IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Alternative Agri-Food Networks and Short Food Supply Chains: a review of the literature

Listed author(s):
  • Claudia Bazzani
  • Maurizio Canavari

This paper is a literature review that focuses on the development of AlternativeAgri-Food Networks (aafns) and, in particular, on the development of Short FoodSupply Chains (sfscs). In the first part of the article we give a description of the social-cultural and environmental aspects which define aafns. aafns are generallythought of as a "turn" from industrialized and standardized systems to the "domestic" world, where quality is interpreted in terms of food localization, proximity relations,trust, tradition and place, and as a new form of rural development and an instrumentto revitalize rural areas. We verified that mainly two factors mostly influencethe characterization of the alternative food streams: embeddedness and food localization.The concept of embeddedness integrates social, environmental and health issues,while re-localization defines the tendency to build networks based on productionand consumption of local food and the development of a "local culture", basedon the valuation of food origin, community traditions and food habits. The secondpart of the paper is focused on the description of sfscs, as Farmers’ Markets or CommunitySupported Agriculture, which aim at reducing the number of transactionsalong the food supply chain and the distance between the production and consumptionof food products. The development of sfscs may help to provide various benefitssupport of the local economy, the strengthening of relations between consumersand their food traditions, the supply of fresher food products in comparison to conventionalfood networks, the re-valuation of the small-scale farmer’s role in the foodsystems, the use of sustainable production methods and the reduction of co2 emissions.This supposition has been contradicted by several recent pieces of research,and we have pointed out further criticisms of sfscs, such as the costs farmers have tobear when selling directly to the public. The article ends by setting out our considerationsregarding the development of aafns and sfscs and offers some suggestions,for starting points for future research.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Single articles can be downloaded buying download credits, for info:

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by FrancoAngeli Editore in its journal ECONOMIA AGRO-ALIMENTARE.

Volume (Year): 15 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 11-34

in new window

Handle: RePEc:fan:ecaqec:v:html10.3280/ecag2013-002002
Contact details of provider: Web page:

Order Information: Web: Email:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

in new window

  1. Henk Renting & Terry K Marsden & Jo Banks, 2003. "Understanding Alternative Food Networks: Exploring the Role of Short Food Supply Chains in Rural Development," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 35(3), pages 393-411, March.
  2. Rocchi, Benedetto & Cavicchi, Alessio & Baldeschi, M., 2010. "Consumers’ attitude towards farmers’ markets in Tuscany," 116th Seminar, October 27-30, 2010, Parma, Italy 95224, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  3. Riccardo Scarpa & George Philippidis & Fiorenza Spalatro, 2005. "Product-country images and preference heterogeneity for Mediterranean food products: A discrete choice framework," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(3), pages 329-349.
  4. Martinez, Stephen W. & Hand, Michael S. & Da Pra, Michelle & Pollack, Susan L. & Ralston, Katherine L. & Smith, Travis A. & Vogel, Stephen J. & Clark, Shellye & Lohr, Luanne & Low, Sarah A. & Newman, , 2010. "Local Food Systems: Concepts, Impacts, and Issues," Economic Research Report 96635, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    • Martinez, Steve & Hand, Michael & Da Pra, Michelle & Pollack, Susan & Ralston, Katherine & Smith, Travis & Vogel, Stephen & Clarke, Shellye & Lohr, Luanne & Low, Sarah & Newman, Constance, 2010. "Local food systems: concepts, impacts, and issues," MPRA Paper 24313, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Wuyang Hu & Marvin T. Batte & Timothy Woods & Stan Ernst, 2012. "Consumer preferences for local production and other value-added label claims for a processed food product," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 39(3), pages 489-510, July.
  6. Susan Cholette, 2011. "Addressing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with food distribution: a case study of Californian farmers’ markets," ECONOMIA AGRO-ALIMENTARE, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 13(3), pages 145-169.
  7. Carlsson-Kanyama, Annika & Ekstrom, Marianne Pipping & Shanahan, Helena, 2003. "Food and life cycle energy inputs: consequences of diet and ways to increase efficiency," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2-3), pages 293-307, March.
  8. Roberta Sonnino & Terry Marsden, 2006. "Beyond the divide: rethinking relationships between alternative and conventional food networks in Europe," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(2), pages 181-199, April.
  9. Gabriele Cassani, 2012. "Il risparmio nei farmers' market italiani: un approfondimento sui prodotti ortofrutticoli," RIVISTA DI ECONOMIA AGRARIA, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 0(2), pages 37-60.
  10. Coley, David & Howard, Mark & Winter, Michael, 2009. "Local food, food miles and carbon emissions: A comparison of farm shop and mass distribution approaches," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 150-155, April.
  11. Henk Renting & Terry K Marsden & Jo Banks, 2003. "Understanding alternative food networks: exploring the role of short food supply chains in rural development," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 35(3), pages 393-411, March.
  12. Vincenzina Caputo & Maurizio Canavari & Jr. Rodolfo M. Nayga, 2012. "Valutazione delle preferenze di consumatori campani per un sistema di etichettatura generico sulle "food miles"," ECONOMIA AGRO-ALIMENTARE, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 14(1), pages 99-115.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fan:ecaqec:v:html10.3280/ecag2013-002002. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Angelo Ventriglia)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.