Territorially based agrifood production in Denmar: Networks and structures

Monica Stoye (Foredragsholder)

Aktivitet: Foredrag og mundtlige bidragForedrag og præsentationer i privat eller offentlig virksomhed


Networks of small-scale food producers working with origin labelled products (OLP) is a new phenomenon in Denmark. In spring 2007 a national organisation ‘The Taste of Denmark' was established. This establishment was the main result of a joint project by nine regional networks covering whole Denmark and most of the many smaller local networks. Almost all these local and regional networks are very young with an average life span of about three years. The group of producers and the networks operate in the interface (cross-field) between agriculture, tourism and food industry.

The empirical basis of this study consists of two cases, where data are gathered through sequential participant observation of meetings and other communications covering a two-year period (start autumn 2006). The two cases are: a local network called ‘Wadden Sea Products' and the aforementioned national organisation ‘The Taste of Denmark'. The smallest entity of observation is the local network. Findings are structured through grounded theory. Focus is on common characteristics and structural choices taken (made) by the networks.

OLP are typically associated with a traditional kind of production in the Mediterranean countries where the superior product is differentiated from all other products by its special taste, identity and/or integrated cultural elements. Here long established administrative bodies structure, control and define the OLP, while well-established research environments follow and explain the development of the field. Several scholars summarise this as ‘Roman conventions' that can only partly explain the development of OLP in Northern Europe, as production structure, food culture and agrifood-history evidently differs between north and south.

The geographical embeddedness of the OLP approach also relates it to tourism research where the destination term is essential. In a much-related book on tourism and gastronomy (Hjalager & Richards 2002) Hjalager draws out a range of questions that are under-exposed in tourism research. Several of these questions touch on the organisational innovations that are conducted by the Danish producers of OLP right now. Management literature on e.g. networks, entrepreneurs, industrial development, innovation systems etc. explains very well the process where the producers form alliances to establish structures and frameworks for their production. However, this literature only rarely covers productions where the embeddedness in a geographically defined area is the focal point for the production.

I expect to be able to use my findings to interpret and discuss linkages between tourism literature on destination and management literature on entrepreneurship and networking and finally to relate this to the ‘Roman conventions' approach.

Periode21. jun. 2007
BegivenhedstitelPhD Seminar: "Using Networks in your Research". PhD Seminar on "Social Networks: Theory and Practice": null
PlaceringEsbjerg, Danmark