Because they are so complex and multi-faceted, food systems research can draw upon a wide variety of disciplines and resources. Systems based approaches are also sometimes used to model the complex social, economic and environmental dynamics of food systems.
The focus or perspective of inquiry can sometimes dictate the type of information or data needed. Narrowing your area of research may help guide the process. A number of subject specific Library Guides have been created by Cornell Library that may also be useful, including Agricultural Economics, Business Resources, Environmental Sciences, Human Ecology, International Agriculture & Rural Development, Nutrition & Food Science, Regional Economic Development and Social Sciences Resources. Mann Library also has a wider list of subject specific guides. Specific department liaisons from Mann Library are available for departmental assistance.
Information and data relating to local food systems can be gathered from a number of sources, including published journal articles, books, white papers, and government databases. Several of these sources are suggested below. Less scholarly sources such as blogs/web sites, newspapers, and popular magazines may also be useful. Resources related to assessing food security/food systems and spatial analysis & mapping can be found on the Community Development page, including those that engage stakeholders themselves as sources of knowledge and expertise.
To request further assistance related to local food systems research, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. See our email reference policy for eligibility. Help is also available to Cornell patrons remotely or in person via the Ask a Librarian service.
Here are some possible sources of literature related to local food systems, with links to Cornell catalog records or licensed databases provided for Cornell patrons. See the Cornell Library research help page for additional research assistance, including how to use the Cornell Library catalog to search for literature. To learn about our services & resources specifically available to Cornell Cooperative Extension staff, please visit our Information Portal for CCE.
Mann Library's borrowing page has information on borrowing policies and procedures, including those for Cornell alumni, NYS residents and Cooperative extension staff. Non-cornell researchers are encouraged to use their local public or university library for assistance. In many cases they may be able to acquire and provide materials for free through interlibrary loan services.
Articles are best found using a database which can search several sources at once (several are listed below in the database section), but these are some of the journals which frequently publish articles related to local food systems:
Agriculture and Human Values -Journal of Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society. Promotes interdisciplinary research and scholarship in the broad areas of agriculture and rural studies. Encourages participation by the growing community of researchers and professionals exploring alternative visions of the food system, including regional food policies, community supported agriculture, and issues of local and global food security.
Choices -An online peer-reviewed magazine published by the AAEA (Agricultural & Applied Economics Association) for readers interested in the policy and management of agriculture, the food industry, natural resources, rural communities, and the environment.
Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development (JAFSCD) -Online publication focused on the practice and applied research interests of agriculture and food systems development professionals and scholars.
Journal of Extension -Official refereed journal of the U.S. Cooperative Extension System.
Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition -Peer-reviewed journal -studies the growing connection and interdependence between the environment, food, nutrition, and health.
Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems -Original research and review articles on the economic, ecological, and environmental impacts of agriculture; the effective use of renewable resources and biodiversity in agro-ecosystems; and the technological and sociological implications of sustainable food systems.
Cornell subscribes to several databases for finding articles useful for your research. Here are some that are particularly relevant:
Academic Search Premier (EBSCO) -Multi-disciplinary database provides full text for more than 4,600 journals, including full text for nearly 3,900 peer-reviewed titles. The same EBSCOhost interface can be used to search several other useful databases simultaneously, including Business Source Complete, Business Source Premier, Environment Index, GreenFILE, Historical Abstracts, Hospitality & Tourism Complete, Left Index, MEDLINE, Regional Business News, SocINDEX, and Urban Studies Abstracts.
AgEcon Search: Research in Agricultural and Applied Economics -A database that indexes and electronically distributes full text reports of scholarly research in the field of agricultural and applied economics.
EconLit -Produced by the American Economic Association, EconLit indexes books, journal articles, dissertations, and articles in books published since 1969. Subjects covered in EconLit include economic theory and history, fiscal theory, econometrics, agricultural economics, public finance, demography, monetary theory, international economics and others.
ERIC -A Web-based digital library of free education-related sources of interest to educators, researchers, and the general public. Consists primarily of electronic bibliographic records describing journal and non-journal (whitepaper) literature .
Factiva -Business related news & analysis
FAOSTAT -Multilingual database currently containing over 1 million time-series and cross sectional data (numerical and graphical) relating to food and agriculture for some 200 countries. Provides international statistics in the following areas: Production, Trade, Food Balance Sheets, Food Aid Shipments, Fertilizer and Pesticides, and Land Use.
Lexis/Nexis Academic Universe -Search popular media sources, legal cases, company filings and reports
Proquest Research Library- Offers citation abstracts and full text scholarly articles in a arts, humanities and social sciences. Search multiple databases/sources at once, including ABI/INFORM, AMA, dissertations and newspapers. "Food System" theses quick links: Cornell theses, or all Proquest theses.
Sociological Abstracts (First Search) -Provides access to the latest research in sociology and related disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences.
USDA Economics and Statistics System -The USDA Economics, Statistics and Market Information System (ESMIS) is a collaborative project between Albert R. Mann Library at Cornell University and several agencies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The system contains nearly 2500 reports and datasets. These materials cover U.S. and international agriculture and related topics.
Web of Knowledge -Versatile database for finding, analyzing, and managing information from the world’s leading scholarly literature in the sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities. Simultaneous access to Food & Science Technology Abstracts, Biosis, CAB Abstracts, Medline and Web of Science.
Here is a list of materials that deal directly with local food systems from a variety of perspectives. Doing a Cornell Library catalog search will provide a wider offering of relevant books, including those that can be requested from other institutions via Borrow Direct or Interlibrary Loan.
This section provides a broad range of ag and food related data sources. The Ag & Food Data Users Guide provides more information related to finding and using data, including assessing needs and assets, and program evaluation. Refer to the Spatial Analysis & Mapping section for more specialized resources related to those needs. Search other Cornell LibGuides for additional sources of guidance in finding and using data related to ag, food and development.
Food and agricultural systems, and the movements which arise around them related to issues such as health, justice, security, and sustainability, represent a rich area of inquiry and insight. The following links provide resources for incorporating these topics into learning and discussion activities.
Email listservs are a great way to follow and engage in discussions focused on a particular topic. They generally offer options for receiving postings as individuals messages or compiled daily/weekly "digests". The following listservs offer food systems related information:
Subscribing to RSS Feeds is another convenient way to get updates from websites, twitter feeds and Facebook pages. See our RSS List page for several options.