What kind of futures does agro-food imaginaries enable and who can get involved in the making of agro-food futures? In this respect, what can the increasingly influential idea of circular economy potentially offer in terms of enabling more sustainable agrofood futures? We approach this task by first outlining the interconnected challenges that the agro-food system is facing related to environmental degradation, economic crises and social problems. Then we consider the way these challenges are being addressed in agro-food studies. We argue that agro-food research in recent years has seen important contributions in relation to studies of alternative food networks and the “quality” turn. These research agendas have challenged the current logic of the food system in terms of offering alternative visions of future development. We highlight two examples from the literature—the eco-economy and the integrated territorial agri-food paradigm—that develop broader frameworks for rethinking the future of the agro-food system and which have distinguished themselves in contrast to the industrialized and globalized conventional food system. We find that with respect to reorienting and reconfiguring economic structures and relations all three approaches share a common goal, but circular economy stands out in relation to the actors that are included by, for example, emphasizing collaborations and partnerships with extant agro-food businesses. Also with regards to scalar politics, it would be prudent to consider the potentials offered by the increasingly influential ideas around circular economy.
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DOI 10.1007/s10806-016-9632-9
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