• Anna Pries
Increasing urbanisation has led to an increased focus on rural development. This is seen in rural policies building on the place-based approach of The New Rural Paradigm which emphasises the activation of place-bound potential and human engagement as drivers for local development.
This thesis concerns the development of a local food network in a Danish, rural municipality. Two different initiatives, a municipal strategy and the vision of a local enthusiast, are analysed and compared. The aim is to explore the possibilities for building the food network as well as to determine whether this network can be a driver for local, rural development. The empirical data consist of one focus group conducted with residents of the local community and six semi-structured interviews carried out with the initiators of the food network, local producers and a local supermarket manager.
The findings suggest a general interest in participation in the food network among the local producers, consumers and the retail representative. Local food and selling locally is valued mainly because of the close relationship between the producer and the consumer. In order to target a wide consumer group and include all farmers in the area, the network needs to include both organic and conventional products. Moreover, internal communication is important to avoid conflict and loss of motivation among the involved actors. The local food network can strengthen the cohesion, community feeling and collective identity in the local community leading to a sense of belonging among the locals. Moreover, the network can function as a symbolic meeting place and reconnect the local people. Conclusively, the local food network can add to the social aspect of life quality in the local, rural community.
Regarding the two initiatives, the municipal strategy failed to mobilise the locals, whereas the local initiative has better chances of bringing the network to life. However, massive support is needed from the municipality in the form of counselling, finances, and possibly project management in order to build a resilient network and generate local, rural development.
ID: 275109695