Special Issue "Localized Agrifood Systems: Governance, Market, and Environmental Issues"

A special issue of Agriculture (ISSN 2077-0472).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 November 2017)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Paulina Rytkönen

School of Natural Sciences, Environmental Studies and Technology, Södertörn University, Sweden
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +46-8-6084109
Interests: entrepreneurship; innovation processes and diffusion of innovations; global and local agro-food systems; geographical indications; food and tourism; natural resource management; industry studies in the agro-food industry and the business history of agro-food in Europe, Sweden, and in global contexts
Guest Editor
Dr. Javier Sanz Cañada

Institute of Economics, Geography and Demography (IEGD)/Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Albasanz, 26, 28037 Madrid, Spain
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +34 916022408
Fax: +34 916022971
Interests: local agro-food systems; territorial externalities; territorial governance; rural development and agro-food institutions; agricultural landscapes and public goods; geographical indications and other territorial certification systems; dissemination of innovation and knowledge; olive oil sector; cooperation between Europe and Latin America
Guest Editor
Dr. Giovanni Belletti

Department of Economics and Management, University of Florence, via delle Pandette 9, 50127 Firenze, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +39 (0)55-2759560
Fax: +39 (0)55-2759905
Interests: agricultural economics; rural development; agri-food marketing; geographical indications; local food systems; regional and food policies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

During the last few decades, localized agri-food systems (LAFS, or SYAL according to the French acronym) have become increasingly important as tools for farmers, rural firms, and consumers to meet market challenges and satisfy the rising demand for “food with a farmers face”. The potential contribution of localized agri-food systems to rural development, by promoting economic development, social cohesion, and counter-acting the demographic impact of agricultural modernization, has also increased their political relevance.
Research regarding localized agri-food systems (LAFS) is dedicated to the study of various aspects of territorial agro-food organization, in which participants, stakeholders, resources, products, and landscapes are associated by the sharing of common values, habits, historical experiences that give rise to a common socio-economic basis, and a shared identity within the frame of a certain territory.
The aim of this Special Issue is, therefore, to providing empirical evidence on LAFS and enriching the academic discussion about localized agri-food systems, their role in territorial rural development processes, current opportunities, and challenges.
This Special Issue is aimed at soliciting original research and review articles that address the following issues:

•    The analysis of territories and the localization, delocalization and relocalization of agri-food economic activities and the potential of the LAFS approach to provide a vision of historical trajectories at local level
•    LAFS governance: Internal organization characteristics and collective action in LAFS, networked and multi-level coordination processes and cooperative organization of local farms, firms and institutions
•    The potential contribution of, or connection between LAFS and human and food security
•    Role and definition of origin-based quality in LAFS, protected Geographical Indications (GIs) and collective trademarks
•    Mechanisms of value creation by means of product qualification, short agri-food supply chains (including public procurement) and alternative agri-food supply chains, integration with rural tourism and heritage at a territorial level
•    Territorial strategies and public policies that promote innovation and cooperation at local scale and strengthen the territorial dimension of knowledge transfer and innovation
•    Entrepreneurship and innovative global/local solutions for new ruralities
•    Role of LAFS in the integration and renegotiation of relations between urban and rural spaces through new relations between both public and private consumers and producers
•    LAFS and the environment: Environmental challenges and local strategies developed to cope with such challenges, preserving biodiversity and cultural heritage, developing agro-ecological production systems, and strengthening circular economy approaches as a complement or alternative to the bioeconomy paradigm.
This call for paper follows the 7th International Conference on Localized Agri-Food Systems which was held in Stockholm, 8–10 May, 2016, organized by the European Research Group SYAL, the REDSIAL (Latin American Network on Localised Agri-food Systems), the Nordic Association of Agricultural Scientist NJF, and Södertörn University. The call for paper is obviously open to all contributors interested in SYAL/LAFS issues.

