Understanding networks in local food systems: the meeting of farmers and commercial actors

Recent literature has claimed for a better understanding of food networks, especially in the case of local food systems. Studies should consider the social and territorial dimension of local food networks, in order to understand how they are established and to assess their effective sustainability. The aim of this contribution is to develop a methodology to perform a spatial network analysis in order to include both the territorial and socio-economic dimensions of local food networks, starting from the point of view of farmers. The methods has been applied on 14 livestock producers and on the processors and different sellers and distributors they are related to. The case study is the periurban area of Pisa, in Italy. Seven Local Food Networks Types result from the first step of analysis, showing a high degree of initiatives organised by farmers to maintain the products locally. Especially while the production and the sale of the product is located at the local area, most of the processing is done outside the local area, demonstrating that different actors provide a different definition of what is “local”; moreover the spatialisation demonstrates the high degree of fragmentation of the local food supply from local farmers to local spaces of sale (groceries, restaurants, etc..). Finally the constraints analysis applied on farmers, processors, and sellers demonstrate a lack of coordination of individual initiatives which may undermine the future sustainability of local food system.

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149th EAAE Seminar ‘Structural change in agri-food chains: new relations between farm sector, food industry and retail sector’, Rennes, France, October 27-28, 2016

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2020-10-28

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