, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 281-303

Sustainability and New Models of Consumption: The Solidarity Purchasing Groups in Sicily

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Abstract

European society, with its steadily increasing welfare levels, is not only concerned with food (safety, prices), but also with other aspects such as biodiversity loss, landscape degradation, and pollution of water, soil, and atmosphere. To a great extent these concerns can be translated into a larger concept named sustainable development, which can be defined as a normative concept by). Sustainability in the food chain means creating a new sustainable agro-food system while taking the institutional element into account. While different concepts of sustainability abound, in recent years, spontaneous groups of consumers called solidarity purchase groups (SPG) have been developing. In short, they are characterized by an economy that is not necessarily local, but ethical and equitable, where social and economic territorial relations tend to develop districts and networks. One of the main characteristics of a SPG is the direct relationships between small farms and their customers; a relationship that is characterized by consumer participation and farmer specialization. This study aims to address issues related to organizational frameworks, at farm and chain level, and to assess those elements that lead to consumer choice and satisfaction.