Local Food Supply Chains in Alberta

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 Purpose of the research
To profile the local food system in Alberta through a series of case studies.

Intended Audience
Producers, Industry Development Specialists, Policy Development Practitioners, Food System Planners/Analysts, Value Chain Specialists and Statistics Survey Developers.

Methodology of the research
Case studies are especially appropriate for exploratory analysis, and allow for refinement of ideas.
This methodology allows researchers to uncover new observations within and among supply chain types, not only to address research questions but also to generate new hypotheses and questions for future study.
Though a small group of case studies may not fully represent the culture and diversity that characterize local food supply chains in Alberta, they can increase knowledge of how local food supply chains operate and benefit producers and communities.
Case study methodology looks intensely at an individual or small participant pool, drawing conclusions only about that participant or group and only in that specific context. Caution should be applied to not focus on the discovery of universal or generalizable truths (i.e research findings and conclusions from a study conducted on a sample population that can be applied to the population at large), instead emphasis should be placed on exploration and description.

Value of the study
This study created a research framework that is able to encompass all forms of supply chains existing in the local food system and describe the economic activities performed by each supply chain participant.
This study followed similar research methodology and the same supply chain performance indicators as the USDA study (ERS#99), which allows benchmarking against the U.S. results.

Case studies reports
Case Studies from the Differentiated Beef Sector (Becky Lipton Research & Consulting Ltd., 2011)
Case Studies from the Saskatoon, Potato and Lamb Sectors (Resilient Solutions Consulting, 2012)
Case Studies of Cabbage Value Chains (Serecon Management Consulting Inc, 2012)

    Disclaimer and Permission to Use
    These case study reports are part of the above-titled publication, and are provided in PDF format for educational use. They may be copied and reproduced for personal use only. For all other purposes, permission must first be obtained from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF). The responsibility for opinions and factual matter as expressed in these reports rests solely with their authors. These reports do not constitute endorsement by AF of the expressed opinion, nor affirmation of the accuracy of information herein provided.

This study covers 15 different supply chain cases. This design allows for comparisons of 3 supply chain types (direct, intermediated and mainstream) for the same product in the same location, and of the same supply chain type across products.
Cross product comparison allows general conclusions to be drawn on how direct market and intermediated supply chain performance compares with the performance of the mainstream supply chain. There are three general conclusions for this study:
1. All producers of direct and intermediated local food supply chains (LFSCs) retain a greater share of the price paid by the final consumer.
2. Direct and intermediated LFSCs help producers create and capture higher price premiums.
3. All direct marketers have higher marketing costs than those of the mainstream supply chains but after netting the cost, they still receive a higher producer share.

For additional information about the results of this study, contact Mimi Lee.
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Mimi Lee.
This document is maintained by Delores Serafin.
This information published to the web on August 15, 2012.
Last Reviewed/Revised on October 22, 2015.