Based on the significant literature about the concept of embeddedness in the Alternative Food Networks (AFNs) research, this study identifies the main dynamics, in two regions of Europe, which influence and lead the challenges to the so-called conventional food systems. The concept of embeddedness was defined for the first time as the degree to which economic activities are constrained by non-economic institutions in pre-industrial society. Later, a new paradigm was developed, demonstrating that this concept can be applied even in market societies. Embeddedness is used as a tool to identify different behaviour styles of farmers in many researches about AFNs. Some authors have systematised rigorously how these type of studies must be conducted; four dimension have to be considered: i) how farmers understand the relationship between farming practices and environmental benefits; ii) the application of these practices; iii) how producers exchange information with the customers, and iv) how customers manage the previous three dimension so as to make their own decisions. Moreover, different types of embeddedness have been described in agri-food studies: ecological, spatial and social embeddedness are considered in this paper. With a comparison between two European regions (Sardinia and Community of Madrid), this case study identifies different styles of embeddedness among organic producers (whether or not supervised by a control body) and highlights differences and similarities, with a particular focus on their position about the control system organisation. Information has been provided through semi-structured interviews, where farmers were asked about general topics, feeling free to deepen the aspects they prefer. The verbatim transcription and the analysis with the codification method have been used in order to make an abstraction representation of the main concepts, which a theoretical framework describing the analysed phenomenon has been built upon. Within the model description, the four dimensions and the three types of embeddedness described above have been used as a theoretical guide. In order to collect enough data, snowball sampling technique has been used, along with the saturation method that indicates when interviews could be stopped. Farmers were asked to name people they know who, in their opinion, could provide more information about the topics discussed. For every interview, codes describing the main ideas were generated. Saturation is reached when the current interview is not adding new information. As a result, farmers have been divided into categories according to their degree of embeddedness, described through the main themes that came out during the interviews, some of which are consistent (for example visions about innovation and tradition) and some others are not (for example ecological and economic visions). Every farmer has been included just in one category according to her/his main preference, which does not imply the absence of a positive attitude towards other categories. The analysis of the categories could be useful for policy makers and specialists in organic agriculture (including the control bodies) and AFNs, because it helps them to understand the different motivations that boost the will to start and conduct alternative ways to produce food, considering the importance of this type of farming in the new CAP 2014-2020.

Embeddedness Of Organic Producers Enrolled In AFNs: A Comparison Between Two European Regions.

PINNA, SALVATORE
2015

Abstract

Based on the significant literature about the concept of embeddedness in the Alternative Food Networks (AFNs) research, this study identifies the main dynamics, in two regions of Europe, which influence and lead the challenges to the so-called conventional food systems. The concept of embeddedness was defined for the first time as the degree to which economic activities are constrained by non-economic institutions in pre-industrial society. Later, a new paradigm was developed, demonstrating that this concept can be applied even in market societies. Embeddedness is used as a tool to identify different behaviour styles of farmers in many researches about AFNs. Some authors have systematised rigorously how these type of studies must be conducted; four dimension have to be considered: i) how farmers understand the relationship between farming practices and environmental benefits; ii) the application of these practices; iii) how producers exchange information with the customers, and iv) how customers manage the previous three dimension so as to make their own decisions. Moreover, different types of embeddedness have been described in agri-food studies: ecological, spatial and social embeddedness are considered in this paper. With a comparison between two European regions (Sardinia and Community of Madrid), this case study identifies different styles of embeddedness among organic producers (whether or not supervised by a control body) and highlights differences and similarities, with a particular focus on their position about the control system organisation. Information has been provided through semi-structured interviews, where farmers were asked about general topics, feeling free to deepen the aspects they prefer. The verbatim transcription and the analysis with the codification method have been used in order to make an abstraction representation of the main concepts, which a theoretical framework describing the analysed phenomenon has been built upon. Within the model description, the four dimensions and the three types of embeddedness described above have been used as a theoretical guide. In order to collect enough data, snowball sampling technique has been used, along with the saturation method that indicates when interviews could be stopped. Farmers were asked to name people they know who, in their opinion, could provide more information about the topics discussed. For every interview, codes describing the main ideas were generated. Saturation is reached when the current interview is not adding new information. As a result, farmers have been divided into categories according to their degree of embeddedness, described through the main themes that came out during the interviews, some of which are consistent (for example visions about innovation and tradition) and some others are not (for example ecological and economic visions). Every farmer has been included just in one category according to her/his main preference, which does not imply the absence of a positive attitude towards other categories. The analysis of the categories could be useful for policy makers and specialists in organic agriculture (including the control bodies) and AFNs, because it helps them to understand the different motivations that boost the will to start and conduct alternative ways to produce food, considering the importance of this type of farming in the new CAP 2014-2020.
AFNs, Organic Farming, Madrid region, Sardinia, embeddedness
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11584/130581
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