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For a term so frequently employed in geography, ‘local’ is difficult to define. If we consider ‘local’ as relating or restricted to a particular area, or one's neighbourhood, ‘particular area’ and/or neighbourhood need to be defined, so the problem is compounded. More interesting are the overtones attached to this term. Evans (2004) Area 36, 3 notes ‘the suite of values that have become attached to the “local”, such as inclusivity, collaborative action, self-determination in terms of policy and action, and responsiveness to real-world needs’. In terms of food production, Goodman (2003) J. Rural Studs 19 shows how the ‘local’ is associated with ecology, differentiation, and quality, with the latter being tied to relational ideas of tradition, trust and ‘place’ (see also Feagan (2007) PHG 31, 1). Allen's supposed truism needs to be evoked here: ‘the local is not everywhere the same’ (2003, J. Rural Studs 19).

Most geographers acknowledge a continuum between local and global; thus ‘whatever lure the local may hold for landscape geographers it must become one of understanding how particular places, particular landscapes fit into a larger, scalarly complex, mosaic’ (Mitchell (2001) PHG 25, 2). And rather than positing the global and the local as a dichotomy, Ç. Keyder and his collaborators (1999) advocate a dialectic in which the global and the local are mutually constitutive.

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