Money and Mission: Moving Food with Value and Values

  • Adam Diamond United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service
  • James Barham United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service
Keywords: Agriculture Of The Middle, Farmer Networks, Food Distribution, Organizational Development, Regional Food Systems, Value Chains

Abstract

In response to low margins in traditional commodity markets and consumer demand for decommodified food, food value chains have emerged in the last decade as strategies for differentiating farm products and opening new, more financially viable market channels for smaller farmers. These business networks incorporate strategic coordination between food producers, distributors, and sellers in pursuit of common financial and social goals. Our analysis of the aggregation, distribution and marketing functions of eight food value chains of diverse character across the United States reveals four summary findings that encapsulate the challenges and opportunities facing these business organizations: (1) private infrastructure investment should match the organizational stage of development and market capacities; (2) identity preservation is a critical market differentiation strategy; (3) informal networks can be highly effective tools for coordinating the marketing efforts of diverse agricultural producers; and (4) nonprofits and cooperatives both can play key roles in value chain development, but should recognize their organizational competencies and limitations.

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Author Biographies

Adam Diamond, United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service
Adam Diamond, Agricultural Marketing Specialist, United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service, Marketing Services Division, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Room 4004 – South, Washington, DC 20250-0266 USA; +1-202-720-8426.
James Barham, United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service
James Barham, Agricultural Economist, United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service, Marketing Services Division, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Room 4004 – South, Washington, DC 20250-0266 USA; +1-202-690-4077.
Published
2011-07-28
How to Cite
Diamond, A., & Barham, J. (2011). Money and Mission: Moving Food with Value and Values. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 1(4), 101-117. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2011.014.013
Section
Food Value Chains Call Papers