Boundary Negotiations in a Self-Organized Grassroots-Led Food Network: The Case of REKO in Finland

Maria Ehrnström-Fuentes, Hanna Leipämaa-Leskinen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Self-organization is a term that is increasingly used to describe how engaged citizens come together to create sustainable food systems at the local community level. Yet, there is a lack of understanding of what this self-organizing activity actually means. While previous literature has addressed self-organization as an outcome of building consensus and a collective intentionality shared by the members of a group, we focus on the complex social processes involved when people with a diverse set of interests and motivations interact in the food network. In this study, we analyze what kinds of boundary negotiations emerge when grassroots-led food networks scale up. Our embedded single case study focuses on a REKO (‘REjäl KOnsumtion’, meaning ‘fair consumption’ in English) network in Finland comprising distributed local food groups and three types of actors: consumers, producers, and local administrators. We examine a conflict that arose within the REKO network in May–June 2016 when a small group of actors demanded that all local groups should implement similar rules, principles, and ethical standards. Our findings illustrate how moral, geographic, market, and power boundaries emerge in a self-organized grassroots-led food network. We further explicate the challenges that may appear within a self-organized grassroots-led food network, as it grows in scale and scope.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4137
Peer-reviewed scientific journalSustainability
Volume11
Issue number15
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
ISSN2071-1050
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31.07.2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed

Keywords

  • 512 Business and Management
  • alternative food network
  • boundary negotiation
  • grassroots innovation
  • food ethics
  • self-organizing community
  • sustainable food

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