This research explores the role of infrastructure as foundational in enabling short food supply chains (SFSCs) to prosper and build resilience capacity for distributive food economies.
The idea of ‘infrastructure’ has gained attention in public discourse in recent years because of food system shocks. During the Covid-19 pandemic, for example, the agility of more local food economies - combined with the power of virtual forms of infrastructure to connect producers and consumers - was brought into sharp focus. It highlighted, albeit briefly, the resilience capacities of short food chains and local food systems and the need to ‘build essential infrastructure’ (e.g. material, virtual and legal) to support these food systems in future.
Building on this literature, this study introduces the idea of ‘foundational economy’ as a conceptual framework to explain why supporting infrastructure for SFSCs, and more distributive food economies in general, is important, both for business resilience and wider community well-being.