Scaling‐Up Alternative Food Networks

Journal of Social Philosophy 46 (4):434-448 (2015)
Alternative Food Networks (AFNs), which include local food and Fair Trade, work to mitigate some of the many shortcomings of mainstream food systems. If AFNs have the potential to make the world’s food systems more just and sustainable (and otherwise virtuous) then we may have good reasons to scale them up. Unfortunately, it may not be possible to increase the market share of AFNs while preserving their current forms. Among other reasons, this is because there are limits to both the productive capacities of small owner-operated farms and to the distribution capacities of Farmers Markets and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). These limits tell in favor of AFN partnerships with larger producers and distributors. But some advocates of AFNs have worried that these partnerships would sacrifice too much.
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DOI 10.1111/josp.12128
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