Special Issue "Sustainable Food Systems in Italy: Policies, Movements and Markets"

A special issue of Agriculture (ISSN 2077-0472). This special issue belongs to the section "Agricultural Economics, Policies and Rural Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Giaime Berti
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Management, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, 56127 Pisa, Italy
Interests: food governance and policy; digital disruption in food systems; food supply chains; food systems sustainability; rural development
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Francesca Forno
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Sociology and Social Research, University of Trento, Italy
Interests: food movements; Alternative Food Networks (AFSNs); sustainable consumption; grassroots food innovations, food hubs, food governance and policy
Dr. Marzia Mauriello
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Human and Social Sciences, University of Naples 'L'Orientale', Italy
Interests: anthropology of food; food and gender; mediterranean cultures; migration, food and memory; street food; resilience and resistance practices

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The development of globalized and industrialized food systems, together with the implementation of agricultural policies, which has focused more on the production of commodities than on food, has led to environmental, economic and social crises in the food system and to the marginalization of local food systems. As alternatives to the conventional global food supply chains and to traditional productivist sectorial policies, we have witnessed the rise of new local sustainable food movements and markets, and a growing number of cities and regions around the world are developing local policies to build food security and to develop sustainable, fair and resilient food systems.

Starting from the results of the of the 3rd National Conference of the “The Italian Network for Local Food Policies”, and incorporating other relevant research, this Special Issue of Agriculture aims to collect case study analyses of local food movements and markets aimed at reconstructing local food systems through the active involvement of local food actors. Furthermore, we aim to explore local food policies implemented in Italy and trace the variety of policy pathways emerging in different contexts. Papers focusing on the intersections between academic research and local food initiatives are particularly encouraged.

Key topics in this Special Issue include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Evaluation of local food policies: urban food strategies, food councils and other governance arrangements;
  • The role of food movements, alternative food networks, resilient practices from below in urban and peri-urban contexts;
  • The role of rural agriculture and sustainable food supply chains in the reconstruction of local food systems;
  • New socio-technical arrangements for sustainable food markets;
  • From “food consumption” to “food citizenship”: initiatives, perspectives, problems and analysis;
  • Best practices in food education for a sustainable food system;
  • Interactions between food and migration.

a) A call for extended abstract of at least 1.500 words by the end of May 31, to be sent to the following email adresses:



b) Full papers submission by September.

Dr. Giaime Berti
Prof. Francesca Forno
Dr. Marzia Mauriello
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 1600 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

  • food movements
  • Alternative Food Networks
  • food policy
  • local food systems
  • food education
  • rural–urban linkages
  • food citizenship
  • food education
  • food councils
  • urban food strategies

