REFRAME

Promoting local food products in an urban environment

Thursday, January 10, 2019 - Published by Hein Braaksma
In 2018, master student Sara Smaal graduated at the Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research with her master thesis on relationships between urban restaurants and local suppliers and ways in which urban governments can support these relationships.
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In a time of rapidly spreading urban food governance, one stakeholder is often overlooked by academics and practitioners: the urban restaurant. The thesis from Sara Smaal aims to explore the type of urban restaurants engaged in local food procurement, the ways they communicate and maintain relations with their customers on the one hand and their local suppliers on the other, the issues urban restaurants and their local suppliers experience, and their views on roles for urban governments in supporting farm-to-restaurant relations.
To achieve this, the author has conducted semi-structured interviews with various urban restaurants and local suppliers in the city-region of Groningen (NL), a content analysis of urban restaurant menus, websites and social media pages, and a focus group with municipal officials involved in food policies and programmes in Groningen.

Although the participants are generally satisfied about and experience trust and reciprocity in the farm-to-restaurant relations they are involved in, the case-study also demonstrates that restaurants, suppliers and government officials can have very different needs in, conceptions of and motivations for promoting local food productsand that a severe gap can be identified between urban restaurants and the urban municipality with regard to communication and awareness of each other’s efforts and activities. The insights presented in this thesis may help to cultivate understanding amongst the various stakeholders and encourage urban restaurants and urban governments to join forces in promoting local food products in an urban environment.

Keywords:
local food systems (LFS); urban food governance; farm-to-restaurant relations; local food hub networks; perceived barriers; trust and reciprocity 

Sub-questions:

  1. What motivates urban restaurant chefs and managers to use and promote local food products in their restaurants?
  2. What frames and marketing techniques do urban restaurants use to promote local food products to their customers? 
  3. How do urban restaurant chefs and managers, and local farmers, producers and distributors experience trust and reciprocity in the farm-to-restaurant relations they are involved in? 
  4. What barriers do urban restaurant chefs and managers, and local farmers, producers and distributors experience in establishing and maintaining farm-to-restaurant relations? 
  5. How do urban government officials, urban restaurant chefs and managers, and local farmers, producers and distributors construct and value the role of urban governments in supporting farm-to-restaurant relations?

Contact information:

Sara.Smaal@ilvo.vlaanderen.be

Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research