Trust and the clean food imaginaries: an analysis of a short food supply chain from Romania
As concerns about food safety and environmental issues gain more attention in the public eye, organic labels are growing in popularity, being presented as the solution for a more sustainable and conscious food system. Yet, organic certificates did not manage to actively change the food system but merely created a niche to be exploited, thus many of the environmental-friendly practices being co-opted by corporations without addressing the larger issues of concern. This paper looks at how small producers, who are otherwise excluded from accessing the premium prices of organic food markets, can still seize community economic rent through the close relationship formed as part of a Community supported agriculture. Using a qualitative research methodology, based on semi-structured interviews and secondary data analysis, and drawing from Alternative food Networks literature, I am investigating one such alternative network from Romania called Peasant Box (Cutia Taranului) which re-spatialize the distribution chain, by creating a direct selling network between food producers and consumers. In my research I focused on the way in which both consumers and producers perceive the value of food and on the distinct discursive constructions regarding food, as either valued based on the place of origin (authenticity) or on the way it was produced (naturalness). Peasant Box operates outside formalised certification, the food is considered good by the virtue of trust, which is formed through the long-lasting relationship between consumers and producers.
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