Project

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Alternative agro-food networks: innovative integration of sustainable eating habits and food production?

English title Alternative agro-food networks: innovative integration of sustainable eating habits and food production?
Applicant Fresia Marion
Number 145163
Funding scheme NRP 69 Healthy Nutrition and Sustainable Food Production
Research institution Institut d'Ethnologie Université de Neuchâtel
Institution of higher education University of Neuchatel - NE
Main discipline Ethnology
Start/End 01.01.2014 - 31.07.2017
Approved amount 192'034.00
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Keywords (6)

Agriculture; Alternative Agro-Food Network; Food habits ; Sustainability; Durabilité; Alimentation

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Parmi les filières agroalimentaires de proximité, l’agriculture contractuelle de proximité (ACP) représente un partenariat direct entre agriculteurs et consommateurs. Les initiatives d’ACP se sont développées en Suisse romande depuis une trentaine d’années sous forme de réseaux associatifs et coopératifs locaux. Elles proposent aux consommateurs un approvisionnement alimentaire sous la forme d’un abonnement à un lot de produits agricoles dont le prix, la quantité et la qualité sont prédéfinis.
Lay summary

Ces initiatives d’ACP reposent sur un projet commun : l’organisation d’un système alimentaire basé sur la proximité et intégrant des objectifs de durabilité, de solidarité et de participation. Basée sur trois études de cas approfondies, cette recherche  s’intéressera au fonctionnement de ces réseaux mais aussi aux changements de pratiques alimentaires et agricoles qu’ils suscitent potentiellement chez leurs participants. Premièrement, il s’agira d’examiner la création et l’organisation d’une initiative pour comprendre les spécificités du système. Deuxièmement, les impacts de l’inscription et de la participation à un réseau sur les habitudes alimentaires des consommateurs seront analysés en termes de choix notamment liés à la santé et à la durabilité. Troisièmement, la perspective des producteurs sera examinée quant aux conséquences du système ACP en terme de durabilité (aspects environnementaux, économiques et sociaux) de la production agricole.

Dans une perspective compréhensive, ethnographique et transversale, ce projet cherchera à comprendre comment les acteurs investissent et donnent sens à leurs pratiques aussi bien de production que de consommation dans ce contexte spécifique. Il s’agira de comprendre comment les impératifs et les contraintes liés à un comportement alimentaire et une production agricole (plus) durables peuvent être intégrés, appropriés et reformulés de manière créative et innovante.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 03.10.2013

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Among the diversity of food short supply chains, contract-based agriculture of proximity (ACP) takes the form of a direct producer - consumer partnership. ACP initiatives have developed in French-speaking Switzerland within the last thirty years as local associative and cooperative networks. They propose a food supply based on the consumer’s subscription that offers food delivery which rhythm, composition and quantity are predetermined.
Lay summary

These ACP initiatives are based on a common project: organising food supply based on proximity and integrating the aims of sustainability, solidarity and participation. Based on three case studies, this research will be interested in the way of functioning of these networks but also in the potential alimentary and agricultural changes they may cause for their participants. First, we will examine the creation and the management of the initiatives in order to highlight the specificities of the system. Second, we will analyse the impact of the network’s participation to the consumers’ food habits in terms of choices linked to health and sustainability issues. Third, the producers’ perspective will be taken into account especially on the level of the consequences of the ACP system on agricultural production in terms of sustainability (environmental, economical and social aspects).

Within a comprehensive, ethnographic and transversal perspective, this project aims to understand how the actors invest and attribute meanings to their production and consumption practices in this specific context. We will focus on understanding how the imperatives and constraints for (more) sustainable food habits and agricultural production may be integrated, appropriated and reformulated in a creative and innovative way.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 03.10.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
The Involvement of Community Supported Agriculture Networks in a Swiss Popular Initiative for Food Sovereignty
Vuilleumier Julien, The Involvement of Community Supported Agriculture Networks in a Swiss Popular Initiative for Food Sovereignty, in Desmarais Annette Aurélie , Claeys Priscilla and Trauger Amy (ed.).

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Agroscope Domaine de recherche Compétitivité et évaluation des systèmes 8356 Ettenhausen Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Bern University of Applied Sciences. School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Studies (HAFL) Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Conference : « Food utopias in Switzerland. Practices and narratives of transitions towards more sustainable food systems. » Talk given at a conference Contract, constraints and food as vectors of change in alternative food networks 07.06.2017 Université de Neuchâtel, Switzerland Fresia Marion; Forney Jérémie; Vuilleumier Julien;
IRSA XIV World Congress of Rural Sociology: Sustainable and Just Rural Transitions: Connections and Complexities Talk given at a conference The involvement of CSA networks for a Swiss popular initiative for Food Sovereignty 10.08.2016 Toronto , Canada Vuilleumier Julien;
XVIth European Society for Rural Sociology (ESRS) Congress - Places of possibility? Rural Societies in a Neoliberal World Talk given at a conference Contesting and inspiring the conventional food chains. What is the transformation potential of local contract farming initiatives ? 18.08.2015 Aberdeen, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Vuilleumier Julien;
SIEF 2015 12th Congress. Theme: Utopias, Realities, Heritages. Ethnographies for the 21st century Talk given at a conference « Between proximity and negotiation: modalities, issues and transformation potential of the food producers - consumers relationship in Swiss local contract farming 21.06.2015 Zagreb, Croatia Vuilleumier Julien;
Colloque International: Comment mangent les familles contemporaines ? 
Des parcours d’approvisionnement aux pratiques culinaires Talk given at a conference Agriculture contractuelle de proximité et transformation des habitudes et connaissances alimentaires 14.01.2015 Strasbourg, France Vuilleumier Julien;
Plateforme suisse d’agroécologie Talk given at a conference Redéfinir les liens producteurs – consommateurs : la place des paysans dans la stratégie alimentaire des villes 16.01.2014 Université de Neuchâtel, Switzerland Vuilleumier Julien;


