Local Food Systems in Southern Appalachia


A local food system occurs when food production, processing, distribution, and consumption all take place within the same community. Direct, tangible interactions take place between producers and consumers. In addition to providing fresh, nutritious, and safe food for community members, a local food system can encourage entrepreneurship, strengthen community identity, and foster stewardship of the land. Local food systems represent a sustainable alternative to the socially, economically, and environmentally destructive practices associated with conventional, industrial agriculture.

Prior to the Industrial Revolution, most food systems were local. In order to evaluate the possibilities for re-localization of food systems in Appalachia, the historical context of small scale farming in Appalachia is included in this Pathfinder. John C. Campbell’s definition of the region is assumed.

Introductory Text: 

Abramson, Rudy and Jean Haskell. 2006. Encyclopedia of Appalachia. Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press. [agriculture: pgs 395-439] ASU App Coll F 106.E53 2006

Hinrichs, Clare C. and Thomas A. Lyson, eds. 2007. Remaking the North American Food System: Strategies for Sustainability. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. ASU Main HD 9005.R46 2007
Lyson, Thomas A. 2004. Civic Agriculture: Reconnecting Farm, Food, and Community. Medford, MA: Tufts University Press. ASU Main HD 1761 .L97 2004

Library of Congress Subject Headings: 

Highly Relevant:

  • Agriculture – Appalachian Mountains
  • Agriculture – Economic Aspects
  • Agriculture – Environmental Aspects
  • Agriculture – Social Aspects
  • Family Farms
  • Farmer’s Markets

Also Relevant:

  • Agricultural Industries
  • Appalachian Region, Southern – Agriculture
  • Food Industry and Trade
  • Food – Marketing
  • Organic Farming

More General:

  • Agriculture
  • Farms – United States
  • Sustainable Agriculture
  • Sustainable Development


  • Agriculture, Cooperative -- United States
  • Community Development
  • Food Consumption
  • Food Supply
  • Land Use, Rural
  • Produce Trade
Clipping Files Subject Headings – W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection: 
  • Agriculture
  • Apples
  • Bee Culture
  • Farm City Week - Watauga Co., NC
  • Watauga County - Farmers’ Market
  • Environment
  • Christmas Trees
  • Land Use
Library of Congress Call Numbers: 
  • HD1401-HD2210
  • S589.75-S589.76
  • HD1476
  • HD9000-HD9495
  • S605.5
  • S1-S790.3
  • S441-S482
  • S494.5.S86
  • HC79.E5
  • HD1483-HD1486
  • HD1491-HD1491.5
  • HN49.C6
  • HD101-HD1131

Halweil, Brian. 2002. Home Grown: The Case for Local Food in a Global Market. Washington D.C.: Worldwatch Institute. ASU Main HE 199.5.F6 H35 2002

Kloppenburg, Jack, John Hendrickson, and G.W. Stevenson. 2005. “Coming in to the Foodshed.” In The Earthscan Reader in Sustainable Agriculture. Ed.

Jules Pretty. London: Earthscan. ASU Main S 494.5.S86 E27 2005

Magdoff, Fred, John Bellamy Foster, and Frederick H. Buttel, eds. 2000. Hungry for Profit: The Agribusiness Threat to Farmers, Food, and the Environment. New York: Monthly Review Press. ASU Main HD 9000.5 .H86 2000

McMichael, Philip. 2000. “The Power of Food.” Agriculture and Human Values 17 (1): 21–33. Full text available online through the ASU catalog.

Norberg-Hodge, Helena, Todd Merrifield, and Steven Gorelick. 2000. Bringing the Food Economy Home: The Social, Ecological, and Economic Effects of Local Food. Bloomfield, CT: Kumarian Press. ASU Main HD 9000.5 .N596 2002

Appalachian Land Ownership Task Force. 1983. Who Owns Appalachia?: Landownership and Its Impact. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky [esp. pg. 80-94] ASU App Coll HD 210.A66 W48 1983

Billings, Dwight B. and Kathleen M. Blee. 1990. “Family Strategies in a Subsistence Economy: Beech Creek, Kentucky, 1850-1942.” Sociological Perspectives 33 (1): 63-88. Full text available online through the ASU catalog.

Fisher, Steve and Mary Harnish. 1980. Losing a Bit of Ourselves: The Decline of the Small Farmer. Emory, VA: Emory and Henry College. ASU App Coll HD 1476.U3 F5
Gaventa, John. 1984. “Land Ownership, Power, and Powerlessness in the Appalachian Highlands.” In Cultural Adaption to Mountain Environments. Eds. Pat D. Beaver and Burton L. Purrington. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press. ASU App Coll GN 2 .S9243 no.17

Pudup, Mary Beth. 1990. “The Limits of Subsistence: Agriculture and Industry in Central Appalachia.” Agricultural History 64(1): 61-89. ASU Periodicals 64 1990

Guides, Encyclopedias, and Dictionaries: 

Arcury, Thomas A. 1989. Greater Appalachian Regional Databank (GARD): Agricultural Change in the Mountain South at the Turn of the Century. Lexington, KY: The Appalachian Center at the University of Kentucky. ASU App Coll S 445.A73 1989

