Labelling Social Innovations: A Solidarity Label in France and a Participatory Guarantee Scheme in Namibia

Monday, 11 July 2016: 14:30
Location: Prominentenzimmer (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Yuna CHIFFOLEAU, INRA, Montpellier, France
Allison LOCONTO, UR 1326 Sciences en Société, INRA, Champs-sur-Marne, France
A number of alternative socio-economic approaches to how food is produced, distributed and consumed ‘sustainably’ are presented as innovations. At times connected with social and solidarity economies or with social movements that seek to reclaim control over how one can produce, trade and consume differently, these initiatives are relatively new. Nonetheless, they are increasingly being recognized by the public as important means to stimulate transitions to sustainable agrifood systems. Indeed, the literature on social innovations focuses on those innovations whose main driver is the desire to address a social problem. Using Polanyian theories of embeddedness, we examine two social innovations that have emerged from groups who have been working to de-marginalize women in the processes of production, trade and consumption of food. The first experience comes from France and is focused on a short food value chain (circuit court) that uses a solidarity economy label to join economically marginalized female farmers and consumers. The second case focuses on a participatory guarantee system (PGS) in Namibia that has been the core innovation in the emergence of a small organic movement that is made up of wives and mothers as producers and consumers. Through these two cases we focus on a number of key analytical elements that constitute these experiences as social innovations: such as the identification of the social problem, the innovative techniques and knowledge mobilized to create group identity and the work of intermediaries in the innovation trajectory. The authors reflect on these two cases so to understand how these innovations might contribute to transitions to sustainable agifood systems.