Alternatives in the Swiss dairy industry: reconfiguring networks and producers empowerment

It is a challenging time for the Swiss dairy sector. While farmers are in a weak position within the industry, regional projects emerge, trying to improve their general situation.


  • Department BUAS | School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences
  • Research focus Resource-efficient agricultural production systems
  • Research field International agriculture and rural development
  • Funding body SNSF
  • Duration (planned) 01.01.2013 - 29.05.2015
  • Project management Karin Zbinden
  • Head of project Jérémie Forney
  • Project staff Jérémie Forney
    Karin Zbinden
    Isabel Häberli
  • Keywords Alternative agrifood networks, dairy farming, Switzerland, empowerment, embeddedness

Starting point

The case studies are inspired by a already long tradition of alternatives in agri-food networks. However, they still hold by several characteristics that are typical of "conventional" systems. This project looks at the logics that are mobilized by the actors and at the potential impact on the relations between them. In doing so, it contributes to the development of sustainable systems.


This research project looks at the networks that are created in three case studies. The aims are to identify and foster the positive effects they have on farmers' position in the industry

Core competencies

Alternative food networks; qualitative methods, Actor-Network theory