Little R, Maye D, Ilbery B, 2010, "Collective purchase: moving local and organic foods beyond the niche market" Environment and Planning A 42(8) 1797 – 1813
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Collective purchase: moving local and organic foods beyond the niche market
Ruth Little, Damian Maye, Brian Ilbery
Received 17 February 2009; in revised form 15 October 2009; published online 17 May 2010
Abstract. The authors draw attention to the creative possibilities offered by collective purchase as a mechanism to move local and organic foods beyond the niche market. The food-buying group and cooperative style of food purchasing has received only scant reference in the alternative food and ethical consumption literatures, but it offers much in terms of historical context and future lessons for growth in the sector. ‘We can do it better’ is an experimental ethic of the 1960s and 1970s counterculture, but it resonates strongly with the present-day ‘alternatives’ associated with the local and organic food movement. The authors use Gibson-Graham’s notion of ‘diverse economies’ to examine selected buying groups and food cooperatives in North America, Europe, and Japan. The results reveal a highly pixilated and evolving mix of motivations and ethics. The ‘ideology first, practicalities later’ approach appears to be a powerful influence, symbolising the ‘becomingness’ of ethical purchasing in these contexts.
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