[ICDE paper] Food Commons: Nurture vs. Capture

Cite this Paper:
de Cler, Anne-Pauline. 2024. “Food Commons: Nurture vs. Capture.” Institute for the Cooperative Economy. New York City.

“Food Commons: Nurture vs. Capture” by Anne-Pauline de Cler explores the challenge of scaling local food systems against the backdrop of rising food prices and market domination by a few large agri-food corporations, highlighting the detrimental impact on both workers and consumers. It critiques the optimism around the platform economy’s potential to disrupt agricultural monopolies, pointing out that digital platforms often reproduce exploitative dynamics. The paper uses the Open Food Network (OFN) as a case study, exploring its role in supporting short food supply chains through digital platforms in the US and France. These platforms demonstrate the potential for fostering equitable food systems by enabling small-scale producers to expand market shares and improve efficiency. Despite facing challenges like competition and the need for economic viability, the OFN showcases the importance of cooperation, digital infrastructure, and democratization in transforming local food systems. The paper positions these platforms as part of a movement towards more sustainable and inclusive food economies, emphasizing the need for networks and collective action to scale and impact change.

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About Anne-Pauline de Cler