Dr. Paulina Rytkönen
Dr. Javier Sanz Cañada
Dr. Giovanni Belletti
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agriculture is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 550 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Localized agri-food systems
  • Governance
  • Short food supply chains
  • Alternative agri-food networks
  • Geographical indications
  • Sustainability
  • Food security
  • Farm diversification
  • New rurality

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Bringing the Consumer Back in—The Motives, Perceptions, and Values behind Consumers and Rural Tourists’ Decision to Buy Local and Localized Artisan Food—A Swedish Example
Agriculture 2018, 8(4), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8040058
Received: 7 March 2018 / Revised: 6 April 2018 / Accepted: 12 April 2018 / Published: 16 April 2018
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Abstract
This article highlights the motivational factors behind consumers’ and tourists’ decisions to buy local artisan cheese in Jämtland (Sweden). Empirically, the case itself diverts from the typical Franco-Mediterranean case in which both the actions of producers and consumers are embedded in historical, long-term
[...] Read more.
This article highlights the motivational factors behind consumers’ and tourists’ decisions to buy local artisan cheese in Jämtland (Sweden). Empirically, the case itself diverts from the typical Franco-Mediterranean case in which both the actions of producers and consumers are embedded in historical, long-term culinary traditions and territorial features, nor is it the typical farmers’ market or another market-driven direct produce system. The main purpose is to shed light on the motivational factors behind the purchasing decision of consumers and tourists by studying the attributes that consumers embody in the products. The article is based on two consumer surveys/short interviews, the first conducted in June 2012 and the second in February 2017. The results were tested against/related to the wider local food discussion conceptualized through four types of attributes. Namely, intrinsic and extrinsic attributes; post-modernity and environmental attributes; geographical and territorial attributes; and local and rural development attributes. The results in this article clearly show that consumers value a combination of different attributes from both market-driven direct produce systems and close typicity systems. Therefore, the construction of proximity from the point of view of the consumer can be derived from a complex set of attributes and motivational factors not normally highlighted in the localized food discussion. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Market, Policies and Local Governance as Drivers of Environmental Public Benefits: The Case of the Localised Processed Tomato in Northern Italy
Agriculture 2018, 8(3), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8030034
Received: 1 February 2018 / Revised: 20 February 2018 / Accepted: 21 February 2018 / Published: 28 February 2018
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Abstract
This article explores the role of a specific Localised Agri-food System (LAFS) in the provision of Environmental and social benefits (ESBs) in densely cultivated, industrialised, and populated areas by analysing the core of the processing tomato supply chain of northern Italy (Parma and
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This article explores the role of a specific Localised Agri-food System (LAFS) in the provision of Environmental and social benefits (ESBs) in densely cultivated, industrialised, and populated areas by analysing the core of the processing tomato supply chain of northern Italy (Parma and Piacenza). The research examines how the interplay of market drivers, public policies, and collective actions favoured farming, technological, and organisational innovations geared to support long-term economic growth and tackle, at the same time, environmental challenges. The tomato supply chain is characterised by a favourable convergence of attitudes, policies, and market conditions that over time allowed for fruitful interactions between private stakeholders and between the supply chain and public players. Decades of key stakeholders’ interconnections within the tomato supply chain led to a success story of economic growth and attention to a new balance between agro-industry and environment, for the benefit of producers/processors, consumers, and natural resources. Profitability strategies inevitably imply intensification of farming in order to maximise profit levels per hectare, however, the tomato supply chain found a collective motivation that could grant profitability and concurrently reward producers and processors for attention paid to safeguarding the environment—giving evidence that intensification does not necessarily conflict with requirements in support of sustainability. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Commoditization of Rural Lands in the Semi-Arid Region of Chile—The Case of the Huentelauquén Agricultural Community
Agriculture 2018, 8(2), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8020026
Received: 15 November 2017 / Revised: 28 January 2018 / Accepted: 7 February 2018 / Published: 14 February 2018
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Abstract
The agri-pastoralist communities of the semi-arid region of Chile, with their unusual common land ownership, have not escaped economic neo-liberalism. The general pattern of insatiable demand of land for agricultural production, mining, energy generation and real-estate development has become a challenge for these
