The value of values-based supply chains: farmer perspective

Hikaru Hanawa Peterson, Gail Feenstra, Marcia Ostrom, Keiko Tanaka, Christy Anderson Brekken, Gwenael Engelskirchen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

In the last few decades, the emergence of mid-scale, intermediated marketing channels that fall between commodity and direct markets has attracted growing interest from scholars for their potential to preserve small and mid-sized farms while scaling up alternative agrifood sourcing. When such mid-scale supply chains are formed among multiple business partners with shared ethics or values related to the qualities of the food and the business relationships along the supply chain, they may be termed “values-based supply chains (VBSCs).” Most of the research on VBSCs to date has relied primarily on a case study approach that investigates the performance of VBSCs from the perspective of VBSC founders or leaders. In contrast, this research seeks out the perspectives of farmers who participate in VBSCs. A nationwide farmer survey conducted in 2017 offers original insights on farmer motivations for participating in VBSCs and how they are being used by farmers relative to other marketing channels. We find that VBSCs serve farms of all sizes. Overall, smaller farms were more likely to market a higher percentage of overall sales through their VBSC and more likely to rank their VBSC as one of the top three marketing channels in their portfolio. But it was the larger farms that were more likely to perceive VBSC-specific benefits. Our findings confirm that while there is a limited volume of product that such regional supply chains can currently handle, farmers view VBSCs as a valuable marketing option that aligns with their own values and preserves their product’s identity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-403
Number of pages19
JournalAgriculture and Human Values
Volume39
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Agriculture and Food Research Initiative of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Grant No. 2015-68006-25646.

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), U.S. Department of Agriculture, Grant No. 2015-68006-25646. We express our deepest gratitude to the farmers who returned surveys, the VBSC leaders who shared their farmer lists, and the project advisers, whose input made this work possible. We would also like to thank our funders and colleagues from the USDA NIFA multistate research group NC 1198: Renewing an Agriculture of the Middle: Value Chain Design, Policy Approaches, Environment, and Social Impacts, whose ongoing efforts and comradery inspire and inform the research.

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), U.S. Department of Agriculture, Grant No. 2015-68006-25646. We express our deepest gratitude to the farmers who returned surveys, the VBSC leaders who shared their farmer lists, and the project advisers, whose input made this work possible. We would also like to thank our funders and colleagues from the USDA NIFA multistate research group NC 1198: Renewing an Agriculture of the Middle: Value Chain Design, Policy Approaches, Environment, and Social Impacts, whose ongoing efforts and comradery inspire and inform the research.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

Keywords

  • Agriculture of the middle
  • Alternative food systems
  • Identity preserved foods
  • Intermediated markets
  • Regional food systems
  • Small and mid-sized farms
  • Values-based supply chains

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science

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