Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Neil Okerlund


Organizational Leadership


The purpose of this study is to identify and understand strategic planning needs of small, local businesses that support sustainable food systems. Market sustainability and profitability are often thought to be in conflict with environmental sustainability. This research affirms that the concepts are in fact co-dependent, not mutually exclusive. In order to achieve competitive differentiation and market sustainability, companies must also recognize their reliance on finite environmental resources and strategically manage them in the long-term. Through interviews with local business owners, professional expertise and an extensive literature review, this thesis uncovers and highlights strategic planning best practices specific to sustainable businesses. The end result of the research is a set of best practice recommendations that can be realistically implemented.