Home Volume 1, Issue 4 Money and Mission: Moving Food with Value and Values

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   THE RIGHT TO FOOD  

POWER, POLICY, AND POLITICS

IN THE 21ST CENTURY


June 16–17, 2015

Burlington, Vermont

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Money and Mission: Moving Food with Value and Values

by Adam Diamond1 and James Barham2

http://dx.doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2011.014.013, pp. 101-117

 

Abstract

In response to low margins in traditional commodity markets and consumer demand for decommodified food, food value chains have emerged in the last decade as strategies for differentiating farm products and opening new, more financially viable market channels for smaller farmers. These business networks incorporate strategic coordination between food producers, distributors, and sellers in pursuit of common financial and social goals. Our analysis of the aggregation, distribution and marketing functions of eight food value chains of diverse character across the United States reveals four summary findings that encapsulate the challenges and opportunities facing these business organizations: (1) private infrastructure investment should match the organizational stage of development and market capacities; (2) identity preservation is a critical market differentiation strategy; (3) informal networks can be highly effective tools for coordinating the marketing efforts of diverse agricultural producers; and (4) nonprofits and cooperatives both can play key roles in value chain development, but should recognize their organizational competencies and limitations.

 

Keywords: agriculture of the middle, farmer networks, food distribution, organizational development, regional food systems, value chains 

 

1 Corresponding author: Adam Diamond, Agricultural Marketing Specialist, United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service, Marketing Services Division, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Room 4004 – South, Washington, DC 20250-0266 USA; +1-202-720-8426; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

2 James Barham, Agricultural Economist, United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service, Marketing Services Division, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Room 4004 – South, Washington, DC 20250-0266 USA; +1-202-690-4077; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


 
 

Banner photos include a Cape Cod cranberry bog; a cranberry “screen house” used to grade fresh cranberries; farmland near Lake Placid, NY, in the Adirondack Mountains; Montmorency cherry trees on the Mission Peninsula of northern Michigan; the historic Round Barn in the South Mountain Apple Belt of Adams County, Pennsylvania; the “Sea of Grapes” district of the Lake Erie Concord Grape Belt, near Erie, Penn; a field of cabbages near Shortsville, NY, home to one of the world’s largest sauerkraut factories. All photos copyright by Duncan Hilchey.

 

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