Local organic food markets: Potentials and limitations for contributing to sustainable development

Sigrid Stagl*

*Corresponding author for this work

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


The agro-industrial food production is currently facing a number of problems. BSE, GMO and illegal medication of animals caused anxiety among consumers. They are urging producers to rethink common production methods and policy makers to re-evaluate public support schemes. It has already been for decades though that a number of producers and consumers were searching for alternatives by maintaining or re-establishing local food markets because they were dissatisfied with the large scale, regionally concentrated food production, processing and distribution system. Food co-operatives, farmers' markets, community supported agriculture (CSA) groups among others were formed in order to provide consumers with organic and locally grown food. They aim to revitalise local food economies and to protect the environment. Many producers and consumers view local groups and initiatives as promising alternatives to an unsustainable globalising agro-industrial food production system. This paper addresses the question which contributions local food markets are capable of making to sustainable development and where their limitations are in this respect. The analysis focuses on local food markets of the CSA type which are found as a means to increase both responsiveness to consumer needs and sustainability, but of limited reach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-162
Number of pages18
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

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