Collective Food Buying Groups

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* Article: The Governance Features of Social Enterprise and Social Network Activities of Collective Food Buying Groups. By Tom Dedeurwaerdere, Olivier De Schutter, Marek Hudo, et al. Ecological Economics, Volume 140, October 2017, Pages 123-135


"Collective food buying groups, such as community supported agriculture or self-organised citizen groups for delivery of food baskets, have emerged throughout the world as an important niche innovation for promoting more sustainable agri-food systems. These initiatives seek to bring about societal change. They do so, however, not through protest or interest-based lobbying, but by organising a protected space for learning and experimentation with lifestyle changes for sustainable food consumption and production practices. In particular, they aim to promote social learning on a broad set of sustainability values, beyond a focus on “fresh and healthy food” only, which characterizes many of the individual consumer oriented local food chain initiatives. This paper analyses the governance features of such local food buying groups by comparing 104 groups in five cities in Belgium. We find that the social networking activities of these groups, as compared to the social enterprise activities, have led to establish specific governance mechanisms. Whereas the main focus of the social enterprise activities is the organisation of the food provisioning logistics, the focus of the social network activities is the sharing of resources with other sustainable food initiatives, dissemination of information and broader discussion on sustainability issues."