Knowledge for better food systems

Conference: Alternative food supply networks in Central and Eastern Europe: Towards new grounds for interpretation and collaboration October 13-14, 2017, Riga, Latvia

The Baltic Studies Centre, in cooperation with the Latvian Academy of Culture is organising a scientific and practical conference Alternative food supply networks in Central and Eastern Europe: Towards new grounds for interpretation and collaboration. The organisers invite researchers and practitioners to submit papers exploring the diversity of food practices in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).

The conference aims to facilitate a systematic reflection of how alternative food networks in CEE are developed, practiced and theorised. The conference invites researchers from various disciplines (including but not limited to sociology, anthropology, cultural studies and humanities, geography, economics, creative industries and entrepreneurship, environmental studies) and practitioners engaged in alternative food initiatives to share insights on the evolving alternative food practices in CEE. The conference particularly – but not exclusively – encourages discussions on the following issues from theoretical, empirical, methodological, practical and policy perspectives:

  • Diversity of alternative food networks (AFNs): responses of alternative food supply networks to  societal demands and challenges, as well as dynamic food system contexts in CEE;
  • Cultural embeddedness: the role of culture, tradition and retro-innovation in maintaining and re-discovering the alternatives to conventional food supply chains; food as a symbol of national/ regional/ ethnic identity; food supply and consumption as experience;
  • Organisation of AFNs: actors of alternative food networks, their motivations, values, business models and organisational/legal incorporation,  and capabilities;
  • Theoretical approaches towards AFNs: strengths and weaknesses of the existing theoretical approaches and conceptualisations; the extent to which theories developed in one context may capture the peculiarities and role of AFNs in different contexts; theory development based on practical examples;
  • Forms of collaboration in AFNs: bottom-up initiatives, horizontal and vertical collaborations, emerging partnerships and institutional arrangements; forms of creative, social entrepreneurship in AFNs;
  • Governance and policy: governance of AFNs, including political recognition and emerging policy frameworks and instruments;
  • Food discourses: shifts in food interpretation discourses and the role of alternative food initiatives in these transformations;

The conference welcomes wide range of contributions – scientific papers, practitioner stories, video-presentations about AFNs, and other “alternative” formats.

If you have any questions, contact or

Additional information about the conference here.