Local Food System Development in Hungary



Published Dec 4, 2012
Bálint Balázs


This article examines local food system (LFS) development pathways in the context of recent regulatory reforms in Hungary implemented to promote local product sales and short food supply chains (SFSCs). Taking a SFSC approach, two case studies demonstrate how new types of local food systems initiated by non-farmers attempt to shorten the distance between consumers and producers. The findings are based on qualitative key informant interviews and a consumer attitude survey data that seek to identify how LFSs promote or enact sustainable food supply and how consumers perceive the nature of the relationships between consumers and producers. The results from the ‘Gödöll? Local Food Council’ and the ‘Szekszárd local food system’ show various specificities and challenges of new types of emerging urban civic food networks. The article concludes by pointing to critical factors and tools for developing LFSs, as well as reflecting on the role of original research to facilitate change for a more sustainable food system.

How to Cite

Balázs, B. . (2012) “Local Food System Development in Hungary ”, The International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food. Paris, France, 19(3), pp. 403–421. doi: 10.48416/ijsaf.v19i3.212.
Abstract 709 | PDF Downloads 401


Balázs, B. (2009): Comparative Analysis of the Context of AAFNs at the Local, National and European Level,
FAAN Report. Published online parative_analysis_AAFNs.pdf>, accessed 31 July 2012.
Balázs, B., Kiss, C. and Simonyi, B. (2009) National Synthesis Report on Case Studies in Hungary, FAANProject.
Published online , accessed 31 July 2012.
Balázs, B., Pálházyné, S.C. and Szabadkai, A. (2010) A fenntartható közétkeztetés lehet?sége Magyarországon,
Nemzeti Érdek, (14)4, pp. 14–29.
Bodorkós, B. and Kelemen, E. (2007) Re-establishing a Co-operative in a Disadvantageous Region of Hungary:
Social Capital, Action Research and the Role of Researchers. Draft paper for the XXII ESRS Conference, Wageningen,
Netherlands, 20–24 August.
Brunori, G., Rossi, A. and Guidi, F. (2012) On the new social relations around and beyond food: analysing
consumers’ role and action in Gruppi di Acquisto Solidale (Solidarity Purchasing Groups), Sociologia
Ruralis, 52(1), pp. 1–30.
Csatári, B. and Farkas, J.Z. (2008) Agrarian and rural development in Hungary, 1990–2005, in: J. Ba?sky
and M. Bednarek (eds) Contemporary Changes of Agriculture in East-Central Europe. Warsaw: Polish
Academy of Sciences Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization, pp. 147–164, published online
< http://www.rcin.org.pl/Content/101/_SOW-t15-lt.pdf>, accessed 31 July 2012.
Donald, B., Gertler, M., Gray, M. and Lobao, L. (2010) Re-regionalising the food system?, Cambridge
Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 3(2) pp. 171–175.
Eden, S., Bear, C. and Walker, G. (2008a) The sceptical consumer? Exploring views about food assurance,
Food Policy, 33, pp. 624–630.
Eden, S., Bear, C. and Walker, G. (2008b) Understanding and (dis)trusting food assurance schemes: consumer
confidence and the ‘knowledge fix’, Journal of Rural Studies, 24, pp. 1–14.
Feenstra, G. (2002) Creating space for sustainable food systems: lessons from the field, Agriculture and
Human Values, 19(2), pp. 99–106.
Fonte, M. (2008) Knowledge, food and place: a way of producing, a way of knowing, Sociologia Ruralis,
48(3), pp. 200–222.
Fonte, M. and Grando, S. (2006) A Local Habitation and a Name: Local Food and Knowledge Dynamics in Sustainable
Rural Development, CORASON Project. Published online , accessed
31 July 2012.
