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

  • 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.

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

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

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Handle: RePEc:fan:ecaqec:v:html10.3280/ecag2013-002002
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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, SAGE Publishing, vol. 35(3), pages 393-411, March.
  4. 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.
  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. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  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. 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.
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