The local turn to food is often claimed to be a way to increase the value-added component retained by primary producers and to provide healthy, fresh and affordable food to consumers. Rio do Grande do Sul in Brazil has several governmental support programs that aim to empower family farmers and open up new market opportunities for them. This article examines these programs, investigates how small-scale farmers engage with them and the resultant changes in farming and marketing practices that ensue. The article uses cluster and content analysis to identify and interpret the extent, and the different ways, in which these farmers engage with and make use of the local knowledge and innovation system. The results provide useful insights into how policy instruments improve the performance of family agribusinesses, helping them to make better use of the resources available to them, encouraging farm diversification, and strengthening local interrelations between producers and consumers.
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