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The agri-pastoralist communities of the semi-arid region of Chile, with their unusual common land ownership, have not escaped economic neo-liberalism. The general pattern of insatiable demand of land for agricultural production, mining, energy generation and real-estate development has become a challenge for these communities. How are these processes affecting the traditional practices of these localized agri-food systems, based on rain-fed-agriculture, pastoralism and the fading practice of transhumance? In this article, we look at how the Huentelauquén Agricultural Community in the Canela Commune has dealt with, reacted to, and been affected by regional economic shifts geared towards market liberalization. In particular, we analyze the structural changes in the community in regard to alienation of the commons and changes in land tenure. Qualitative interviews were conducted with key informants in this setting. To provide a richer contextual setting, this article draws on several other empirically-based works on the commons’ emergence and evolution, land commoditization and local struggles for livelihoods. Our study shows that a community can adopt different strategies when dealing with powerful sectoral development that can involve resistance as well as positioning that seeks to find favorable terms of engagement. Our findings highlight that processes affecting the traditional commons are resulting in the re-appropriation and re-occupation of the land. This is resulting in social differentiation, weakening of the community’s social bonds, depeasantization and further degradation of an already vulnerable ecosystem. In sum, these shifts are posing an existential threat to this form of traditional agri-pastoralism. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Territorial Governance and Social Innovation: The Cases of San Pedro Capula’s Artisanal Cheese and the Rice (Oryza Sativa) of Morelos, Mexico
Agriculture 2018, 8(2), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8020023
Received: 1 December 2017 / Revised: 24 January 2018 / Accepted: 30 January 2018 / Published: 7 February 2018
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Abstract
Over the last thirty-five years, Mexico has maintained a trade liberalization policy which has depressed food production and has reconstructed the structure of the agri-food sector; this has generated a higher food dependence and insecurity. In order to face this structural change, new
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Over the last thirty-five years, Mexico has maintained a trade liberalization policy which has depressed food production and has reconstructed the structure of the agri-food sector; this has generated a higher food dependence and insecurity. In order to face this structural change, new organizational and socio-productive dynamics have emerged in communities, which take into consideration food diversity, heritage and cultural conditions of rural areas. In this paper, we use the theoretical approach of Localized Agrifood Systems (LAFS) and the operative concepts of governance and social innovation to analyze and understand the efforts that at the base of society are created to grant development of productive systems. Therefore, we present the results of an investigation based on the exploration of two LAFS cases; in these cases, different strategies to achieve development have been established: the elaboration of artisanal cheese in the state of Hidalgo, and the production of rice in the state of Morelos, Mexico. Research results show the importance of concepts such as Social Innovation (SI) and Governance within the framework of localized agri-food systems in rural studies, this, in order to identify the needs and potentials of family farming and producer’s groups inside the new contexts generated by globalization and market liberation process. Full article
Open AccessArticle Localized Agri-Food Systems and Biodiversity
Agriculture 2018, 8(2), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8020022
Received: 20 November 2017 / Revised: 22 January 2018 / Accepted: 25 January 2018 / Published: 2 February 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3170 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Interest in localized agri-food systems has grown significantly in recent years. They are associated with several benefits and are seen as important for rural development. An important share of the academic debate addresses the contribution of localized food systems to the current and/or
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Interest in localized agri-food systems has grown significantly in recent years. They are associated with several benefits and are seen as important for rural development. An important share of the academic debate addresses the contribution of localized food systems to the current and/or future sustainability of agriculture. Sustainability is defined in several ways, but many scholars recognize that sustainability can only be achieved by a combination of socio-economic, cultural, and environmental aspects. However, the attributes and indicators used for sustainability analyses also differ. Biodiversity is, for instance, often not included in analyses of environmental sustainability even if biodiversity is of crucial importance for longer-term ecological sustainability. To contribute to the debate