Social innovation in alternative food networks. The role of co-producers in Campi Aperti
Marco Alberio (UQAR, CRISES) et Melissa Moralli (Université de Bologne, Italie)
In recent years, alternative food networks are emerging as alternative solutions to the mainstream food industry. These innovative ways of producing, delivering and consuming food can lead to new opportunities but also challenges for social analysis. On the one hand, they reveal new reflexive and resilience capacities that show social actors’ creativity in re-organising their activities as a response to the recent socioeconomic transformations.
On the other hand, the relations between producers and consumers are being reshaped through practices, narratives and actions from both the field of production and of consumption. Considering the prosumer as an emblematic figure of the current social economic configuration, which is strongly characterised by hybridisation, our paper explores the relation between contemporary social movements, social innovation and alternative food networks. Drawing upon the concept of social innovation conceived through a territorial approach, we will examine the locally embedded creative capacity of social groups in the field of organic food production, distribution and consumption. Empirical data from an Italian case study, Campi Aperti, will allow us to show how the issue of food sovereignty is addressed by small-scale local actors. In this paper, we use the case study to critically reflect on the rearrangement and networking of the producer-consumer relation and inter- action, as well as the constraints these actors experience. We conclude by illustrating how such local initiatives
may contribute to the promotion of political activism able to transform collective voice into alternative social practices, hence creating new meanings and narratives.