Public food procurement from family farming: A food system and social network perspective

Gaitán-Cremaschi, Daniel; Klerkx, Laurens; Aguilar-Gallegos, Norman; Duncan, Jessica; Pizzolón, Alejandro; Dogliotti, Santiago; Rossing, Walter A.H.


There is promising evidence that public food procurement from family farming (PFPF) can serve as a powerful policy instrument in transitions towards more sustainable food systems. Despite the evidence around PFPF, there is lack of systemic and actor-oriented approaches analysing the relational and interactional dynamics among the multiple and diverse sets of actors in PFPF programs. In this paper, we address this gap by presenting an integrative framework that brings together food systems research, innovation studies and social network analysis, to assess the role of actor networks in PFPF. To illustrate the usefulness of the framework, we present the case of public procurement from family farming in Uruguay. We show how the framework has potential to: highlight the composition and diversity of networks of actors in PFPF; unravel individual and network barriers faced by actors in food systems; and, identify how interactions and (intermediary and brokerage) roles of network actors stimulate innovation or block the changes that are needed for PFPF to catalyse the transition towards sustainable food systems.