Do Local Food Networks Foster Socio-Ecological Transitions towards Food Sovereignty? Learning from Real Place Experiences

Juliana Lutz, Judith Schachinger
2013 Sustainability  
Drawing on transition theory, we conceptualize local food networks as innovations that initially function and develop in local niches within a given food regime. As niche-innovations local food networks induce socio-ecological changes on the local level and they have the potential to foster wider transformations of the dominant food regime. Many local food networks adopt the concept of food sovereignty as a kind of "leitmotif". At the core of this concept lies the question of how to create an
more » ... how to create an agro-food system that, (i) allows for democratic participation and civic engagement in food production, and (ii) sets up new relationships that avoid social inequity and the exploitation of both humans and nature. In this paper we shed light on how the Austrian local food network "SpeiseLokal" addresses the challenge of operationalizing the concept of food sovereignty. The case study captures the strategies which local food networks embark on and depicts the difficulties they encounter. The paper aims to identify critical points of intersection that either strengthen or constrain local food networks from becoming established, operating, and up-scaling in the ways they wish; that is, in accordance with the principles and aims of food sovereignty, while avoiding a later assimilation into the dominant food regime.
doi:10.3390/su5114778 fatcat:l2hlkx4yyjc5poqmncutpw6gs4