In recent decades, alongside industrialized agriculture and food-supply systems, an alternative, network-based framework has evolved supporting local development, social innovation and sustainability objectives. Short supply chains are in the focus of the new era. At the same time, from the 1990s a new, bottom-up, spatially bound rural development method, the Liaison Entre Actions pour le Development de l’Economie Rurale (LEADER) approach, has arisen. The purpose of this study is to examine the involvement of LEADER local action groups in the management of alternative food systems in Europe. After a literature-based, detailed theoretical review, a quantitative analysis concerning the content of the official websites of action groups was conducted. A local product promoting quantitative index was created from the qualitative characteristics of the sites. From the collected data, using basic statistical analysis and thematic mapping connections were searched between local action group general characteristics and their short supply chain support activities. The results indicate notable national differences between Western and Eastern European and Mediterranean LEADER groups, supporting previous literature. It may be concluded that local action groups as potential hubs of social innovation, can be crucial actors in local foodscapes, mainly in less developed areas where other non-profit or for-profit organizations are unable to manage supply chains.
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