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Abstract

Short Food Supply Chains (SFSCs) are central to the alternative food movement discourse. SFSCs are based upon the interrelations among actors who are directly involved in the production, processing, distribution, and consumption of food products. They depend upon actors mobilising resources of various kinds: skills; knowledge; labour; capital; buildings etc. External factors such as policies and regulations can also encourage the creation of these shorter chains. The development of SFSCs can still be hindered by a range of other factors. Nevertheless, bottlenecks can be overcome via the sharing of information on successful SFSCs through the dissemination of Good Practices between various actors and territories. The Short Supply Chain Knowledge and Innovation (SKIN) project uses the term ‘good’ rather than ‘best’ practice to draw attention to the subjective lens through which a practice is ultimately evaluated by an end-user. This paper first outlines the many issues that confront SFSC actors which represent bottlenecks to the adoption of ‘Good Practices’. It then documents the Good Practices collected as part of the SKIN project as tangible examples of how SFSCs overcome such challenges. Lessons learnt from project highlights are subsequently assessed in an effort to mitigate and offer solutions to the challenges associated with SFSCs. The paper demonstrates the considerable latent potential inherent to SFSCs. However, in order for the agricultural sector to realise the full promise of short supply chains it must first be conscious of the issues pertinent to their prosperity.

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