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Sustainability in Alternative Food Networks: A Systematic Literature Review

Lincoln International Business School, University of Lincoln, Brayford Wharf East, Lincoln LN5 7AT, UK
Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Agro-Alimentari, Alma Mater Studiorum-Università di Bologna, viale Giuseppe Fanin 50, 40127 Bologna, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 859;
Received: 30 December 2018 / Revised: 28 January 2019 / Accepted: 2 February 2019 / Published: 7 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marketing of Sustainable Food and Drink)
In recent years, increasing attention has been paid to individuals’ organizing themselves and managing food systems in an ‘alternative’ and more sustainable way. Such emerging food initiatives are most commonly known as ‘Alternative Food Networks’ (AFNs). However, there is an ongoing debate concerning the extent to which AFNs facilitate social, economic and environmental change. There are criticisms of the overall sustainability promise of AFNs related to sufficiency of impact, possible counter effects and the relevance of impacts. Because empirical studies often only focus on specific sustainability issues or AFNs, it has been difficult to develop more robust theories about the relations between diverse AFNs arrangements and sustainability. Thus, the aim of this paper is to contribute towards reducing this knowledge gap through a systematic literature review on AFNs in relation to sustainability. We summarize main methodological approaches, the types of AFNs studied and sustainability dimensions addressed in literature to date. Findings serve as reference to propose opportunities for future research regarding sustainability in AFNs. View Full-Text
Keywords: alternative food networks; systematic literature review; sustainability alternative food networks; systematic literature review; sustainability
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MDPI and ACS Style

Michel-Villarreal, R.; Hingley, M.; Canavari, M.; Bregoli, I. Sustainability in Alternative Food Networks: A Systematic Literature Review. Sustainability 2019, 11, 859.

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