Peri-urban farmland conservation and development of alternative food networks: Insights from a case-study area in metropolitan Barcelona (Catalonia, Spain)
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This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in the Journal, Land Use Policy. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in the Journal, Land Use Policy, Volume 30, Issue 1, January 2013, Pages 94-105. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2012.02.009
There has been a growing literature on alternative food networks (AFNs); structures that reconfigure the systems of production, distribution and consumption of food. Part of this literature emphasises the local scale and the idea of proximity. In a world that is increasingly urban, AFNs at a local scale can be more easily developed by linking peri-urban farmlands and cities. However, agriculture in the rural–urban fringe struggles to survive in the face of urban pressures and sprawl; a process which undermines viable agricultural production in the city's countryside. A widely used strategy to address these pressures has been farmland protection, undertaken in different ways depending on the legal framework of particular countries. This paper considers farmland conservation and AFNs development issues through a case-study of the Baix Llobregat Agricultural Park (BLAP) in metropolitan Barcelona. It concludes that AFNs in peri-urban areas are only possible if farmland preservation is guaranteed, and that the former does not come as a direct consequence of the latter. The specific conditions in which both can occur will be of interest for scholars as well as policy-makers and planners.
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