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What is Conventional Food System

Handbook of Research on Agricultural Policy, Rural Development, and Entrepreneurship in Contemporary Economies
Those types of food production and distribution which have come to dominate the market, manifesting a heavy reliance on industrialized methods of food production, processing and distribution, long or very long supply chains, and an imperative toward operational efficiency. In the conventional food system the power is concentrated in the hands of a restricted number of large corporations.
Published in Chapter:
Cautious Entrepreneurship: Strategies and Business Orientation of Small-Scale Farmers in the Alternative Food Economy
Raffaele Matacena (University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9837-4.ch004
Employing qualitative empirical data collected in Italy and England for a doctoral research on small-scale primary food producers in the alternative food economy, this chapter provides an interpretation of the peculiar nature of the entrepreneurialism that characterizes those small-scale farmers who entrust their economic reproduction (at least partially) to short, direct supply chains and alternative food networks (AFNs). The chapter summarizes the strategies implemented by farmers to ‘go alternative' as well as the subsequent transformation of growing and business practices that such a process entails, for then comparing the researcher's empirical results with four studies on farmers' entrepreneurialism. Issues of care, trust, change-orientedness, risk-taking, lifestyle, and autonomy are discussed, and farmers' entrepreneurial spirit is found to be cautious, due to the interplay of a traditional farming business orientation, a more pronounced relational disposition, and the characteristics and requirements of the alternative economy in which farmers are embedded.
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