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Food provenance

Page history last edited by Jessi Moths 12 years, 7 months ago

Food provenance refers to the knowledge of where one's food is sourced. Direct market connections between farmers and consumers like those found in farmers' markets and through community supported agriculture (CSA) facilitates the transfer of this information. Knowledge of provenance is more difficult to accomplish within the large-scale, mainstream food system. Provenance, like terroir, can also refer to the characteristics associated with a product originating from a specific place. In that sense, it is a selling point which may be concerned with nutrition, but is more likely to reflect an expected sensory or cultural benefit. These two terms are sometimes used interchangeably.


Establishing the provenance of one's food has other practical benefits. As small producers seek to scale up their operations to meet existing or future demand, they often express concern about the expected lack of contact with their customers, and the resulting lack of feedback regarding the quality and value associated with their product. The consumer experiences a disconnect as well—both socially, and in the level of confidence that they place in food which seems without origin. Maintaining origin information along the food supply chain alleviates this concern. This knowledge of food provenance may also allay concerns of food safety related to pesticide use, and contamination of water or soil used in production.




Venn, L., Kneafsey, M., Holloway, L., Cox, R., Dowler, E., & Tuomainen, H. (September 01, 2006). Researching European 'alternative' food networks: some methodological considerations. Area, 38, 3, 248-258.


Entry: DN

Checked: BW

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