Freedom Center Colloquium: Jessica Darby
Topic: An Institutional Investigation of the Farm-Supply Chain Interface
The beginning of the supply chain is increasingly in the forefront of today’s headlines on topics such as social responsibility, environmental sustainability, traceability, and food safety. Indeed, decisions made by actors in the raw materials echelon, particularly farmers, have lasting and amplified impacts that promulgate the entire supply chain. Yet little is known about the factors that shape farmers’ decisions and willingness to engage with the supply chain. Our study begins to fill this important gap by delving into the minds of farmers to explicate the individual and institutional factors operating in the farm-supply chain interface. Using an interpretive research approach, we elaborate middle-range theory to identify micro-, meso-, and macro-level institutional mechanisms that are specific to the farm context and explain how these mechanisms interact to shape farmers’ willingness to engage with the supply chain. The middle-range theory elaborated in our study offers important implications for theory, supply chain practice, and public policy amidst increased consumer demands for a farm-to-fork experience.