Entrepreneurial activities are sometimes framed as market-based strategies that compromise the integrity of the movement against the global agrifood system. Other times, scholars have argued that entrepreneurship is a critical component of local food system viability. This study helps reconcile these conflicting views through a qualitative exploration of the variations in the commercially and socially oriented features of local food entrepreneurship in the southeastern Arizona local food system. Researchers gathered data between August 2014 and December 2016 through semistructured interviews with and direct observations of 36 southeastern Arizona local food entrepreneurs. A conceptual continuum that articulates the variations between commercial and social entrepreneurship according to market condition, mission, resource mobilization, and performance measurement guides the exploration. The findings reveal commercial and social variations in local food entrepreneurship to be assorted, yet synergistic enactments of the economic, environmental, and social conditions and principles that characterize the southeastern Arizona local food system. The findings push the local food entrepreneurship narrative beyond the limitations of a rigid activist-market dichotomy by illuminating the synergistic complexities that influence the form and function of local food systems. The article discusses implications for both local food practitioners and scholars.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science