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Forskningsartikel - Refereegranskat, 2010

Being close: The quality of social relationships in a local organic cereal and bread network in Lower Austria

Milestad, Rebecka; Bartel-Kratochvil, Ruth; Leitner, Heidrun; Axmann, Paul


Experience of the drawbacks of a globalised and industrialised food system has generated interest in localised food systems. Local food networks are regarded as more sustainable food provision systems since they are assumed to have high levels of social embeddedness and relations of regard. This paper explores the social relations between food actors and how 'local' and 'organic' are expressed by detailing how actors describe qualities of their intra-network relationships, how they understand 'local' and how they are connected within the food system. A study from the province of Lower Austria in Austria, where organic cereals and bread are produced and marketed, serves to illuminate these issues. Actors agreed that geographical closeness contributed to the social closeness they experienced and that social relationships were a strong reason for being in the network. However, the meaning of 'local' was elastic depending on where inputs and consumers could be found. Furthermore, despite strong commitment to organic production methods and the local market, actors faced constraints that made them hybrids between organic and conventional, and between locally focused and globally dependent. Thus, the binary thinking along the local-global and organic-conventional divide does not hold. While it is important to not make a causal link between high quality of social relationships and local food networks, the case described here indicates the possibility of such a link. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Local organic food network; Social relationships; Sustainable agriculture; Social embeddedness; Austria

Publicerad i

Journal of Rural Studies
2010, Volym: 26, nummer: 3, sidor: 228-240

    Globala målen

    SDG2 Zero hunger
    SDG9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure

    UKÄ forskningsämne

    Public Administration Studies

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