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Social inclusion in an alternative food network: values, practices and tensions

Catherine Closson, Estelle Fourat, Laurence Holzemer and Marek Hudon

No 19-003, Working Papers CEB from ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles

Abstract: This paper explores challenges a consumer food cooperative must address to combine social inclusion and embeddedness in its urban environment with the food quality standards it targets. While the difficulty in making alternative food networks (AFNs) socially accessible is well documented, little is known about organizational practices that foster inclusion in AFNs. Our research—based on over 100 participant observations of meetings held at the cooperative and on food activities with members of community organizations—has generated insight on how a participative process—through collective decisions, knowledge exchanges and workslot commitments—could facilitate or restrain social inclusion. Our results suggest that promotion of the value of equality for the largest number is hindered by differences in food, material and consumer cultures between cooperative members and non-members. The value of equality for the largest number is pragmatically applied through social inclusion regarding food supply and voluntary work participation.

Keywords: Alternative food network; Participatory action research; Consumer food cooperative; Social inclusion; Accessibility; Food democracy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: M10 O35 Q01 Q18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 23 p.
Date: 2019-01-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr, nep-cdm and nep-hme
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