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Do Local Food Networks Foster Socio-Ecological Transitions towards Food Sovereignty? Learning from Real Place Experiences
Institute of Social Ecology Vienna (SEC), Alpen-Adria Universitaet (AAU), Schottenfeldgasse 29, Vienna 1070, Austria
SpeiseLokal, Hof 3, Maria Anzbach 3034, Austria
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 August 2013; in revised form: 21 October 2013 / Accepted: 31 October 2013 / Published: 7 November 2013
Abstract: Drawing on transition theory, we conceptualize local food networks as innovations that initially function and develop in local niches within a given food regime. As niche-innovations local food networks induce socio-ecological changes on the local level and they have the potential to foster wider transformations of the dominant food regime. Many local food networks adopt the concept of food sovereignty as a kind of “leitmotif”. At the core of this concept lies the question of how to create an agro-food system that, (i) allows for democratic participation and civic engagement in food production, and (ii) sets up new relationships that avoid social inequity and the exploitation of both humans and nature. In this paper we shed light on how the Austrian local food network “SpeiseLokal” addresses the challenge of operationalizing the concept of food sovereignty. The case study captures the strategies which local food networks embark on and depicts the difficulties they encounter. The paper aims to identify critical points of intersection that either strengthen or constrain local food networks from becoming established, operating, and up-scaling in the ways they wish; that is, in accordance with the principles and aims of food sovereignty, while avoiding a later assimilation into the dominant food regime.
Keywords: local food networks; food sovereignty; sustainable transitions; niche innovation; food regime
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MDPI and ACS Style
Lutz, J.; Schachinger, J. Do Local Food Networks Foster Socio-Ecological Transitions towards Food Sovereignty? Learning from Real Place Experiences. Sustainability 2013, 5, 4778-4796.
Lutz J, Schachinger J. Do Local Food Networks Foster Socio-Ecological Transitions towards Food Sovereignty? Learning from Real Place Experiences. Sustainability. 2013; 5(11):4778-4796.
Lutz, Juliana; Schachinger, Judith. 2013. "Do Local Food Networks Foster Socio-Ecological Transitions towards Food Sovereignty? Learning from Real Place Experiences." Sustainability 5, no. 11: 4778-4796.