Producer organizations as transition intermediaries? Insights from organic and conventional vegetable systems in Uruguay

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Springer Nature
Increased pressures on agri-food systems have indicated the importance of intermediaries to facilitate sustainability transitions. While producer organizations are acknowledged as intermediaries between individual producers and other food system actors, their role as sustainability transition intermediaries remains understudied. This paper explores the potential of producer organizations as transition intermediaries to support producers in their needs to adopt sustainable production practices. Ten cases of producer organizations in conventional (regime) and organic (niche) vegetable systems in Uruguay were studied qualitatively. Findings show that the classic intermediary roles that producer organizations fulfil in food systems also address the needs of producers in their transition to sustainable food systems. By providing organic inputs, organizing access to output markets, sharing knowledge, and facilitating sustainable production practices, producer organizations support producers within and across regime and niche. Producer organizations mostly function as implicit transition intermediaries, facilitated by their legitimacy among producers, their embeddedness in rural networks, and by refraining from taking a strong normative position. Producer organizations have the potential to be more explicit transition intermediaries, however this position comes with limitations. We provide policy recommendations to optimize the transition intermediary potential of producer organizations in their facilitation towards sustainable food systems.
© The Author(s) 2022. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Version of Scholarly Record of this Article is published in Agriculture and Human Values, 2022, available online at: . Keywords: producer organization; transition intermediary; food system; sustainability transitions; organic agriculture; agroecology; vegetables; Uruguay.
Groot-Kormelinck, A., Bijman, J., Trienekens, J. et al. Producer organizations as transition intermediaries? Insights from organic and conventional vegetable systems in Uruguay. Agric Hum Values 39, 1277–1300 (2022).