Box schemes provide an opportunity to scale up local organic food systems by aggregating products from multiple producers and efficiently delivering them to consumers. However, there is limited knowledge about the overall organic box scheme landscape and how it develops. This article explores organic box schemes in four European countries and thus contributes by comparing box schemes of different sizes in different geographical and organisational contexts. Survey results from 44 box schemes were used to analyse box schemes in relation to size and growth, organisation, communication with customers, delivery modes, distances travelled by produce and boxes, and values adhered to. Although the surveyed box schemes differed in size and organisation, similarities between box schemes were found in many aspects. For example, most surveyed box schemes had grown considerably since their start, and wished to grow further, and they all rated certain values as important. A tendency for larger box schemes to offer more imported produce, to have operated for a longer time, and to use social media for advertising more often was found. Despite the heterogeneity of the box schemes in the survey, we conclude that box schemes are a useful category to explore in the sustainability transition of food systems.

Susanne Kummer and Rebecka Milestad