Beyond the Farmer and the Butcher: Institutional Entrepreneurship and Local Meat
Keywords:Institutional Entrepreneur, Local Food Systems, Local Meat Processing, Local Meats, Local Poultry, Professional Structures, Reference Networks, Small Farms, Small Meat Processors
AbstractIncreased demand for local food has led to calls for additional supply-chain infrastructure to move products from farm to market. Meat and poultry are highly perishable, rigorously regulated products that require a complex chain, and processing is often said to be the weak link for local meats. Commitment from producers and meat buyers is essential to the persistence and expansion of processing capacity, but nonmarket actors can provide critical technical support and facilitate innovation that strengthens this sector. We present four collaborative efforts, three regional and one national, that focus on processing with the goal of expanding the local meat sector. These efforts harness the experience and expertise of a variety of partners, both public-sector and private, and provide information, guidance, and direct technical assistance. They also collaborate and cooperate with each other in a national peer-learning community, sharing and generating innovative knowledge, tools, and strategies. Tentative evidence of increased processing capacity, producer access to processing, and local meats marketing, while certainly not solely attributable to these efforts, suggests their value.
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