Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 53–67 | Cite as

Putting the farmer’s face on food: governance and the producer–consumer relationship in local food systems

  • Eleni PapaoikonomouEmail author
  • Matías Ginieis


Local food systems (LFSs) have grown in popularity around the world in recent years. Their framing often emphasizes the re-connection of producers and consumers against the “faceless” and “placeless” industrial agriculture. However, previous research suggests that such romanticized narratives may not keep up with reality. This relates to the transformative potential of LFSs and to whether they actually generate alternative modes of social organization that challenge problematic aspects of the food system. We place our focus on the practices and narratives that construct the producer/consumer relationship and show how these systems are governed. Our fieldwork was carried out in two LFSs in two distinct settings: community supported agriculture groups in NYC and responsible consumption communities in Catalonia, Spain. Three main types of practices and narratives are identified: sharing, negotiation and utilization practices, and narratives. Our findings reveal great heterogeneity between the two LFSs and show how intermediates participate in the producer/consumer relationship.


Local food systems Community supported agriculture Cooperatives Governance Producer–consumer relationship Practices 



Community supported agriculture


Local food systems


Responsible consumption cooperatives



The authors would like to thank the Tropical Agriculture and Rural Environment Program of the Earth Institute, Columbia University for their help and support during the data collection on CSAs.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rovira and Virgili UniversityTarragonaSpain

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