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Ecological embeddedness in animal food systems (re-)localisation: A comparative analysis of initiatives in France, Morocco and Senegal

Baritaux V., Houdart M., Boutonnet J.P., Chazoule C., Corniaux C., Fleury P., Lacombe N., Napoléone M., Tourrand J.F.. 2016. Journal of Rural Studies, 43 : p. 13-26.

DOI: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2015.11.009

Localised animal food systems tend to be perceived as more environmentally sustainable than non-localised systems. However, these initiatives span a diverse array of projects, and the way ecological issues are considered may vary greatly depending on the actors and systems involved. With re-localisation of food chains considered a way of fostering sustainable development, this diversity should prompt a closer look at the real environmental dimension of sustainable development through livestock farming. In order to understand better how food system re-localisation trends can support environmentally sustainable development, this paper analyses the importance and place that the environmental issues may hold in localised animal food systems. We mobilize the concept of 'ecological embeddedness' to help consider how, why and to what extent natural environment influences development and shapes relationships between agents within food networks. We use the analytical framework developed by Morris and Kirwan (2011) to compare five initiatives designed to differentiate animal food products by linking their qualities to the place of production in three countries: France, Morocco, and Senegal. The comparison of the way food-systems stakeholders understand, realise, utilise, and negotiate the ecological dimensions of food production shows three different forms of ecological embeddedness depending on the way the ecological dimensions of production are linked with environmental protection issues. The first form corresponds to the Moissac case in which practices linked with ecology are very consciously highlighted as environmentally-friendly practices. The second form reflects cases in which environmentally-friendly practices and values associated to ecology exist and are highlighted through their impact on products quality, not as participating in environment protection. The third form concerns the Senegalese case in which food systems seem to be engaged in a process of ecological 'dis-embeddedness'. Finally, the comparison of different cases underlines the non-systematic coexistence between Localised Food Systems and ecological embeddedness. The ¿broad¿ systemic approach adopted here also unlocks insight into the ecological embeddedness of food systems. This analysis of collective initiatives involving different stakeholders led to consider the roles they can play in shaping the ecological embeddedness of the livestock food systems.

Mots-clés : alimentation des animaux; système d'élevage; développement durable; aliment pour animaux; provenance; Étude de cas; système de production; france; maroc; sénégal; développement local

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