about the importance of localized food production for sustainability from the environmental point of view, specifically with regard to biodiversity, this is therefore discussed based on the results of several studies presented in this paper. The studies focus on Nordic low-intensity livestock systems related to species-rich semi-natural grasslands. All the studies show that low-intensive agriculture and use of semi-natural grasslands may play an important role in maintaining biodiversity on both small and large scales. They also show that milk and dairy products from free-ranging livestock in heterogeneous landscapes with semi-natural grasslands may have a unique quality associated with local grazing resources. Thus, producers can combine production of food of documented high nutritional and gastronomic value with maintenance of biodiversity, i.e., localized agri-food production based on low-intensive agriculture systems and semi-natural grasslands may be a win-win recipe for both farmers and the society. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Territorial Governance. A Comparative Research of Local Agro-Food Systems in Mexico
Agriculture 2018, 8(2), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8020018
Received: 25 November 2017 / Revised: 15 January 2018 / Accepted: 25 January 2018 / Published: 31 January 2018
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Abstract
The article attempts to provide a theoretical discussion on territorial governance by presenting both the neo-institutionalist position and the De Sousa Santos’ alternative models, with a view of highlighting the dimensions that can be relevant to understanding the territorial dynamics of Local Agro-food
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The article attempts to provide a theoretical discussion on territorial governance by presenting both the neo-institutionalist position and the De Sousa Santos’ alternative models, with a view of highlighting the dimensions that can be relevant to understanding the territorial dynamics of Local Agro-food Systems (LAFS). The paper aims to build up a system of indicators, structured in four dimensions, concerning the territorial governance of LAFS: (i) multi-level coordination; (ii) democratic participation and accountability; (iii) cooperation among producers and other stakeholders and (iv) relationships with the environment. We verify, as a hypothesis, that the typology of markets to which the identity-based products are directed plays a decisive role in the way that processes of territorial governance of LAFS are constructed. The results of an empirical research, developed in four LAFS in Mexico, are presented: prickly pear cactus in Morelos, blackberry in Michoacán, cuitlacoche (corn smut) in Tlaxcala and coffee in Veracruz. Two types of territorial governance of LAFS may be distinguished: those that can be strengthened by the geographical and organisational proximity of the markets and the action of local stakeholders and governments—prickly pear cactus and cuitlacoche—versus those which are devoted to export and are conducted by large companies in which marketing networks involve certification mechanisms and a large number of institutions—coffee and blackberry. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Measuring the Economic Impact of Farmers’ Markets on Local Economies in the Basque Country
Agriculture 2018, 8(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8010010
Received: 8 November 2017 / Revised: 2 January 2018 / Accepted: 3 January 2018 / Published: 8 January 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (252 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Farmers’ markets are a traditional exchange space for local peasants, around which alternative agri-food networks (AFNs) are being built on a local scale. These AFNs seek to establish quality and trust-based equitable relationships within value chains. The main objective of this paper is
[...] Read more.
Farmers’ markets are a traditional exchange space for local peasants, around which alternative agri-food networks (AFNs) are being built on a local scale. These AFNs seek to establish quality and trust-based equitable relationships within value chains. The main objective of this paper is to measure the economic impact of 10 farmers’ markets on the local economy in the Basque province of Gipuzkoa (Northern Spain). To calculate the degree of impact, we use the tools of input-output analysis, adapting the SEED & NEED & FEED (Sticky Economic Evaluation Device & Neighborhood Exchange Evaluation Device & Food Environment Evaluation Device) approach to the specific context of the Basque Country. The results obtained give an economic value of the impact of these marketing spaces, including direct and indirect effects on other economic sectors. Furthermore, the results show that markets present other factors, not just economic, that add value for both producers and consumers, as well as for the local economy. Full article
Open AccessArticle Foods and Places: Comparing Different Supply Chains
Received: 19 November 2017 / Revised: 19 December 2017 / Accepted: 21 December 2017 / Published: 1 January 2018
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Abstract
This paper explores the relationships between food and places and how these affect the organization and functioning of different supply chains. The theme is increasingly relevant due to demand trends and new production patterns, including globalization, that deeply affect the (re)localization of production.
[...] Read more.