Published Papers (7 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Article
(Re)Commoning Food and Food Systems. The Contribution of Social Innovation from Solidarity Economy
Agriculture 2021, 11(6), 548; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11060548 - 15 Jun 2021
Viewed by 550
Abstract
The need for a transition to sustainable food systems is widely recognised. Over the last three decades, movements have been demanding and proposing a radical transformation, foregrounding the social values of food. Experiences inspired by solidarity economy have given rise to highly innovative [...] Read more.
The need for a transition to sustainable food systems is widely recognised. Over the last three decades, movements have been demanding and proposing a radical transformation, foregrounding the social values of food. Experiences inspired by solidarity economy have given rise to highly innovative pathways, grounded on the redefinition of the food-related values and practices and the reconstruction of local, community-based food systems by referring to social and ecological sustainability. One can usefully draw from these experiences for identifying challenges, opportunities and benefits and for analysing the most effective modes of action leading to the creation of alternatives. Capturing and supporting this innovation is particularly important when looking at the opportunities offered by local food policies. This significantly involves the meanings, goals and forms that food governance takes on. The paper aims at investigating these aspects, reading the initiatives inspired by SE principles as an example of social innovation. Their engagement in re-signifying food in terms of “commons” and in “commoning” food systems constitutes a complementary key of analysis. Focusing on the Italian context, the paper draws on many years of qualitative research and direct involvement in these initiatives. The analysis provides useful insights about the potential for change existing in society and invites us to develop reflexivity on how local food policies capture the opportunity for a re-politicisation of food-related issues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Food Systems in Italy: Policies, Movements and Markets)
Article
Assessing the Transformative Potential of Food Banks: The Case Study of Magazzini Sociali (Italy)
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 249; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11030249 - 16 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1133
Abstract
Food poverty and/or food insecurity have become a substantial problem in the advanced capitalist world, with growing portions of people struggling to eat healthy food every day. At the same time, just in the European Union (EU), around 88 million tonnes of food [...] Read more.
Food poverty and/or food insecurity have become a substantial problem in the advanced capitalist world, with growing portions of people struggling to eat healthy food every day. At the same time, just in the European Union (EU), around 88 million tonnes of food waste are generated annually. We call this paradox the “food paradox”. The question is, how to tackle food paradox? Food banks are usually presented as a win–win solution to tackle the food paradox, despite being quite controversial. Indeed, food banks are highly contested because, according to critics, they do not aim to address the structural causes, but rather they only intervene on the effects of the food paradox. This paper develops the PAHS conceptual framework, the acronym of prefiguration, autonomy, hybridization, and scalability, which provides the four categories through which to explore the transformative potential of food surplus redistribution initiatives. The PAHS is adopted to investigate the case study of Magazzini Sociali, a food bank project developed by IoPotentino, a not-for-profit organization operating in Potenza. The results show a good transformative potential of the organization and provide an example of social innovation that can be replicated in other contexts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Food Systems in Italy: Policies, Movements and Markets)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Urban Food Strategy in the Making: Context, Conventions and Contestations
Agriculture 2021, 11(2), 177; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11020177 - 21 Feb 2021
Viewed by 903
Abstract
Contemporary food systems face several paradoxes regarding equity and sustainability. Considering food production—an issue that simultaneously affects both the supply (production) and demand (consumption) sides—several cities have begun to implement new strategies, called Urban Food Policies. These approaches aim to address the various [...] Read more.
Contemporary food systems face several paradoxes regarding equity and sustainability. Considering food production—an issue that simultaneously affects both the supply (production) and demand (consumption) sides—several cities have begun to implement new strategies, called Urban Food Policies. These approaches aim to address the various challenges presented by food system failures, while also involving the existing network of grassroot initiatives. For this reason, these have established Food Policy Councils, arenas where institutions can engage with supply chain actors and food activists, deciding through the processes of participatory democracy their Urban Food Strategies. This article investigates the evolution of a new Urban Food Strategy in a middle-sized Italian town, Trento. Despite a growing number of case studies discussing the promises and problematic aspects of UFS, empirical research and analysis tend to overlook the role of the context in which these processes are embedded and how the system of political, economic, cultural, and environmental opportunities weigh upon the success of these policies. The paper draws upon a multi-method qualitative approach combining in-depth interviews, document analysis, and direct observations of the construction process of an Urban Food Strategy for the city of Trento. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Food Systems in Italy: Policies, Movements and Markets)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Food System Resilience during COVID-19 Pandemic: The Case of Roman Solidarity Purchasing Groups
Agriculture 2021, 11(2), 156; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11020156 - 14 Feb 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1130
Abstract
The restriction measures linked to the COVID-19 shock suddenly highlighted the vulnerability of most socioeconomic systems, including the food sector. In a context in which the limitation to the movement of people and goods has put the longer and more structured supply chains [...] Read more.
