1st Edition

Food Co-operatives in Turkey Building Alternative Food Networks

By Özlem Öz, Zühre Aksoy Copyright 2024

    This book addresses the roles played by food co-operatives in the attempt to build alternative food networks, drawing on an in-depth analysis of case studies in Turkey.

    While many existing studies focus on food co-operatives and alternative food networks in the Global North, this book provides an important insight into a country from the Global South and, in doing so, not only provides a novel perspective but also challenges the rigid North–South categorization. The book provides a rounded view by examining both a producer and a consumer co-operative: BÜKOOP is a university-based consumer food co-operative, and the Vakıflı co-operative is a food-producing co-operative located in the Hatay province on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. These two co-operatives, which have been working together for more than ten years, share the dream of establishing a network of co-operatives, in which producers exist in solidarity with consumers, blurring the dichotomy of producer versus consumer as well as rural versus urban. In addition to contributing towards a better understanding of the urban–rural divide, within the framework of alternative food networks, the in-depth analysis of these two cases enables us to explore how food co-operatives develop and how they keep their commitment to their original goals and ideals so as to help build an alternative food system. The lessons we learn from these two working case examples highlight the successes and areas of improvement for food co-operatives. They also provide evidence against the pessimism about alternative food networks by demonstrating that co-operatives can democratize both production and consumption.

    This book will be of interest to students and scholars studying alternative food networks, food justice, food sovereignty, transformation towards sustainable food systems, social movements, and the urban–rural divide.

    1. Theoretical and contextual framework


    2. The experience of a consumer food co-op: BÜKOOP


    3. The experience of a producer food co-op: Vakıflı co-op


    4. Conclusions and implications


    Özlem Öz is Professor of Organization Studies at Boğaziçi University, Turkey. She won the Turkish Academy of Sciences’ ‘Successful Young Scientists Award’ and ‘Encouragement Award in Social Sciences and Humanities,’ and was the co-winner of the 2018 Best Article Prize of the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. She is the author of many articles and two books, The Competitive Advantage of Nations: The Case of Turkey (1999) and Clusters and Competitive Advantage: The Turkish Experience (2004).

    Zühre Aksoy is Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Boğaziçi University, Turkey. She has authored several book chapters and articles in journals including Global Environmental Politics, Journal of Rural Studies, and Food, Culture & Society. She is a lead author in the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Transformative Change Assessment (2022–2025).