Governing transitions in local food. Exploring the role of local actors in scaling-up short food supply chains

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Compared to the conventional food system, short food supply chains are associated with several benefits, but their impact is relatively small. Scaling-up can increase this impact, but is associated with barriers and raises governance questions. This study focussed on the benefits and barriers of scaling-up and the possibilities for governing. The research had a case study design and was conducted using semi-structured interviews. The results showed that the benefits of scaling-up short food supply chains are hard to define, as these depend on many factors. Several barriers were found, for example in the lack of diversity and volume, and in increased logistic and administrative complexity. Producers are worried that it will be at the expense of (the values of) small-scale production, which leaves some of them unwilling to scale-up. However, many buyers are willing to increase their purchase of local products. It was concluded that, taking into account the benefits and barriers of scaling-up and the ambition of involved actors, governing should start at the demand side of the food chain. Buyers can collaborate more, and expand and share knowledge. They can spread this knowledge and inform consumers. If necessary, the municipality plays a facilitating role in this. If this process leads to a larger demand, the supply can follow.
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