The dilemma of scaling up local food initiatives: Is social infrastructure the essential ingredient?
Keywords:local food initiatives, scale, alternative food systems, sustainability
The purpose of this paper is to reflect on and compare two responses to the challenge of scaling up local food initiatives. Comparative case studies of the Good Food Box in the City of Edmonton and the Rimbey farmers’ market are used to examine the different strategies used to scale up their impacts as a means of providing a meaningful alternative to the status quo. Our findings suggest that investments in social infrastructure are crucial for maintaining the values and integrity of local food initiatives and also to highlight the challenges of doing so while in competition with the mainstream food system. Our research identifies how social infrastructure investments for local food initiatives can support radical and strategic incremental changes by managing the risk associated with transformative local food activities and provides opportunities for a reflexive approach to scale by identifying the levers and catalysts for broader change to ensure that investments in food system infrastructure are not made merely for the sake of scaling-up. Social infrastructure is identified as critical for building support for, and attention to, opportunities to scale out and develop connections, networks and partnerships for change beyond food.
How to Cite
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms: Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal. Work published in CFS/RCÉA prior to and including Vol. 8, No. 3 (2021) is licensed under the Creative Commons CC BY license. Work published in Vol. 8, No. 4 (2021) and after is licensed under the Creative Commons CC BY-SA license. Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work. (See more on Open Access.)