Final Meeting, Brussels, 22 June 2006

- Programme
- Main findings: Sustaining food chains (leaflet)
Leaflet 'Sustainable food chains'

New Publication:

Nourishing Networks - Fourteen lessons about creating sustainable food supply chains

Project Synopsis

Marketing sustainable agriculture: an analysis of the potential role of new food supply chains in sustainable rural development

(Contract no. QLK5-CT-2002-01349)

SUSCHAIN is a research project co-financed by the European Commission, which runs from the beginning of 2003 to the end of 2005. It brings together a multi-disciplinary team of sociologists, economists and marketing experts from seven leading European universities paired with NGOs, which are active in the field of sustainable food production and marketing. The project is managed by Dr Han Wiskerke of the Rural Sociology Group of Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands.

The work is being undertaken at a time when issues of food quality and sustainable rural development have emerged as central concerns in the future development of food and farming at European level. These concerns are likely to lead to different outcomes in different countries, conditioned partly by the different structures of food supply chains, but also shaped by the nationally and regionally distinctive demands and the different disturbances and crises that have become a common feature of the agro-food system in developed countries.

The SUSCHAIN project will contribute to the debate about the future direction of change in the agro-food sector and the connection between food supply chains and sustainable rural development. Through close collaboration with NGO partners, the project will use case studies to explore what has been achieved in breaking down the bottlenecks to enhanced sustainability in agro-food chains. It will recommend actions to enhance sustainability, including consideration of the organisational structure of the food chain and interactions between different actors.

The research team seeks to engage a range of stakeholders along the food chain in dialogue. The research methods include comparative analysis of food supply chain structures and consumer demand changes, in-depth case studies, and a range of workshops with key actors. The engagement with the key actors and experts in industry and NGOs relating to the food chain is a central feature of the project.