An Overview of Critical Issues of Alternative Food Networks in the Global Context

Journal of China Agricultural University (Social Science Edition). 2018, 4:127-135. (in Chinese)

The industrialization of agriculture and food industry around the globe has resulted in increasingly severe environmental, economic and social consequences, such as environmental pollution, large quantity of carbon emission, food safety crisis, the marginalization of smallholders and the sustainability of their livelihoods. To cope with these challenges, different stakeholders have initiated various alternative food networks such as community supported agriculture, farmers’ market, buying club and community gardens. After a decade since its emergence in China in 2009, alternative food networks have developed into diverse initiatives across the country. However, Chinese scholars have paid relatively limited attention to its development in the global context. This paper provided an overview of the critical issues and concepts of alternative food networks in the global context through elaborations on their emergence and development, alternativeness, differences between Chinese and western initiatives, and critical scholarly perspectives. The paper hopes to contribute to the development of research in alternative food networks in China.

Zhenzhong Si, Ning Dai, Danshu Qi