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Contribution of short food supply chains to sustainability and health

Schmid, Otto ; Brunori, Gianluca; Galli, Francesca; van de Graaf , Pieter; Prior, Alistair and Ruiz, Roberto (2014) Contribution of short food supply chains to sustainability and health. In: Proceedings of the 11th European IFSA Symposium, 1-4 April 2014 in Berlin/Germany , IFSA - International Farming System Association - Europe Group, pp. 1247-1253.

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Online at: http://ifsa.boku.ac.at/cms/fileadmin/Proceeding2014/WS_2_5_Schmid.pdf


Short Food Supply Chains (SFSCs) are increasingly taken into consideration by policy and decision makers. In the European funded research project FOODLINKS an analysis of 19 cases was carried out in order to provide evidences on the diversity of SFSCs as well as to assess their contribution and potential to sustainability and health. SFSCs are varied in nature and practice. They exist in a range of forms in both commercial and non-commercial settings. In this paper a pair comparison of six different types of SFSCs was made: a) two “Face to Face initiatives; b) two proximate more complex SFSCs and c) also two spatially extended SFSCs. Key issues of the analysis were: activities, actors, type of products, area and territory, health and sustainability aspects, growth potential and innovation.
A special focus of the paper was on the contribution of SFCSs to health and sustainability.
Health & wellbeing: Some SFSCs have increased knowledge and concern about food amongst consumers and led to the adoption of healthier diets. The potential for healthier food in SFSCs is created by both formal measures (e.g. broad variety of fresh food, especially fruit and vegetables) and informal measures (communication to consumers), but cannot always be fully reached due to trade-offs with other characteristics.
Environmental: Many SFSCs have minimised the use of resources such as fossil fuel or packaging, and/or use of less polluting methods of production (e.g. organic farming). This of course may vary significantly between different Short Food Supply Chains.
Social: The direct relationship between producer(s) and consumer(s) has ensured fairness and trust in many SFSCs, more social inclusion of people. SFSCs also can contribute to revitalise local communities in multiple ways (e.g. working places, strengthening local networks).
Economic: SFSCs to which consumers are committed in a more long-term perspective have reduced economic uncertainties. They help to preserve small and medium farms. SFSCs increase or help re-circulate community income and create new jobs; however the degree and relevance might strongly differ between SFSCs.
We can conclude that the degree of sustainability varies among different types of SFSCs, their products, locations etc. Also various participants in SFSCs may interpret sustainability differently and experience different impacts. Short food supply chains (SFSCs) can act as a driver of change and a method to increase sustainability, trust, equality and growth in agricultural, food, business, social, health and rural policy areas. Therefore they are of growing interest to policy makers.

EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Paper
Keywords:Short food supply chains, sustainability, environment, social benefits, economic performance, health
Subjects: Food systems > Food security, food quality and human health
Food systems > Markets and trade
Food systems
Food systems > Produce chain management
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Sustainability
European Union > Other projects, departments, etc.
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Socio-Economics > Agripolicy
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Socio-Economics > Market
H2020 or FP7 Grant Agreement Number:265287
Related Links:http://ifsa.boku.ac.at/cms/fileadmin/Proceeding2014/WS_2_5_Schmid.pdf
Deposited By: Schmid, Otto
ID Code:26821
Deposited On:10 Sep 2014 15:00
Last Modified:10 Sep 2014 15:00
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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