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Local food communities: exploring health-related adaptivity and self-management practices

Ilona Liliána Birtalan (Doctoral School of Psychology, ELTE Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary) (Institute of Psychology, ELTE Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary) (Institute of Health Promotion and Sport Sciences, ELTE Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary)
Ágnes Neulinger (Institute of Marketing, Corvinus University of Budapest, Budapest, Hungary)
György Bárdos (Institute of Health Promotion and Sport Sciences, ELTE Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary)
Adrien Rigó (Institute of Psychology, ELTE Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary)
József Rácz (Institute of Psychology, ELTE Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary) (Department of Addiction Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary)
Szilvia Boros (Institute of Health Promotion and Sport Sciences, ELTE Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 27 May 2021

Issue publication date: 13 July 2021

345

Abstract

Purpose

While many characteristics of food consumption have been examined, little attention has been given to the health potential of consuming from local food communities. Local food communities, including community supported agriculture (CSA) are food initiatives, which try to respond to the healthy food, environmental or socioeconomic challenges of the food system. As a step toward understanding local food communities, this study sets out to examine the health-related adaptivity and self-management practices of CSA participation.

Design/methodology/approach

The qualitative research approach, which included semi-structured interviews (n = 35), was designed to discover the potential for being healthy: the ability to adapt and to self-manage among CSA participants. The data were analyzed using thematic analysis.

Findings

The results suggest that local food communities can influence health-related adaptivity and self-management in the following themes: awareness of product origins; enhanced food-management capability; expanding applicability and usability of the food environment; and strengthening one's food-related self-image.

Practical implications

Increasing the presence of local food communities might be part of developing strategies to evaluate the health effects of the local food environment and to encourage consumers to take responsibility for their own health.

Originality/value

This study extends the food consumption literature to include new knowledge about how local food communities facilitate individual efforts to enhance their own potential for health as well as improving understanding of the mechanisms that underpin a healthy diet.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to Phil Lyon for helpful comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript.

Funding: This work was supported by a Research Fund of the Doctoral School of Psychology at the Faculty of Education and Psychology, ELTE Eötvös Loránd University.

Citation

Birtalan, I.L., Neulinger, Á., Bárdos, G., Rigó, A., Rácz, J. and Boros, S. (2021), "Local food communities: exploring health-related adaptivity and self-management practices", British Food Journal, Vol. 123 No. 8, pp. 2728-2742. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-12-2020-1176

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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