Local and Organic Food Distribution Systems: Towards a Future Agenda


  • Yinef Pardillo Baez 1 (Jönköping University, Jönköping 55318 Sweden )
  • Movin Sequeira 1 (Jönköping University, Jönköping 55318 Sweden )
  • Per Hilletofth 1 (Jönköping University, Jönköping 55318 Sweden & University of Gävle, SE-801 76, Gävle, Sweden)

There has been an increasing consumer demand for local and organic food as they are considered to be more sustainable, ecological, and healthier. The ‘conventional’ long food distribution system is not sufficient to fulfill the current needs. Consequently, short distribution systems for local and organic food have been gaining popularity, which is not only sustainable but also contributes to food security and satisfies local consumer demand. One such short distribution systems are Alternative Food Networks (AFNs). The AFNs have emerged as a promising provisioning system for local and organic food that promotes economical, environmental, and social sustainability and respect for farming tradition. However, the AFNs are facing challenges in increasing the distribution of local and organic food in the long term. The purpose of the paper is to make a review of the existing short food distribution systems for local and organic food and also to propose a research agenda. In order to achieve this, a literature review is conducted and different food distribution channels within AFNs are studied. The challenges for each food distribution channel are identified and then compared to ‘conventional’ distribution systems. The main finding of the study is a framework of the main challenges of short food distribution channels within AFNs. The practical implication is generic criteria to consider while designing a short food distribution system that closely connects consumers and farmers of local and organic food. The policy implication is to create favorable conditions to encourage short food distribution systems in the long term.

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