Moving beyond the alternative: sustainable communities, rural resilience and the mainstreaming of local food
Socially desirable outcomes such as community cohesion, diversity and social mixing are key features of the sustainable communities discourse. However, this aspect of the sustainable communities policy agenda remains under-researched. This paper uses the case of a community food initiative (Stroudco, located in Stroud, UK) to review some of the challenges faced in incorporating these social goals into wider (community led) sustainability initiatives. In particular, we explore the tensions that arise between the three core facets of sustainability ? the social, the environmental and the economic ? when they are brought together at a community level. Although Stroudco was established with the aim of bridging diverse communities and broadening the cross-section of people consuming local food, to date this remains a significant challenge. The case of Stroudco provides an insight into some of the difficulties encountered by local initiatives that attempt to operate across a range of social groupings while also overcoming cultural differences about the value of local food. It also raises important questions about the social geographies of resilience which community sustainability initiatives are able to support.