Growing through Connections – A Multi-Case Study of Two Alternative Food Networks in Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Josefin Smeds


In a context of urgent global socio-ecological challenges, the aim of this paper has been to explore the potential of localised and socially connected food systems. More specifically, through a multi-case study of two alternative food networks in the city of Cluj-Napoca, Romania, their contribution to a sustainable food paradigm has been explored. An important synergy within the networks is how good food is equated with peasant produce, but issues regarding quantity, delivery arrangement, power relations and inclusiveness constitute potential conflicts. Although challenged by unfavourable trends on national and EU levels, the networks are becoming more embedded horizontally, through an intrinsic focus on community in one case and through quality food stimulating good relations in the other case. The networks contribute to a sustainable food paradigm by promoting agroecology, by reclaiming socio-cultural factors of food provisioning and by being part of a (re)-peasantisation process. Exploring how these kinds of initiatives can emerge, be sustained and be developed is of relevance, especially considering their potential for improving the prospects of environmentally sustainable and socially just futures in Romania and beyond. 

Key words: Conventional food system; sustainable food paradigm; embeddedness

Data of the article 

First received: 30 September 2014 | Last revision received: 15 December 2014; Accepted: 16 December 2014 | Published online: 12 March 2015


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