Pathways to Prosperity
Pathways to Prosperity explores how rural communities can effectively collaborate to develop
their local value-added agriculture sectors.
Collaborative Food System Governance
Effective policy-making increasingly depends on public, private, and nonprofit participation in policy decision making. Such collaborative approaches to planning and policy development – “collaborative governance” – are essential to effective value-added development.
A noteworthy example of collaborative food system governance is the growth of food policy councils (FPCs). FPCs are collaborative groups that bring together multiple perspectives and interests within a local food system to develop food and agriculture plans and policies. U.S. FPCs have increased dramatically in recent years, from 50 in 2000 to over 260 in 2017 (Source).
Despite the importance of collaborative governance to value-added development, no research to-date has explored how rural communities implement and use this approach for value-added sector development.
Asset Pathways to Rural Prosperity
Rural communities can use assets to create wealth. Rural communities can use their unique combinations of resources to create more overall community wealth.
Some resources are important at different stages in the collaborative process. For instance, a rural community may be able to use its strong social networks in order identify available financia resources, etc. within the community.
Collaboration is essential to the process of pooling and using resources. The more inclusive the collaboration, the more resources a community can potentially bring to bear on a problem.
Effective collaboration rests on community values. Communal values that encourage community members to participate in and contribute to public processes are what we call “civicness.”
The pathways concept provides a starting place for the essential research questions that focus this project:
- What types of assets are most prevalent in rural communities?
- What combinations of those assets are associated with higher overall community wealth?
- What sequences of those assets are associated with wealth creation?
- How do rural communities use collaborative processes to leverage these assets?
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