Emerging Local Food Systems – The Role of Locally Developed Innovation in Small-scale Sustainable Farming in Northeast Georgia

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2009: $8,492.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2012
Grant Recipient: University of Georgia
Region: Southern
State: Georgia
Graduate Student:
Major Professor:
Carl Jordan
University of Georgia

Annual Reports


Not commodity specific


  • Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems

    Proposal abstract:

    Innovation adoption is an important process in the spread of sustainable agriculture practices. Application of the innovation diffusion model to sustainable and organic agriculture has primarily focused on challenges faced by transitioning farmers and suggest that the complexity or “suite of practices” required is a major limiting factor to adoption (Padel 2001). Little attention however has been directed at understanding the role of innovation amongst the most rapidly growing segment of sustainable farmers; small scale, resource limited, and newer farms engaged in the creation of local food systems. This research project investigates how locally adapted innovation development (a distinct process from innovation adoption) promotes local problem solving capacity while maximizing creative use of available resources, skills and relationships within local food systems. In the literature innovation tends to be treated as aspatial, equally beneficial to all adopters and production focused. This study will expand and revise this view to examine how innovation development may solve problems unique to local food system producers such as low capital and broader social and marketing needs. The research site for this study is two communities in the blue ridge mountains of Northeast Georgia with similar climates and geographies and differing agricultural histories and economies.

    Project objectives from proposal:


    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.