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Researching European ‘alternative’ food networks: some methodological considerations

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Recent European literature on ‘alternative’ food networks (AFNs) draws heavily upon an apparently accessible and diverse body of non-conventional food networks in the agro-food sector and whilst researchers frequently refer to individual examples of farmers markets, box schemes, producer cooperatives and community-supported agriculture projects, less attention is given to the methodological processes that facilitate the identification and examination of these networks. From the preliminary stages of a research project focusing on examples of AFNs, 2 this paper examines the process of operationalizing AFNs research and reviews the difficulties associated with identifying, comparing and characterizing AFNs.

Keywords: European; alternative food networks; methodology; producer–consumer relationships

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: West Midlands Regional Observatory, Birmingham B4 7XG, Email: 2: Geography Subject Group, Coventry University, Coventry CV1 5FB 3: Department of Geography, University of Hull, Hull HU6 7RX 4: Faculty of Continuing Education, Birkbeck College, University of London, London WC1E 7HX 5: Department of Sociology, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL

Publication date: September 1, 2006


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