The restriction measures linked to the COVID-19 shock suddenly highlighted the vulnerability of most socioeconomic systems, including the food sector. In a context in which the limitation to the movement of people and goods has put the longer and more structured supply chains in serious difficulty, many experiences and initiatives have emerged as viable alternatives. The aim of the research was to understand if and how the Solidarity Purchasing Groups (SPG) of Rome have contributed to the resilience of the food system of the metropolitan city during the lockdown. The research was based on the results of a questionnaire administered to the SPGs of Rome during the first period of the pandemic (April–July 2020), enriched by some in-depth interviews carried out by the authors. What emerged was that, despite the limited extent in terms of products conveyed within the whole food system, the SPGs represented an important food supply channel during the lockdown period, for two main reasons: a greater flexibility and agility in moving and in handling goods and the possibility of remunerating local farms, contributing to the resilience of the local agri-food fabric. The analysis of the results confirms the strong vitality of such Food Movements in Rome and, at the same time, allows for the identification of a series of interventions that the institutions could adopt to favor the spread of a food environment more compatible with more sustainable and fairer forms of food production and distribution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Food Systems in Italy: Policies, Movements and Markets)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Practicing Fair and Sustainable Local Food Systems: Elements of Food Citizenship in the Simeto River Valley
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11010056 - 12 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1105
Abstract
This paper examines a community-based food system which emerged recently around the Simeto River Valley Agreement (SRA) in Sicily (Italy) through the lens of food citizenship. The concept of food citizenship develops an understanding of how food systems function to ensure that individuals [...] Read more.
This paper examines a community-based food system which emerged recently around the Simeto River Valley Agreement (SRA) in Sicily (Italy) through the lens of food citizenship. The concept of food citizenship develops an understanding of how food systems function to ensure that individuals and communities have agency, access, and engagement with their food. It allows for comparative analysis between global/industrial and community/alternative systems. This paper follows a methodological integration between action research and a case study approach. The action research process produced a networked governance structure derived from multiple initiatives which are currently initiating many thematic projects—amongst them, a local food system. Results indicate that formalizing governance structures derived from self-organizing behavior have led to an inclusive platform with a shared vision and goals. The governing structures, however, require continued efforts and capacity to engage collaboratively in implementing their strategic plans. Findings suggest that actors developing a food citizenship-focused system should (1) consider how the governance organizational structure enables fluid communication among members and leads to building trust, (2) seek alternatives to engage youth (especially in rural areas) and promote citizen engagement, and (3) develop strategies to seek technical and programmatic support for initiatives. These three aspects are key features which may be adapted to other such efforts in sustainable and local food systems. The complex networked approach to governance presented here and the shared vision for sustainability are considered key elements in fostering a successful alternative food system with the fundamentals of food citizenship at its core. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Food Systems in Italy: Policies, Movements and Markets)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Sustainable Business Model Innovation vs. “Made in” for International Performance of Italian Food Companies
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11010017 - 29 Dec 2020
Viewed by 1030
Abstract
The quality of Italian food products, linked to Made in, has always been a competitive driver within foreign markets. However, today, getting quality choices also means engaging in responsible behavior. The paper investigates the relation between the choice of environmental and social standards [...] Read more.
The quality of Italian food products, linked to Made in, has always been a competitive driver within foreign markets. However, today, getting quality choices also means engaging in responsible behavior. The paper investigates the relation between the choice of environmental and social standards and the international performance of a set of agri-food firms in Italy, examined through the multiple case study method and the tools of qualitative methodology. What role do standards play in attributing an added value to the quality of agroindustry products and differentiating sustainable products in foreign markets, thereby improving the international performance of the companies? These questions are investigated by the research in this paper. The results of the research show a significant correlation, in the interviewed companies, between corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices, with reference to the adoption of standards, and international competitiveness, measured in terms of market performance as it regards the growth of foreign demand and opening to new markets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Food Systems in Italy: Policies, Movements and Markets)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
The Coexistence of Local and Global Food Supply Chains: The Lombardy Region Case Study
Agriculture 2020, 10(11), 540; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10110540 - 11 Nov 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 608
Abstract
Over the last years, the trust of consumers in the quality and sustainability of the food system has weakened due to the disconnection between producers and consumers. Alternative Food Networks (AFNs) and Short Food Supply Chains (SFSCs), born out of the perceived loss [...] Read more.
Over the last years, the trust of consumers in the quality and sustainability of the food system has weakened due to the disconnection between producers and consumers. Alternative Food Networks (AFNs) and Short Food Supply Chains (SFSCs), born out of the perceived loss of trust in the globalized food system, are trying to shorten the gap between farmers and consumers. Nowadays, many scholars agree that local and global food systems coexist, and consumers usually buy both in local and in global food chains. Our study aims to understand the factors that affect the development of AFNs with a specific focus on the interactions with small- and large-scale food retailing in the Lombardy region in the north of Italy. We employ an Ordinary Least Square (OLS) model, on a municipal scale, in which the dependent variable measures the number of participatory activities carried out by farmers and consumers in AFNs. The main results highlight that conventional large retailers and alternative food networks are linked, and that the coexistence of the two market channels may lead to the development for both of them. Contrarily, where small stores exist, they may compete with an alternative food channel, as they offer similar products and services. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Food Systems in Italy: Policies, Movements and Markets)
Back to TopTop