Self-organised

Title Date Place

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Universität Zurich. Seminar qualitative Methoden. « Alternative food networks in practice : the case of Swiss local contract farming initiatives. » Performances, exhibitions (e.g. for education institutions) 06.03.2017 Zurich, Switzerland Vuilleumier Julien; Forney Jérémie;
Université de Neuchâtel. Cours Regard interdisciplinaire sur l’agroécologie. Alexandre Aebi. «De l'agriculture contractuelle au jardin collectif. Relations sociales, échanges et légumes. » Performances, exhibitions (e.g. for education institutions) 14.10.2016 Neuchâtel, Switzerland Vuilleumier Julien;
Université de Neuchâtel. Cours MA Environment and Agri-Food Systems. Jérémie Forney. « Alternatives 2: Agriculture contractuelle de proximité » Performances, exhibitions (e.g. for education institutions) 27.04.2016 Neuchâtel, Switzerland Vuilleumier Julien; Forney Jérémie;
Congrès de printemps 2014 Nutrinet Talk 07.05.2014 Bern, Switzerland Vuilleumier Julien;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Atelier de restitution aux acteurs (2) et formulation des recommandations 27.06.2017 Neuchâtel, Switzerland
Atelier de restitution aux acteurs 1: résultats préliminaires 19.03.2015 Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media En Suisse romande, l’agriculture contractuelle de proximité soutient la souveraineté alimentaire LaRevueDurable Western Switzerland 2017
Media relations: radio, television Food Utopias in Switzerland RTN, RFJ, RJB, Format A3 Western Switzerland 2017
Media relations: print media, online media L’agriculture contractuelle de proximité poursuit sa perpétuelle réinvention. Agri Western Switzerland 2017
Talks/events/exhibitions LES NOUVEAUX PAYSANS D'HIER ET D'AUJOURD'HUI: NEW FARMERS Exposition photographique et table ronde Western Switzerland 2017
Media relations: radio, television Les utopies alimentaires RTS La Première, Tribu Western Switzerland 2017
Media relations: radio, television Fruits et légumes hors saison, quelle salade! » RTS Un, A Bon Entendeur Western Switzerland 2016
Media relations: print media, online media Agriculture contractuelle : le succès des paniers ne se dément pas Terre & Nature Western Switzerland 2015
Talks/events/exhibitions Conférence Aliment’Action – Programme d’action cantonal Alimentation et Activité physique. « Agricu Western Switzerland 2015
Media relations: print media, online media Denrées de proximité Tribune de Genève Western Switzerland 2015
Media relations: radio, television Entre la chèvre et le chou! RTS La Première, Bille En Tête Western Switzerland 2015

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
157414 New directions in agri-environmental governance: re-assembling food, knowledge and autonomy 01.06.2015 SNSF Professorships

Abstract

This project is interested in innovative forms of agro-food system based on the principle of proximity. It proposes to approach these systems in an anthropological perspective with a specific focus on the consumer - producer’s relation. The research topic concerns a specific form of alternative agro-food system that has developed in Switzerland within the last 30 years: “agriculture contractuelle de proximité” (ACP) (contract-based agriculture of proximity). Indeed these initiatives associate consumers and producers in small associative structures with a common project: organizing food supply based on proximity, sustainability and economic solidarity. These movements will be studied by looking at the changes and impacts they have on the food habits of their members as well as on the agricultural production. This research will also analyze how these networks incorporate in their daily practices and ways of functioning their objectives of promoting and offering the conditions for sustainable food habits but also of improving the sustainability of agricultural food production and supply. The project will be articulated around three main research directions with the aim of understanding the ACP system in its organisation and its implications for the main concerned actors groups. First, we propose to examine the creation and organization of an initiative in order to understand how its members propose, create and manage it. Secondly, we will analyze the impacts of the subscription and participation in an alternative food network on the consumer’s food habits and practices. Thirdly, we will look more specifically at the producers’ perspective and the consequences of the ACP system in terms of its sustainability (environmental, economical and social aspects) and participation to the food production.The research on the ACP system in francophone Switzerland will be based on three case studies. The research plan will be based on an ethnographic fieldwork research of ACP networks. A comparative approach will be implemented in order to establish the emerging conditions and management practices of ACP networks in different contexts.This study shall allow us to understand the ACP system and its effective capacity to integrate both consumers’ and producers’ expectations, from a perspective of proximity, collaboration and participation of both parts. Our research will explore the potential relevance of the relation between producers and consumers in terms of acquaintanceship, dialogue and information exchange. It will highlight to what extent the simple mode of an association may reinforce sustainable alimentary habits on one hand as well as sustainable agriculture production on the other hand. Most importantly, the imperatives of a sustainable alimentary behaviour may be appropriated and reformulated in a creative way by these initiatives insofar as they consist in an innovative proposition of the consumption mode, associative engagement, commodity and practicality of food supply.
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