Organic food baskets


Background (completed research project)

Local contract farming (LCF) represents a direct partnership between farmers and consumers. Such initiatives have been developing in western Switzerland over the past thirty years as local cooperative and associative networks. They offer consumers a food supply in the form of a subscription to a range of local agricultural products, the price, quantity and quality of which are predefined. This project aims to gain a better understanding of how these networks work in Switzerland and their impact on the practices of consumers and producers.


All local contract farming initiatives rely on the same thing: a food system organised around proximity and incorporating sustainability, solidarity and participation objectives. This research will use three detailed case studies to describe how these networks work. It will also look at how they might change the food and agricultural practices of participants, whether farmers or consumers. First, the project will examine how such an initiative is created and organised to understand the system’s specific features. Then it will analyse how subscribing to and taking part in a network affects consumers’ eating habits in terms of the choices they make, especially in relation to health and sustainability. Finally, the project will consider the producers’ point of view and describe the consequences of this LCF system in terms of food production sustainability (environmental, economic and social aspects).


This project, conducted from a comprehensive, ethnographic and cross-disciplinary perspective, will seek to understand how those involved in the networks invest and give meaning to both their production and consumption practices in this specific context. It will also seek to understand how the requirements and constraints linked with (more) sustainable eating habits and food production might be integrated, accepted and reformulated in a creative and innovative manner.

Original title

Alternative agro-food networks: innovative integration of sustainable eating habits and food production?

Project leaders​

  • Prof. Dr. Marion Fresia, Universität Neuenburg
  • Prof. Jérémie Forney, Berner Fachhochschule
  • Dr. Julien Vuilleumier, Universität Neuenburg



Further information on this content


Prof. Dr. Marion Fresia Institut d’ethnologie Universität Neuenburg Rue Saint-Nicolas 4 2000 Neuenburg +41 32 718 17 10