International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food

Values-based Food Chains from a Transatlantic Perspective: Exploring a Middle Tier of Agri-food System Development

International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food

Volume 24, issue 1 (2017), pages 1–14

Authors: Marcia Ostroma, Kathryn De Masterb, Egon Noec and Markus Schermerd
Affiliation: aSchool of the Environment and Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, Washington State University, Wenatchee, WA, USA; bDepartment of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA; cDanish Centre for Rural Research, University of Southern Denmark, Esbjerg, Denmark; dDepartment of Sociology, Mountain Agriculture Unit, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria

ISSN: 0798-1759


Growing demand for local and organic food sourcing in the EU and the US has inspired inquiry into mid-level food supply chains that can distribute differentiated foods at a regional level in the relational and market space between large-scale commodity markets and direct markets. Values-based food chains (VBFCs) have been identified as a particular type of mid-tier supply chain formed through creating alliances between producers and their supply chain partners to distribute significant volumes of high-quality, differentiated food products while maintaining transparent relationships and fair distribution of revenues. The values associated with VBFCs may be social, cultural, economic, environmental or quality related; they may be linked to the products, the production process, and/or the characteristics of the relationships among the supply chain participants. This introduction to the Special Issue contextualizes empirical studies from the EU and North America and compares the VBFC framework with other approaches to understanding food system change.

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