This chapter focuses on urban-based enterprises that are building direct links with rural producers and taking seriously the idea that urban consumers have a role to play in stewarding our agricultural environments and securing livelihoods for farmers. When these sorts of concerns are placed at the heart of the enterprise we find that economic innovations follow, and that along with producing benefits for farmers these innovations are also impacting employees and consumers.
This chapter overviews the diverse economies framing of the enterprise, a framing that is founded on two distinguishing features. First there is the understanding of class as a process of producing, appropriating and distributing surplus labour; and second there is the use of a ‘weak theory’ perspective. What results is the recognition of enterprise diversity such that the economic landscape is populated with a range of non-capitalist, capitalist and more-than-capitalist enterprises.
This report is based on in-depth research with ten manufacturers. It finds that along with operating dynamic and viable businesses these manufacturers are fostering a culture of just and sustainable manufacturing that is helping to tackle the social and environmental challenges of the 21st century.