Can Alternative Food Networks contribute to a transition towards sustainability in Flanders: Assessing the marketing functions of Voedselteams

Current sustainability challenges in the dominant agro-food regime highlight the need for a systemic transition towards sustainability. It has been argued that, as a reaction to these sustainability challenges, niches have arisen that reorganise their practices in order to contribute to a more sustainable food system. These niches may in turn be seeds for a systemic transition. One specific type of such niches are Alternative Food Networks (AFNs). AFNs have already been researched in-depth from the perspective of two theories: the Multi-Level Perspective and Social Practice Theory, as well as through their combined use. Nevertheless, these studies have mainly focused on sustainability transitions in production and consumption. In this article we argue that this omits an important element of the food supply chain, namely all the activities between production and consumption. We take a holistic approach by looking at food supply chains as consisting of nine marketing functions. We do this by researching a particular type of AFN – Voedselteams - in Flanders. We find that, whereas in the dominant regime these functions are performed in a highly specialized way, within AFNs, they become more intertwined as more responsibility is taken up by consumers and producers. Yet, as initiatives grow, they might start taking up ‘regime-elements’ again in order to cope with the size. In this way, these initiatives may become hybrids between niche and regime.

Issue Date:
Publication Type:
Working or Discussion Paper
DOI and Other Identifiers:
Record Identifier:
PURL Identifier:
Total Pages:

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

Download fulltext

Rate this document:

Rate this document:
(Not yet reviewed)