Independent food retailing: exploring the interface between conventional and alternative 'local' food systems
This thesis reports on an assessment of the current and prospective role of the independent grocery and food retail sector in (rural) Southwestern Ontario in hosting and promoting trade in local food. Data from face-to-face interviews provide insight into current practices, perceptions, and challenges of both food retailers and consumers, with emphasis on the former. In particular the research explores the (malleable) meanings of 'local' as it applies to local food, assesses the processes by which local foods are sourced and verified, and explores the barriers to and opportunities for trading in local food at the retail level. It emerges that corporate regulations, a lack of intermediary infrastructure, local food availability, and inconsistent marketing limit the opportunities for retail food storeowners to source and sell local foods.