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Models

"Conceptualizing US Food Systems with Simplifying Models" and the LFEG Project

This paper, entitled "Conceptualizing US Food Systems with Simplifying Models," by Axel Aubrun Ph.D, Andrew Brown Ph.D, and Joseph Grady Ph.D, focuses on the creation of "simplifying models" to allow Americans understand the "big picture" of food systems. Three points, in particular, stick out to me in terms of their relevance to our LFEG project:

[The simplifying model] provides a concrete image of the system as a whole, and helps people move beyond their default focus on the individual experience of food. [p. 4]

A goal of our project is to help both consumers and producers understand that their buying and selling decisions have an extended impact on and entire food system network. When a customer makes a decision to buy food from Wal-mart, his decision effects more parties than simply himself and his family--who eat the food, and Wal-mart, who profits from his decision. Also affected are local producers of food, who do not receive his money, other customers who want to buy local food, but may find the supply of such foods going down when demand is low, etc. Our models will show the interconnectivity of all players in a food network, allowing these people to see how their decisions effect others, moving away from individual experience of foods to a broader view.

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Use Case Observations from Grinnell Farmers' Market

From my visit to the Grinnell farmers' market on August 11, 2006, I designed both a template for interactions between vendors and customers, and a set of use cases depicting these interactions.

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