9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN12 Environment and Society

2009-09-03 15:30:00 2009-09-03 17:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 15:30 - 17:00 Food Chains and Network Building I, 1E6

Building sustainable local food networks in unsustainable environment as a lesson for post-transition countries. Case study from Poland

This paper will introduce topic of emerging alternative agro-food networks (AAFN) in post-transition countries. Recently, it can be observed growth of interest amongst rural sociologist in examination and promotion sustainable local food networks both in social practice and amongst research community. First research results shows serious differences between situation of traditional and organic farmers in post-transition countries and a more developed ones. Backwardness of post-transition societies in developing local food networks can be derived from three main sources: one is the cultural continuity disorder. Influence of modernization paradigm and a collective types of rural activities which dominate from 1945 to 1989 result in loss of traditional knowledge and skills by local farmers, processors and communities. Secondly, researchers observe strong influence of institutional frames on local activities. Public sector as a strongest actor hindering bottom up initiatives which lies in the heart of sustainable local food networks. The third cause comes from the social characteristic of post-transition societies. They can be described by the low level of social capital which makes common actions difficult to facilitate. Those challenges put in front of sociology in Eastern Europe questions about possible importance of sustainable local food networks and a patterns which can be used to strengthening local initiatives focused on them. Questions seems to be crucial because reaching far beyond just rural issues. Future development of sustainable local food networks can determine touch also future conditions of environment and its management. Sustainable food networks which support small farming and processing in opposite to farming industry can be seemed like a one of the most effective mechanism of preserving and protecting environment at micro scale at bringing nature protection activities closer to the community. With this paper author try to stance to described challenges and question, basing on the results of ongoing research project ?Facilitating Alternative Agro-Food Networks: Stakeholder Perspectives on Research Needs