Equity and alternative food initiatives in The Netherlands: Deepening our understanding of social sustainability in food systems through a study of how Dutch AFIs understand equity

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Social sustainability is a much used, but simultaneously elusive, concept in food system transitions. This thesis attempts to clarify the concept through a study of a related core dimension, equity. The main research question is: How can the way Dutch alternative food initiatives invoke concepts of equity help in understanding social sustainability in relation to food systems? A combination of research methods is used. First, secondary data analysis is used to develop an understanding of the concept ‘equity’, which is then places in the context of food systems. Then, the concept ‘alternative food initiatives’ is clarified. Finally, four semi-structured interviews with Dutch alternative food initiatives are analysed to understand how they invoke the concept of equity. These analyses point to three key areas where equity, food systems and their social side come together, being: 1) the extent to which ecological boundaries are respected by food system actors; 2) the way prices are regulated in food systems, and; 3) the extent to which food systems take the (needs of the) people that are involved in them actively into consideration. By identifying these three key areas, this thesis contributes to improving the overall understanding of what socially sustainable food systems entail.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen