My current and future research can be divided into three distinct strands that are on-going and intertwined. First, I research food system structure, identifying and tracking global consolidation and concentration among dominant food system firms across food supply chains, and the impacts these may have on farmers, consumers and communities, In particular my work links ideas of market competition, socio-economic dependency in agrifood networks, and competition policy. A paper forthcoming in Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics proposes a new approach to antitrust rooted in notions of fairness arising from alternative food system participants, while book chapters written in 2013 and 2014 report findings from this line of research. The article in Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences outlines vulnerabilities of global food system organization in terms of socio-ecological resilience. My future plans are to continue collaborations to explore ideas of constrained choice, competition and organization of the food system.
Second, I examine alternative ways of participating in the food system for farmers, consumers and communities and the social, economic and ecological impacts thereof. I was principal investigator on a major grant project from USDA-NIFA that explored the impact of local food systems on rural development in Missouri and Nebraska. You can see more at Local Food Linkages.
Finally, more recently I have worked internationally to understand the impacts of food system organization and technological change on smallholders and farming systems. This resulted in a presentation to a study group of the National Research Council, an article in Agriculture and Human Values, and a graduate student project examining the farmer voice in development and application of GE technology in Africa.