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‘Like the Stem Connecting the Cherry to the Tree‘: The Uncomfortable Place of Intermediaries in a Local Organic Food Chain

Abstract : Producers' platforms are wholesale sales outlets for ‘local’ foods developed in the French organic sector to reclaim the success of mainstream organic distribution for its founders. This article examines four platforms in southeastern France (akin to ‘food hubs’ in North America) to understand the sociological stakes for the establishment of a local organic intermediary sales structure. The two-year study used semi-directive interviews and participant-observation of platform and institutional actors, who widely consider platforms to be ‘short food supply chains’ (circuits courts). The question of direct interaction between farmers and buyers was touchy for platform participants, manifesting itself in a discomfort with ‘intermediaries’ and in a debate over who should assure deliveries. By evoking the ‘short chain’ label platforms assimilate themselves with direct sales, distinguishing themselves as the ‘real’ organic, as opposed to newcomers profiting from the organic ‘trend’. In the process, actors frame and adapt to organic sector evolutions in a way that is consistent with their awkward position as activists making a living off their cause.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-02641491
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Submitted on : Thursday, May 28, 2020 - 5:06:58 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, November 23, 2021 - 2:04:15 PM

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Juliette Rogers, Magalie Fraszczak. ‘Like the Stem Connecting the Cherry to the Tree‘: The Uncomfortable Place of Intermediaries in a Local Organic Food Chain. Sociologia Ruralis, Wiley, 2014, 54 (3), pp.321-340. ⟨10.1111/soru.12041⟩. ⟨hal-02641491⟩

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