Coltrane, R.T. and E.L. Baum. 1965. An Economic Survey of the Appalachian Region, with special Reference to Agriculture. Washington, D.C.: Economic Research Service, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. ASU App Coll S 507.C46

Food and Agriculture Section, Environment and Natural Resources Policy Division. Glossary of Agricultural Terms. Washington D.C.: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. ASU App Coll S 411.G56 1984

Lovingood, Jr., Paul E. and Robert E. Reiman. 1985. Emerging Patterns in the Southern Highlands: A Reference Atlas. Boone, NC: Appalachian Consortium, Inc. [esp v.1, v.2, and v.4] ASU App Coll Oversize HA 218.L68 1985 v.1

Proctor, Roy E. and T. Kelley White. 1967. “Agriculture: A Reassessment.” In The Southern Appalachian Region: A Survey. Ed. Thomas R. Ford. Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press. ASU App Coll HC 107.K4 S 58 1967.


Appalachian Bibliography. 1980. Morganton, WV: West Virginia University Library. [agriculture: pgs. 12-24] ASU App Coll Z 1251.A7 A6 1980

DeMuth, Suzanne. 1993. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA): An Annotated Bibliography and Resource Guide. Beltsville, MD: USDA Agricultural Research Service, Alternative Farming Systems Information Center. Available online at http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/csa/at93-02.shtml

Graves, Glenn Horne. 1988. A Selected Bibliography on (Agri)culture and Modernization Relating to the Appalachian South. University of Kentucky ASU App Coll Z 5075.U6 A6 1988B

Harbster, Jennifer. 2003. Sustainable Agriculture: LC Science Tracer Bullet. Washington D. C.: Library of Congress. ASU GOVT LC 33.10:03-02

Ross, Charlotte T., ed. 1976. Bibliography of Southern Appalachia. Boone, NC: Appalachian Consortium Press. [agriculture: pgs. 1-6] ASU App Coll Z 1251.A7 B5x

Abstracts and Indices: 

AGRICOLA-- Compiled by the National Agricultural Library of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, AGRICOLA (Agricultural Online Access) is the most comprehensive source of U.S. agricultural and life sciences information. AGRICOLA serves as the document locator and bibliographic control system for the National Agricultural Library (NAL) collection. It contains over 3.3 million bibliographic records of journal articles, monographs, theses, patents, software, audio-visual materials, and technical reports related to agriculture from 1979 to the present. Indexers regularly scan over 1,400 journals for input into the database. Since 1984, the database also has included some records produced by cooperating institutions for documents not held by the NAL. AGRICOLA provides comprehensive coverage of newly acquired worldwide publications in agriculture and related fields, covering the field of agriculture in the broadest sense. Records are catalogued using the controlled vocabulary of Library of Congress Subject Headings and, since 1985, of the CAB Thesaurus.

America: History and Life-- a comprehensive bibliography of articles on the history and culture of the United States and Canada from prehistory to the present. AHL offers abstracts and citations for articles appearing in over 2,000 journals published worldwide in history, related humanities, and the social sciences (including the Appalachian Journal). The database also includes citations to book reviews from approximately 140 major journals of American history and culture, and relevant dissertations from Dissertation Abstracts International.

JSTOR-- JSTOR offers a high-quality, interdisciplinary archive to support scholarship and teaching. It includes archives of over one thousand leading academic journals across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, as well as select monographs and other materials valuable for academic work. The entire corpus is full-text searchable, offers search term highlighting, includes high-quality images, and is interlinked by millions of citations and references.

WorldCat-- WorldCat is a global library network built upon cooperatively-maintained databases of bibliographic and institutional metadata with 110 million bibliographic records that represent more than 1 billion individual items held by participating institutions.


Agricultural History. Berkeley, CA: Published for the Agricultural History Society by the University of California Press. V. 1- , 1927- , Quarterly. Full text available online through the ASU catalog.

Agriculture and Human Values. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers. V. 1- , 1984- , Quarterly. Full text available online through the ASU catalog.

Appalachian Journal. Boone, N.C: Appalachian State University. V. 2- , Autumn 1974- , Quarterly; Autumn 1972 to Spring 1974 (v. 1), Semiannually. [Vols 7, 18, and 23 include a cumulative index. Complete table of contents avail at http://www.appjournal.appstate.edu/Backiss.html]. ASU App Coll F 216.2 A66

Journal of Appalachian Studies. Morgantown, WV: Regional Research Institute of West Virginia University for the Appalachian Studies Association. V.1- , 1995- , Semiannually. ASU App Coll F106 .J74

Journal of Rural Studies. Oxford: Elsevier. V. 1- , 1985- . Full text available online through the ASU catalog.


Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project http://www.asapconnections.org/
Carolina Farm Stewardship Association http://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/
Indian Line Farm http://www.indianlinefarm.com
The Intervale Center http://www.intervale.org/
National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture http://www.sustainableagriculture.net
National Family Farm Coalition http://www.nffc.net/
Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group http://www.ssawg.org/

Compiled by: 

Compiler: Kelly J. Drey-Houck, 9 December 2008