Slides - Agroecology Group

Short Food Chains and Local
Food Systems: An Overview
of Their Role for Rural
Dr Moya Kneafsey
[email protected]
APPG on Agroecology, 25th February
Key Points
1. Distinction between local food systems and
short food chains - as well as different types of
– Impacts may be different
2. Value of local food systems and short food
chains is not only economic – important social
impacts too (so we need different measures)
3. Key policy drivers/opportunities exist :
– 1) CAP 2014-2020
– 2) Urban Food Policies
Defining Local Food Systems and
Short Food Chains
• ‘LFS’ = production, processing, trade and
consumption occur in a defined geographical area
– No legal or agreed definition of ‘local’
– But in practice, often defined as radius of 20 – 100 km
from point of sale
• ‘SFCs’ = reduced number of links between
producer and consumer; product reaches
consumer ‘embedded’ with information
– Can include LFS, but not restricted to them
– Could also be direct sales ‘at a distance’
3 Main Types of LFS+SFC
1. Consumer-Producer
Partnerships e.g. CSA Community Supported Agriculture,
2. On-farm, direct sales e.g. farm
shops, farm based hospitality, roadside
sales, pick-your-own
3. Off-farm, direct or with minimum intermediaries e.g.
farmers markets, box schemes, catering
Renting et al 2003
Overall features of LFS+SFC enterprises
1. There are different types of LFS+SFC – which may
exert different impacts on rural economies
2. Generally, farms operating in LFS and SFCs are
small and tend to practice organic or
agroecological principles
– But, there are some larger examples of SFCs, usually box
deliveries such as ‘Riverford’ in UK and ‘Aarstiderne’ in
3. They often have a strong social and
environmental agenda and present this to
What is the impact of LFS and SFCs on
rural economies?
First of all, a few caveats:
1. Plenty of small case studies, but not much
comparative work across regions or types of
2. General view is that economic impacts are
positive, but specific information on turnover
and costs is rare.
3. Overall strong consensus that SFSCs can
deliver social benefits for producers,
consumers and communities
Creating Jobs
Evidence that SFCs can maintain rural employment compared to
long distance chains:
1. French Agricultural Census 2010:
farms using SFCs are small scale, but have larger than average
Farms using SFCs are more concentrated in less productive
regions – hence important for fragile rural economies
Farms using SFCs are more likely to diversify
2. In UK, CPRE (2012) reports that
– Farm Shops thought to support 36,000 employees, many parttime (based on average 9 per shop)
– Estimated that local food ‘webs’ could support 137,000 jobs in
– Thought to create 1 job for every £46,000 turnover, compared to 1
for £138,000+ in a supermarket.
Adding Value Locally
Evidence that money spent in local food outlets / short
food chains is retained in the local economy:
• Boyde (2001) : every £1 spent on an organic box
scheme contributed £2.59 to local economy, defined
as 15 mile radius from farm. This compared to £1.40
for every £1 spent in a supermarket.
• New Economics Foundation (2011) used SROI and
found spending on seasonal, local produce in 2
English local authorities returned over £3 in social,
economic and environmental value for every £1
• Plus a number of other studies….
Other impacts
1. Farmers can understand consumer expectations
more directly; they can experience greater job
2. Consumers can understand more about where
their food comes from and who produced it –
generally positive for health and proenvironmental behaviours
3. For communities, can help improve skills and
capacities in rural areas
4. Build more trust in food; improve food security
and resilience
Whole farm perspectives important
1. Farms using SFCs may combine them with other
routes to market to create a successful business
2. SFCs can be developed synergistically with tourism
and hospitality
– Farm location influences success chances e.g. access to
urban populations either locally or via tourist market
3. Important to recognize farmer motivations and
evaluate ‘success’ on their terms – e.g. lifestyle
and/or livelihoods maintenance; environmental
stewardship; slow paced growth and development.
– ‘profit sufficers’ rather than ‘profit maximisers’
Some new policy opportunities?
1. CAP post 2013
1. Rural Development measures e.g. knowledge transfer and
advisory services; quality schemes; business development
2. Member states can include “thematic sub-programmes”
within their main rural development programme,
dedicated to SFCs
3. The Co-operation Measure (Article 36 of the draft Rural
Development Regulation) explicitly offers support for:
– "horizontal and vertical co-operation among supply chain
actors for the establishment and development of short supply
chains and local markets" (Article 36 (2) (d));
– "promotion activities in a local context relating to the
development of short supply chains and local markets"
(Article 36 (2) (e)).
2. Urban Food Policies
• Dynamic role of cities in
shaping new LFS and SFCs –
either inside cities or on the
peri-urban fringe
• Creating new business
opportunities for rural
based producers to feed the
• Consumers are
concentrated in cities and
many express demand for
‘local’ food of clear origin,
sourced from a transparent
supply chain, which
guarantees a fair price to
the producer.
1. Need for comparative evaluations which can
reflect holistic contribution of LFS and SFCs to
rural and urban economies and communities.
2. Need to recognize different types of LFS and SFC
– which need different support and generate
different impact (e.g. urban CSA compared to on
farm shop).
3. Need to explore new policy opportunities and
drivers arising from reformed CAP as well as
urban food strategies.
you for your attention
Boyde, T (2001) Cusgarne Organics Local Money Flows; NEF and Countryside Agency
CPRE (2012)Mapping Local Food Webs National Report
Kneafsey, M. et al (2013) Short Food Supply Chains and Local Food Systems in the EU: A
State of Play – available on request
New Economics Foundation (2011) The Benefits of Procuring School Meals Through the Food
For Life Partnership
Renting et al (2003) Understanding Alternative Food Networks: Exploring the Role of Short
Food Supply Chains in Rural Development, Environment and Planning A 35: 393-411
Challenges for farms entering LFS and
1. Costs of direct marketing + lack of skills in
marketing (especially use of social media..)
2. Costs of distribution can hinder ‘spatially
extended’ SFCs
3. Provision of consistent quality and quantity
difficult for supply of large scale catering –
requires collaboration
4. Potential of cheaper imitations – play on
consumer interest in buying ‘local’
5. Large retailers mimic ‘short’ food chains – threat
to the smaller producers unable to supply

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