This paper focuses on a case study of an 'alternative' food network based in the Abruzzo National Park, Italy, to explore how ideas of sustainable farmland management can be expressed through broader understandings of developing networks of care concerned with local economies and societies, high-quality specialist food products, particular 'traditional' farming practices and livestock breeds, as well as the ecology of a farmed landscape. The scheme allows customers, internationally as well as in Italy, to 'adopt' a milking sheep on a large mountain farm. In return, adopters are sent food products from the farm. The adoption scheme is inter-twined with an agri-tourism project which provides accommodation, runs a restaurant and engages in educational activities. The scheme is the result of the individual initiative of its founder, and is associated with a strongly expressed ethical position concerning the value of sustaining valued local rural landscapes and lifestyles, and the importance of 'reconnecting' urban dwellers with rural areas, farming and 'quality' food production. Yet the localness of the scheme is sustained through wider national and international networks: volunteer and paid workers are drawn from several European countries, funding has been acquired from the EU LEADER programme, and internet and transport technologies are essential in connecting with and supplying an international customer base. The broader economy of care instanced in this case study draws attention to a need to develop strategies for sustainable farmland management constructed around wider programmes of social, economic and cultural, as well as environmental, concern.
Holloway, L., Cox, R., Venn, L., Kneafsey, M., Dowler, E., & Tuomainen, H. (2006). Managing sustainable farmed landscape through 'alternative' food networks: a case study from Italy. The Geographical journal, 172(3), 219-229. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4959.2006.00205.x