, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 279-283

Understanding agri-food networks as social relations

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Abstract

Actor network theory and supply chainmanagement theory provide suggestive researchdirections for understanding regional agri-foodnetworks. These theories claim that relationshipsbased upon trust and cooperation are critical to thestrength and vitality of the network. This means thatexploring and detailing these relationships among thesuppliers, producers, workers, processors, brokers,wholesalers, and retailers within specific regionalgeographies of these networks are critical forfurthering cooperation and trust. Key areas ofcooperation include resource sharing andapprenticeship programs. Employing food networks as akey unit of contextual analysis will deepen ourunderstanding of how to enhance their resiliency andvibrancy. Important questions can be raised about thedifference gender makes for farmers, brokers,entrepreneurs, and workers in local food networks.