Fairness in alternative food networks: an exploration with midwestern social entrepreneurs

  • Mary Margaret Saulters
  • Mary K. Hendrickson
  • Fabio Chaddad


The notion of fairness is frequently invoked in the context of food and agriculture, whether in terms of a fair marketplace, fair treatment of workers, or fair prices for consumers. In 2009, the Kellogg Foundation named fairness as one of four key characteristics of a “good” food system. The concept of fairness, however, is difficult to define and measure. The purpose of this study is to explore the notion of fairness, particularly as it is understood within alternative food dialogues. Specifically, we wanted to answer the question of how alternative food entrepreneurs who are working to actualize fairness within local food networks understand this abstract notion. Using a multiple case study approach, the research for this project draws on semi-structured interviews that were conducted with key stakeholders in four alternative food businesses throughout the Midwest.


Fair food Alternative food networks Local food Agricultural ethics 



The authors would like to first acknowledge the farmers and social entrepreneurs whose businesses served as the basis for this study; thank you for sharing your stories. We would also like to thank the editor and our team of reviewers, whose insightful and helpful comments improved the paper greatly.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mississippi Center for Obesity ResearchUniversity of Mississippi Medical CenterJacksonUSA
  2. 2.Division of Applied Social SciencesUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA

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