Goodman, D. and DuPuis, M. (2002) Knowing food and growing food: beyond the production-consumption
debate in the sociology of agriculture, Sociologia Ruralis, 42(1), pp. 5–22.
Government Office for Science (2011) The Future of Food and Farming: Challenges and Choices for Global Sustainability.
London: Government Office for Science. Published online: /foresight/docs/food-and-farming/11-547-future-of-food-and-farming-summary>, accessed on 31
July 2012.
Hartwick, E. (1998) Geographies of consumption: a commodity-chain approach, Environment and Planning
D: Society and Space, 16, pp. 423–437.
Holloway, L., Kneafsey, M., Venn, L., Cox, R., Dowler, E. and Tuomainen, H. (2007) Possible food economics:
a methodological framework for exploring food production-consumption relationships, Sociologia
Ruralis, 47(1), pp. 1–19.
Ilbery, B. and Maye, D. (2005) Food supply chains and sustainability: evidence from specialist food producers
in the Scottish/English borders, Land Use Policy, 22, pp. 331–344.
IVS Gödöll? (2007) Integrated Urban Development Strategy and Action Plan, Gödöll?. Published online
, accessed
31 July 2012.
Jackson, T. (ed.) (2006) The Earthscan Reader in Sustainable Consumption. London: Earthscan.
Kabai, G., Németh, N. and Farkas, M. (2012) Versenyképesség haloptikával – Helyi gazdaságfejlesztési problémák
fejl?d? városokban (Competitiveness at Short Range – Local Problems of Economic Development in Mediumsized
Towns) (Abstract in English). Budapest: Vállalatgazdaságtan Intézet.
Karner, S. (ed.) (2010) Local Food Systems in Europe: Case Studies from Five Countries and What They Imply
for Policy and Practice, FAAN report. Graz: IFZ. Published online web.eu/files/FAAN_Booklet_PRINT.pdf>, accessed 31 July 2012.
Kirwan, J. (2004) Alternative strategies in the UK agro-food system: interrogating the alterity of farmers’
markets, Sociologia Ruralis, 44(4), pp. 395–415.
Knickel, K., Jahn, G., Roep D. and Wiskerke, H. (2006) Enhancing sustainable food supply chains, in: D.
Roep and H. Wiskerke (eds) Nourishing Networks: Fourteen Lessons about Creating Sustainable Food Supply
Chains, Doetinchem: Reed Business Information, pp. 165–173.
Knickel, K., Zerger, C., Jahn, G. and Renting, H. (2008) Limiting and enabling factors in farmers’ collective
marketing initiatives: results of a comparative analysis of the situation and trends in ten European
countries, Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition, 3(2/3), pp. 247–269.
Kovách, I. and Kristóf, L. (2009) The role of intermediate actors in transmitting rural goods and services
in rural areas under urban pressure, Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, 11(1), pp. 45–60.
Marsden, T. (2000) Food matters and the matter of food: towards a new food governance?, Sociologia
Ruralis, 40(1), pp. 20–29.
Marsden, T. and Smith, E. (2005) Ecological entrepreneurship: sustainable development in local communities
through quality food production and local branding, Geoforum, 36(4), pp. 440–451.
MEA (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment) (2005) Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Synthesis. Washington,
DC: Island Press.
Medián (2012) Vélemények az élelmiszervásárlás társadalmi hatásainak lakossági megítélésér?l. Unpublished
manuscript and raw data. Budapest: Medián Public Opinion and Market Research Institute.
Megyesi, B., Kelemen, E. and Schermer, M. (2010) Social capital as a success factor for collective farmers
marketing initiatives, International Journal of Sociology of Agricultural and Food, 18(1), pp. 89–103.
Ministry of Rural Development Hungary (2012) Darányi Ignác Plan: Framework Programme for the Implementation
