The local food movement is one of the most active of current civil engagement social movements. This work presents primary evidence from over 900 documents, interviews, and participant observations, and provides the first descriptive history of local food movement national policy achievements in the US, from 1976 to 2013, and in the UK, from 1991 to 2013, together with reviews of both the American and British local food movements. It provides a US-UK comparative context, significantly updating earlier comparison of American, British and European farm and rural policies. The comparative perspective shows that, over time, more effective strategies for national policy change required social-movement building strategies, such as collaborative policy coalitions, capacity-building for smaller organizations, and policy entrepreneurship for joining together separate rural, farming, food, and health interests. In contrast, narrowly-defined single issue campaigns often undermined long-term policy change, even if short-term wins emerged.
By profiling interviews of American and English movement leaders, policymakers, and funders, the book demonstrates that democratic participation in food policy is best supported when funders incentivize groups to work together and overcome their differences.