternative and sustainable food systems is mushrooming across the United States. People are increasingly buying local food and frequenting farm-to-table restaurants. Small farmers are excited about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) initiatives as well as the proliferation of farmers’ markets. Citizens, farmers, scientists and practitioners are investigating links between state and federal agricultural and food policies and the items they consume. Yet, the America South has a rich history of academic studies of the culture of food and the effects of policy on agricultural people and places. The region is benefiting from a revival of the local and craft food movement, providing evocative stories—and difficult challenges--that we want to analyze and share. In recent years, popular regional publications such as Garden & Gunand Oxford American have showcased southern agri-culture from the perspectives of chefs, growers, community organizations, and families.

Research about food is expanding dramatically. This book focuses on the recent interest in food studies in the American South because the region has distinctive nuances related to food policy and practice. The regional focus also helps to narrow what we mean by "agri-culture," in that southern culture in the United States remains of special interest to many students and scholars as well as the general reader.

Angela Halfacre’s recent book, A Delicate Balance: Constructing a Conservation Culture in the South Carolina Lowcountry (USC Press, 2012), includes a chapter focused on the idiosyncratic culture of food and agriculture in the Lowcountry region of South Carolina. Building on this research as well as our even more recent research about the local food movement in the Carolinas, Angela and Courtney Quinn are eager to edit a volume that examines the unique policy dynamics shaping culture, food, and farming in the American South. For us, the American South includes the eleven states of the Confederacy--Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas—plus West Virginia.

Book Overview: Although the volume will be multi-disciplinary, its emphasis will be on perspectives from the social sciences and humanities, especially sustainability science, environmental policy, and food studies. This book willbridge the gap between books that merely explain food policy and those that examine the texture, color, and nuances of regional food cultures. Policy and culture are inextricably interwoven, especially in the American South, as our volume will demonstrate.
While this book will have significant academic merit, it will be written in prose accessible to lay audiences.
We welcome ideas for chapters that explore the topics listed below (but are open to other ideas too). In other words, we want to convey the richness and variety of culture, food, and farming in the region. We are open to a variety of methodological approaches -- qualitative, quantitative, and spatial; case studies; environmental histories, etc.

1) Sections

a. AGRICULTURAL REGULATION in THE SOUTH (Historical analysis of the effects of agriculture policy upon southern people and places). This topic area could include chapters that address the history of land-use as well as demographics in the region, the Great Migration and the Great Reverse Migration (focused on its effects on Southern food and farming), “Get Big or Get Out” federal agricultural policies and southern family farmers, and food safety regulations and small-scale farming.

b. HISTORY, CULTURE AND FOOD-FARMING (The effects of southern agricultural practices on historic cultural and food practices as well as livelihoods). This topic area could include chapters that explore cultural heritage preservation, truck farming and other distribution systems, heirs’ property, land conservation, and other systems and relationships distinctive to the American South’s agro-economy.

c. FOOD-FARMING REVIVAL (The surging interest in a sustainable southern food culture promoted by celebrity chefs, heritage-minded home cooks, and local food farmers to inform/influence agricultural policy). This topic area could include chapters that examine themes related to heirloom southern crops, hobby farming, craft and artisanal brewing and distilling, Farm to Table programs, and farmer advocacy networks. Chapters here will focus on exploring examples and systems that are being worked out in real time and that are showing results in creating a more sustainable food system.

d. CONTEMPORARY POLICY CHALLENGES AND VALUE (Contemporary understandings of the value of and political impediments to local southern food systems). This topic could include chapters that address food deserts, federal organic certification and small-scale farming, Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Handling Practices (GHP) certifications, and food hubs. Chapters here will focus on policies that are currently affecting both farmers and consumers and offer case studies on how communities are working to address challenges.

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