This paper explores the relationships between food and places and how these affect the organization and functioning of different supply chains. The theme is increasingly relevant due to demand trends and new production patterns, including globalization, that deeply affect the (re)localization of production. This is a conceptual paper extensively relying on previous studies done by the author and on evidence and concepts discussed in the literature; it does not present new in-depth case studies or any other original evidences. First, the different ways of conceptualizing and thinking the linkages between food and production places are discussed. Then, three chains that seek at delivering products for which the place of origin is important are compared: (i) short chains, where producers integrate the whole process in order to access the final consumer; (ii) geographical indications, where producers gather under a common name in order to build their reputation in connection with the place of production; (iii) retailers specialized in high quality foods, where advantages of large retailers are combined with the strong identity of products. The objective is to contribute understanding differences in the coordination modes and in the kind of governance at stake in each chain and to compare their strengths and drawbacks in terms of capacity to assure place-related quality and of delivering reliable information to consumers. Attention is also given to the role of farmers within the different chains, as these are usually strongly rooted in the place of origin but the weakest knots in the chain in terms of bargaining power. Vertical and horizontal coordination, together with collective actions, are essential for an effective alignment of the production process that can enhance quality and create/distribute value. The discussion also assesses difficulties and drawbacks related to sharing decisions and to managing common resources. Full article
Open AccessArticle An Eco-Egalitarian Solution to the Capitalist Consumer Paradox: Integrating Short Food Chains and Public Market Systems
Agriculture 2017, 7(9), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture7090076
Received: 20 August 2017 / Revised: 6 September 2017 / Accepted: 11 September 2017 / Published: 14 September 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (254 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Presently, alternative agri-food networks are in a renaissance, utilizing an economy of proximity to compete against transnational agri-business and food distributors. While this is positive ecologically and socioeconomically, the overreliance on market mechanisms in short food chains has led to class distinctions in
[...] Read more.
Presently, alternative agri-food networks are in a renaissance, utilizing an economy of proximity to compete against transnational agri-business and food distributors. While this is positive ecologically and socioeconomically, the overreliance on market mechanisms in short food chains has led to class distinctions in food distribution and consumption. The result has been a capitalist consumer paradox exacerbating inequality in the alternative agri-food networks. To resolve this inequality, we focused on how public policy can leverage state investment in public markets to reduce or overcome the capitalist consumer paradox in short food chains. To clarify our argument, we began by examining the benefits of short food chains in the urban food system. Then, we explained how type of consumption and policy regime effect food access. After this, we utilized Mexico City and New York City’s public market systems as representative of an alternative policy regime and the effects of moving away from state-oriented development. We concluded by describing possible conflicts and complements to the integration of public markets into short urban food chains. Full article
Open AccessArticle Heterogeneous Organizational Arrangements in Agrifood Chains: A Governance Value Analysis Perspective on the Sheep and Goat Meat Sector of Italy
Agriculture 2017, 7(6), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture7060047
Received: 13 March 2017 / Revised: 18 May 2017 / Accepted: 23 May 2017 / Published: 26 May 2017
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Abstract
In the Italian agrifood sector, one observes heterogeneity in the types of quality certification processes. This heterogeneity cannot be explained by standard governance theories like transaction costs economics (TCE). We use the governance value analysis (GVA) perspective that synthesizes TCE and a resources-based
[...] Read more.
In the Italian agrifood sector, one observes heterogeneity in the types of quality certification processes. This heterogeneity cannot be explained by standard governance theories like transaction costs economics (TCE). We use the governance value analysis (GVA) perspective that synthesizes TCE and a resources-based view (RBV), to suggest that the observed heterogeneity in organizational forms is a result of heterogeneous differentiating strategies that farms have pursued in the face of competitive pricing pressures. To empirically test GVA, data are obtained using a survey methodology on lamb meat produced by local farms in the Abruzzo region of Italy, challenged by price-costs squeeze. Our empirical test evidences the relevance of the adopted approach, enlightening different organizational arrangements, strictly linked to both the strategic positioning and to the farms’ resources and core competencies. Full article
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