Vol. 9 No. 2 (2020): Economics of culture and food in evolving agri-food systems and rural areas
Full Research Articles

Exploring governance mechanisms, collaborative processes and main challenges in short food supply chains: the case of Turkey

Yaprak Kurtsal
University of Bologna
Emel Karakaya Ayalp
İzmir Democracy University
Davide Viaggi
University of Bologna

Published 2020-11-05


  • Short food supply chains,
  • local food systems,
  • collaborative governance,
  • alternative food networks,
  • governance challenges

How to Cite

Kurtsal, Y., Karakaya Ayalp, E., & Viaggi, D. . (2020). Exploring governance mechanisms, collaborative processes and main challenges in short food supply chains: the case of Turkey. Bio-Based and Applied Economics, 9(2), 201–221. https://doi.org/10.13128/bae-8242


There is a growing scientific interest and public debate on the potential contributions that Local Food Systems (LFS) and Short Food Supply Chains (SFSCs) can make towards overcoming sustainability challenges and creating societal impact. In the case of Turkey, where local agricultural systems are particularly vulnerable, lacking of resilience and innovative capacity, understanding the governance mechanisms of SFSCs would have strong implications for policy making. To this end, our aim in this study is to explore the mechanisms through which civil society driven SFSCs are governed in the city of Izmir (Turkey), referring to the actors involved in the process, institutional frameworks that are adopted and challenges experienced, that could inform policy discussions towards establishing more sustainable local food systems. In this direction, the questions we aim to answer are: (1) what are the mechanisms through which community level SFSCs are initiated and governed, (2) how collaboration takes place within these groups and through which processes, and finally (3) what the outcomes of these processes are, with respect to individual, community and local impacts experienced on the ground, and challenges associated with them. We use a descriptive case study methodology, to study seven SFSC initiatives (four food community networks, two farmers’ markets and a local shop) in the city of Izmir; and collect data through qualitative semi-structured in-depth interviews (41 with producers, 32 with consumers, 11 with coordinators and 5 with experts). Our findings suggest that different mechanisms are at play within our cases, depending on aspects including their governing structures and their way and purpose of operation. While farmers had difficulties relying solely on their income from these initiatives for their livelihoods, organizational challenges experienced by food communities were mainly related to difficulties associated to managing tasks on a voluntary basis. Moreover, arriving at a shared understanding about mutual goals, in addition to finding a way to include stakeholders in the process, were among the most prevalent challenges of all initiatives.


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