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Abstract: As a response to limitations of the conventional food system, alternative food networks such as community supported agriculture and direct selling box schemes have emerged in Romania, involving close producer-consumer connections and an emphasis on local and organic produce. Through a multi-case study of two such networks in the city of Cluj-Napoca, their contribution to the establishment of a sustainable food paradigm has been explored. An important synergy within the networks was how good food is equated with peasant produce, but issues regarding quantity, delivery arrangement, power relations, and inclusiveness constituted potential conflicts. Although challenged by unfavourable trends on national and EU levels, the networks are becoming more embedded on a horizontal level, through an intrinsic focus on community in one case and through good quality food stimulating good relations in the other case. Alternative food networks in Cluj-Napoca contribute to a sustainable food paradigm by promoting agroecology, reclaiming socio-cultural factors of food provisioning, and being part of a (re)peasantisation process. To contribute further to a paradigm shift, the question is if actors within the networks can foster closer alliances, further emphasise the socio-cultural aspects of agri-food as well as recognise the broader political significance in their actions.
Keywords: alternative food networks; sustainable food paradigm; conventional food system; embeddedness; (re)peasantisation; Romania
Narrative step: Strategies for transformation Summary: