Learning, adaptation and resilience: The rise and fall of local food networks in Denmark

Henrik Halkier*, Laura James*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
48 Downloads (Pure)


Across the world, network organizations have been established with the aim of promoting the production, distribution and consumption of food with local qualities. Public authorities have encouraged these ‘local food networks’ as potential vehicles for growth in rural and peripheral areas, but in practice some networks have succeeded while others have struggled and disappeared. This article adds to the literature on local food networks by undertaking a systematic comparison of the development of ten local food networks in Denmark in order to identify key factors that affect the resilience of local food networks. The analysis shows that networks which were dependent on temporary public funding and focused on marketing initiatives were less successful than those that were able to mobilize private sector resources and engage customers directly; for example, through markets or other food experiences. Those networks which have proven most resilient over time are those which have been able to learn and adapt their activities, and reduce their dependence on short-term project funding. Furthermore, there is evidence of learning from network failure at a regional scale as unsuccessful networks have been replaced by more resilient organizations. In terms of public policy this implies that long-term strategic commitment and in-kind support appears to be more conducive to the development of resilient local food networks than short-term project funding.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Pages (from-to)294-301
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022


  • Adaptation strategy
  • Events
  • Learning
  • Local food networks
  • Marketing
  • Resilience
  • Stakeholders


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