The Journal of Agriculture and Food Systems Development is a NEW online, international, peer-reviewed journal focused on applied research and best practices in the development of thriving farming communities and sustainable food systems. Peer reviewers include development practitioners, organization and agency staff, faculty, graduate students, consultants, and farmers from around the world with expertise in a wide range of agriculture and food systems issues as they relate to community, ecological sustainability, and economic development. The Journal is online at www.AgDevJournal.com.
Authors are invited to submit papers under one of two categories:
1. OPEN CALL
Beginning November 15, 2009, the Journal welcomes papers at any time on any subject related to the development aspects of agriculture and food systems.
Content can focus specifically on conservation and farmland protection, value-adding, cooperative marketing, value chains, distribution, farm labor, market research, consumer decision-making drivers, and other topics. Authors are encouraged to submit applied research papers, commentary, and thought-provoking articles that inform the emerging field of agriculture and food systems development. Faculty and students, Extension and other educators, planners, consultants, staff with farm agencies and farm and community organizations, and farmers are invited to submit material.
2. SPECIAL TOPIC CALL
Evaluations of, Recent Innovations in, and Best Practices for Young Farmer,
New Farmer, Small Farmer, Farm Transfer Programs, Incubators, Networks, and Alliances
Submissions will be accepted from
Nov. 15, 2009, through February 15, 2010.
Recognizing the contribution of agriculture to quality of life, a growing number of communities and regions throughout the world have established innovative programs to encourage the establishment, retention, and expansion of farms, farmers, and farmland. In this inaugural special topic call for papers, the Journal encourages applied research papers, policy analysis, commentary, and thought-provoking articles describing innovations and best practices in this area, as well as evaluations of the effectiveness and impacts of programs.
Background on the Special Topic Call
In the United States, the U.S. Department of Labor projects an 8.5 percent decline in the number of farmers between 2006 and 2016, the continuation of a long-standing decline. Similar trends are being experienced around the world. Over the last two decades a myriad of programs have been started to stem this loss. Some programs are aimed at increasing farmers among specific groups: immigrants, Native American and African American and other minority groups, women, low-income groups, traditional farmers, young farmers, and small farms. Some have targeted specific geographic locations: states, cities, urban fringe areas, rural areas, islands, etc. Similar programs can be found in Canada, Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Examples of programs include:
- Small farm programs
- Beginning farm programs
- Socially disadvantaged farm programs
- Farm loan programs (revolving, microcredit, intermediary relending, etc.)
- Business planning programs (FastTrac, NextLevel: Tilling the Soil of Opportunity, etc.)
- Farm incubators
- Farmer-to-farmer programs
- Farm mentoring programs
- Risk management programs
- Specialty crop and livestock programs
- Urban agriculture programs
These are typically administered by farm organizations, nongovernmental groups, and in the U.S. by Cooperative Extension associations and USDA agencies such as the SWCS, NRCS, and RC&D.
Examples of Approaches
There are many approaches that can be taken in preparing an applied research paper, including:
- Case study revealing the detailed structure and operations of a successful program and/or a failed program (post-mortem case study)
- Postgraduation evaluation of farmers (e.g., what are the success rates of these programs?)
- Case history of program graduates and their families
- Study identifying the characteristics and experiences of successful program participants
- Focus group of program participants reflecting on successful program features and needed enhancements
- Model cost per participant analysis or a cost-benefit analysis
- Impact analysis methodology: number of farms â€œincubatedâ€ (become independent), farms saved, acreage established, etc.
- Study identifying best practices (e.g., linkage to loan packages with friendly terms, follow-on program services, mentoring, etc.)
- Phone survey of a sample of programs within a region to discern issues, concerns, and best practices
- Program needs assessment or feasibility study methodology
- Study comparing and contrasting organizational models
- Study demonstrating impacts, both anticipated and otherwise, that programs have on farmers, consumers, communities, and/or aspects of the environment
In addition to empirical research, the Journal welcomes policy analysis focused on state and federal programs, literature reviews, book reviews, and thoughtful commentary.
We encourage programs to consider this an opportunity to conduct a valuable assessment of their operations through quantitative and/or qualitative analysis. Consider teaming up with faculty and students at local colleges, hiring a consultant, or even DIY (which can be a rewarding and skills-building opportunity). Also consider collaborating with other similar programs within or outside your region to get the research done. We look forward to seeing some insightful and useful results which can be used to help improve existing programs and even launch new ones.
For both calls, manuscripts should focus on the practical application of these innovations: the organization and mechanics of a program or strategy; engagement of stakeholders; challenges and unique solutions; impact analysis; and lessons learned. These papers should inspire and inform new and existing community development efforts to establish and sustain farms. Papers that feature survey results with descriptive statistics, or case studies featuring best practices (or even post-mortem analyses), are highly encouraged. See the Submission Guidelines for details on preparing a manuscript.
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New Leaf Publishing and Consulting