Culture & History Digital Journal, Vol 5, No 1 (2016)

Geographies of Origin and Proximity: Approaches to Local Agro-Food Systems


https://doi.org/10.3989/chdj.2016.002

Javier Sanz-Cañada
Institute of Economics, Geography and Demography (IEGD). Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Spain

José Muchnik
Until 2013 French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA). Department of Science for Action and Development (SAD)/ UMR Innovation, France

Abstract


The present paper aims to provide a critical review with respect to the literature on Local Agro-Food Systems (LAFS) in America and Europe over the last two decades, devoted to investigating the geographies of the relationships between territory and identity-based food products. In studies on LAFS, the concept of origin of food products is based upon a historical and bio-cultural analysis of food identity. Debates on territorial anchorage focus on the causal factors —natural, cultural and socio-economic— that a distinctive territory imprints on the specific attributes of identity-based foods. Moreover, the notion of geographical and organisational proximity aligns with a socio-cultural and economic approach to collective action aiming at rural development. A LAFS implies a certain spatial density and a network of mutually cooperating farms, firms and institutions, specialised in producing and marketing an identity-based food product, what can in turn be used to valorise the food identity both on the markets and also by contributing to the creation of common and public goods. A transdisciplinary view is required both for comprehending the emergence and evolution over centuries of the identity-based foods and also for understanding the role they play in constructing more sustainable rural development in the future.

Keywords


identity-based foods; terroir; territorial anchorage; local governance; knowledge; local networks; America; Europe

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