Case studies on food networks

We completed case studies on food networks. Our research proved that food networks can contribute a lot to diversifying the food systems. They are very diversified themselves and enrich food systems by creating new opportunities to produce, purchase and distribute food.

For example, in Poland we examined 3 food networks operating in the Krakow area. First of them was established by young citizens, who looked for good quality local food. It is an informal organization, but it is also very stable as it has operated since 2012. This cooperative is a non-profit organization that bases on voluntary work of its members.

Another food network has similar goals and it was also established by citizens worrying about the quality of their food. But there are also differences. This food network is a legally registered NGO. It associates farmers who deliver food to local dwellers. It employs workers to take care of the whole process of ordering food, acquiring it from farmers and distributing it. Its headquarter is located in the countryside which proves that food networks can develop also outside big cities.

The third food network examined by the Polish team is the NGO that manages the local food market. This organization carefully selects farmers who offer high-quality organic products. They are allowed to sell their products to Krakowians on a special market. It connects customers and food producers, but also plays another important role. It creates physical space where people can meet. It changes the landscape of the city, but in the same it changes its foodscape, too.

We assessed the innovative potential of 3 food networks in each partner country. We looked for information about food networks’ agendas, their histories, internal structures and models of internal and external communication. As we can see, these organizations add new elements to the food systems. They have great potential to generate further innovations making them more diverse. Thanks to this research we will develop tools for Living Labs engaging food network’s representatives in experimenting with food diversity.

The project was co-financed by the NCBR, BMEL, MIPAAF, RCN and DEFRA within the framework of ERA-NET SUSFOOD and ERA-NET CORE Organic Cofund Joint Call program