Community financing for sustainable food and farming: a proximity perspective

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Springer Nature
An increasing number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the German organic agri-food sector involves citizens through different community financing models. While such models provide alternative funding sources as well as marketing opportunities to SMEs, they allow private investors to combine their financial and ethical concerns by directly supporting the development of a more sustainable food system. Due to the low level of financial intermediation, community financing is characterized by close relations between investors and investees. Against this background, we apply the proximity concept from economic geography to explore spatial and relational aspects of community financing in the German organic agri-food sector. Based on a qualitative multiple case study approach, we find that the relevance of proximity is twofold. While different forms of proximity between SMEs and their potential investors are key success factors, proximity is also considered as one desired outcome of community financing. Furthermore, our results reveal that the extent to which SMEs rely on particular proximity dimensions distinguishes two different approaches to community financing.
© 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: proximity; multiple case study; crowdfunding; cooperatives; citizen shareholder corporations; profit participation rights.
Behrendt, G., Peter, S., Sterly, S. et al. Community financing for sustainable food and farming: a proximity perspective. Agric Hum Values 39, 1063–1075 (2022).