of the National Rural Development Strategy (NVS 2012–2020). Budapest: Ministry of Rural Development.
Molnár, M. (2009) A Gödöll?i-dombság népesedési folyamata és foglalkozásszerkezeti átalakulása, Területi
statisztika, 49(5), pp. 498–507.
Nelson, G.C, Rosegrant, M.W., Koo, J., Robertson, R., Sulser, T., Zhu, T., Ringler, C., Msangi, S., Palazzo,
A., Batka, M., Magalhaes, M., Valmonte-Santos, R., Ewing, M. and Lee, D. (2009) Climate Change: Impact
on Agriculture and Costs of Adaptation. Washington, DC: International Food Policy Research Institute.
Nielsen (2012) How Digital Influences How We Shop around the World. Published online sen.com>, accessed 31 August 2012.
Renting, H., Marsden, T. and Banks, J. (2003) Understanding alternative food networks: exploring the
role of short food supply chains in rural development, Environment and Planning A, 35(3), pp. 393–411.
Rockström, J., Steffen, W., Noone, K., Persson, Å., Chapin, F.S., III, Lambin, E.F., Lenton, T.M., Scheffer, M.,
Folke, C., Schellnhuber, H.J., Nykvist, B., Wit, C.A. de, Hughes, T., Leeuw, S. van der, Rodhe, H., Sörlin,
S., Snyder, P.K., Costanza, R., Svedin, U., Falkenmark, M., Karlberg, L., Corell, R.W., Fabry, V.J., Hansen,
J., Walker, B., Liverman, D., Richardson, K., Crutzen, P. and Foley, J.A. (2009) A safe operating space for
humanity, Nature, 461, pp. 472–475.
Roep, D. and Wiskerke, H. (eds) (2006) Nourishing Networks: Fourteen Lessons about Creating Sustainable Food
Supply Chains. Doetinchem: Reed Business Information.
SCAR (European Commission Standing Committee on Agricultural Research) (2011) Sustainable Food Consumption
and Production in a Resource-constrained World, 3rd SCAR Foresight Exercise. Brussels: European
Schermer, M., Renting, H. and Oostindie, H. (2010) Collective farmers’ marketing initiatives in Europe:
diversity, contextuality and dynamics, International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food, 18(1), pp.
Sonnino, R. (2009) Quality food, public procurement and sustainable development: the school meal revolution
in Rome, Environment and Planning A, 41(2), pp. 425–440.
Szabadkai, A. (2010) Jogszabály-módosító javaslatok a vidékgazdaság ösztönzésére, in: A. Lányi and G.
Farkas (eds) Miért fenntarthatatlan, ami fenntartható?, Budapest: L’Harmattan, pp. 280-311, published online
dasag.pdf>, accessed 31 July 2012.
Szekszárd MJV IVS (2007) Integrated Urban Development Strategy and Action Plan, Szekszárd. Published online
2007tol/ivs5.pdf>, accessed 31 July 2012.
Szigeti O., Szente V., Polereczki Zs., Horváthné Kovács B., Totth, G. and Szakály, Z. (2009) Consumers’
preferences and attitudes on the market of the traditional Hungarian foods, Review of Faculty of Engineering
Analecta Technica Szegedinensia, 2009(1), pp. 111–119.
Tisenkopfs, T., Kovach,I., Lostak, M. and Sumane, S. (2011) Rebuilding and failing collectivity: specific challenges
for farmers marketing initiatives in post-Socialist countries, International Journal of Sociology of
Agriculture and Food, 18(1), pp. 70–88.
United Nations (2011) The Millennium Development Goals Report 2011. New York: United Nations. Published
online , accessed 31 July
Watts, D.C.H., Ilbery, B. and Maye, D. (2005) Making reconnections in agro-food geography: alternative
systems of food provision, Progress in Human Geography, 29, pp. 22–40.
Winter, M. (2003) Embeddedness, the new food economy and defensive localism, Journal of Rural Studies,
19, pp. 23–32.
Wright, W. and Middendorf, G. (eds) (2007) The Fight over Food: Producers, Consumers, and Activists Challenge
the Global Food System. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press.