Wholesale Produce Auctions: Assessing Their Viability in a Changing Food Economy

Johnson, Rylea
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University of Guelph

Wholesale produce auctions have begun to take root in Ontario as a way of realizing the benefits that alternative food systems offer (including: improved food quality to the reconnection of producers and consumers). As such, there is an opportunity to assess the viability of this alternative food system model in terms of its ability to deliver these unique benefits. This paper explores two case studies, the Elmira Produce Auction Cooperative and the Bruce-Huron Produce Auction, while using interviews to demonstrate that despite wholesale produce auctions offering many of the opportunities to promote the benefits of alternative food systems, the wholesale food model is limited in terms of delivering a practical and functional way of distributing food to consumers. This research demonstrates that a contradiction exists with regards to alternative food systems: the desire for the associated benefits of alternatives while simultaneously seeking the convenience adopted by the conventional food system.

Food Systems, Alternative Food Systems, Wholesale Produce Auctions