Skagit County Case study: The Criticism about AFN

As a continuation from the previous post, I asked that since AFN presents itself as both environmentally-equitable and environmentally friendly, is AFN the solution to the environmental pollution caused by commercial farming? Today, my post will discuss the criticism about AFN and show that AFN may be no better than commercial farming in its environmental impacts, using an example of Skagit County, Seattle.

The rural restructuring in metropolitan fringes entail the rise of AFN farms dependent on supplying the nearby cities and towns with farm produce. In contrast, increasing urbanisation and gentrification welcome the influx of well-educated and wealthy residents (Jarosz, 2008). They fuel the demand for AFN produce because of food produce of AFN are environmentally equitable, and fresh.

However, for AFN farmers who are characterised by small farm sizes, and the absence of middlemen in the sales of food produce, farmers have to rely on the rapport they build with the consumers at the farmers’ market to gain a loyalty costumer base. To achieve face-to-face interactions and build up strong loyalty consumption, some AFN farmers do home delivery for the wealthy urbanites residing in the Central Business Districts. According to Jarosz (2008), demand for top-quality food produce is the highest in the Seattle Metropolitan area. AFN Farmers markets increased from 53 to 84 in 11 years. However, for Skagit County’s farmers, opportunity costs of delivery are high because of urban congestion and high fuel costs and consumption (Jarosz, 2008).

Seattle is the 5th most congested US city

The AFN framework is thus flawed, in ensuring environmental-equity and friendliness. While compared to conventional commercial farming production framework, the AFN does lower environmental pollution in terms of CO2 emission and consumption of fuel because the food is no longer flown over long distances.

Next, I will talk about AFN in Singapore!

Stay tuned 😀

Work Cited:

Jarosz, L. (2008). The city in the country: Growing alternative food networks in Metropolitan areas. Journal of Rural Studies, 24(3), pp.231-244.


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