Direct Food Chains

Direct food chains consist of many interconnected links that need to fit in each other. Direct food chains can be short distance, for example vegetables from a local farmer or long distance, for example cacao or coffee for European consumers.

Our publications on Direct Food Chains

Biocentrism and Buen Vivir: Social innovation and resignification of socioeconomic practices within a food value chain in the global south, article in English, WORK IN PROGRESS.

Lorena Pérez-García, Gustavo Hernández, Henkjan Laats. 2021.

Based on the concept of social learning, this paper focuses on the experience of South American cacao producers and their interaction with local, national, and international actors, who share concerns regarding increased local income, protection and improvement of biodiversity, safeguarding traditional knowledge and rights, climate resilience and sustainable agricultural development. The analysis focuses on the cacao value chain in Peru, paying particular attention to the way in which post-development biocentric paradigms such as ‘Buen Vivir’ is framed in a continuum for collective construction of knowledge, social learning, and its implication for inclusive business.

Respuestas agroecológicas para la resiliencia climática. Dos experiencias en Costa Rica, article in Spanish.

Natalia López Espinoza. Margo Potma. 2020. LEISA revista de agroecología.

Este artículo investiga dos comunidades costarricenses que aplican una lógica de agroforestería que incluye el cultivo de cacao. En este contexto, ¿son estos sistemas agroforestales alternativas viables para enfrentar los efectos del cambio climático?

Blockchain to restore trust in food supply chains? A case study in the cacao sector of Costa Rica, article in English.

Margo Potma. 2019.

When it comes to food, our demands are high. We want good quality food, sustainably grown, locally sourced, fairly traded and if possible, a bit affordable. But reality is tough: the social and ecological impact of food production remains unabatedly high, while transparency and accountability are clearly insufficient to change course. In this article, I search for new trade systems for food supply chains that operate differently from the conventional systems, in an attempt to ultimately make supply chains more sustainable, transparent and fair. To provide a basis for this examination, I will present a case study on cacao production in the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica.

Direct food chains: examples of new commons in an era of transitions?, article in English.

Henkjan Laats. 2017. IASC 2017 ConferencePracticing the commons: Self-governance, cooperation, and institutional change.

After applying Ostrom’s design principles, three cases of direct trade in Amsterdam show that they can be considered as (new) commons. Two cases -FoodCoopNoord and the Czaar Peterstraat- are locally embedded, while a third case -the Chocoladekaravaan- includes the transport of chocolate from Grenada to Amsterdam. They are all examples of transition economy. Because of their ethic character new challenges arise on aspects such as inclusiveness, quality of life and sustainability. Taking into account their uniqueness, complexity and innovative character, blueprints will not work. Bottom-up initiatives are crucial. Furthermore, the studied commons show the importance of structure and trust. Although in two of the three cases authorities do not support the commons, it is suggested that a promotional role of authorities is essential for the increase of new commons.