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Creating Circular Economic Opportunities through Localizing the Food Cooperative (2022)

Student-Led, Faculty-Guided Project - 2022

Authors: Dr. Stephen Gasteyer

Summary

This applied research study will use the development of a reimagined consumer food cooperative, in coalition with a neighborhood community-based organization, to develop a circular food economy in mid-Michigan that improves the prospects for local food producers and improves the local food access and security. The innovation of this proposal is in the literature on local economic development. Specifically, it will be reviewed: 1) consumer food co-ops, an alternative model that has often prioritized access to high-quality foods for middle-class clientele, be transformed to a model that both supports local agri-food producers and local food access and security; 2) how can this model address the development of a regional circular economy that improves quality of life for local residents, especially in the context of a legacy city, and; 3) what are the opportunities and constraints of supporting local food systems and product economy through building a model that circulates financial capital? 4) what are the assets that will make this model work?

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