Bridging the gap between food production and consumption : how alternative food networks forage the Berlin Foodscape

University essay from SLU/Department of Molecular Sciences

Abstract: Venturing into bridging the gap between food production and consumption, metropolitan Alternative Food Networks (AFNs) are increasingly gaining momentum in the Global North. Nevertheless, people interested and participating in these initiatives form a rather homogenous group of highly educated and better-off consumers. The aim of the study was to depict four different AFNs in the German capital city Berlin and to propose solutions to make AFNs and quality local food accessible to marginalised fringes of the population – especially low-income people – creating a sustainable food system in the Berlin area. Starting with a literature review about participation and inclusion in AFNs as well as concepts often referred to by AFNs such as food democracy, food justice, and food sovereignty, an overview is given about the academic landscape of AFNs. Taking the example of organisations intending to bring food production and food consumption closer to each other, their common jargon and their objectives were then analysed, preceding semi-structured interviews with representatives from these organisations. Interviews were also conducted with representatives of intermediary organisations, aiming at creating a sustainable foodscape in Berlin. The results from the interviews were coded and organised in themes, allowing to answer the research questions regarding drivers and hurdles for participation in AFNs and possible solutions for policy makers to foster a sustainable and inclusive foodscape in Berlin through adapted urban food policies. Four drivers for participation in AFNs could be provided by the research, along with hurdles and associated solutions for urban food policies to support AFNs in their inclusion strategies. The thesis indicates that inclusion cannot be achieved by the AFNs alone, but that substantial support from urban policies and societal framework change must materialise in order for more low-income citizens to access AFNs and local quality food.

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