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.
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