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The Farm Bill: A Wicked Problem Seeking A Systematic Solution
Duke Envtl. L. & Pol'y F. (2015)
  • Sarah J Morath
This article advocates for employing systems thinking in food system reform generally, but also, specifically, as a way to approach farm bill reform. Using the most recent farm bill as an example, this article introduces principles of systems thinking and explains how a systems thinking approach to food policy reform might be developed. Part I describes the original farm bill and its evolution from a law supporting farmers and the hungry during the Great Depression, to a 1,000 page, one trillion dollar piece of legislation. Part II uses the concept of a “wicked problem” to describe challenges to food policy and farm bill reform, and offers systems thinking as a new approach to designing a better farm bill. Part III analyzes the 2014 Farm Bill, focusing on efforts that use systems thinking principles to create a more sustainable food system. New and innovative programs support alternative ways of farming and build partnerships between agencies, farmers, and consumers. Finally, with complete food policy reform unlikely, Part IV encourages the use of systems thinking by policy makers, advocates, and citizens in crafting future farm bills.
  • farm bill,
  • food systems,
  • food policy
Publication Date
Citation Information
Sarah J Morath. "The Farm Bill: A Wicked Problem Seeking A Systematic Solution" Duke Envtl. L. & Pol'y F. Vol. 25 (2015)
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