II Communities of Practice

Exploring Social Entrepreneurship in Food Tourism

Carol Kline, Karla Boluk, and Neha M. Shah

Abstract A variety of food movements have social entrepreneurs at their forefront supporting more sustainable practices: Slow Food, eating local, minimizing food waste, expanding food access, and showing concern for animal welfare. The aim of this chapter is to contribute to the limited research on social entrepreneurs in food- related tourism ventures. Four semi-structured interviews were carried out with food entrepreneurs in North Carolina. Each of the entrepreneurs represents different stages of the food supply chain. Positive Theory of Social Entrepreneurship and Ecological Systems Theory were used as the theoretical frameworks underpinning the research. The research found that food entrepreneurs are consciously focused on value creation beyond the revenue generated by their business. Value was created by giving farmers a voice, providing healthy alternatives, providing education, minimizing environmental impacts, and striving to foster community. Finally, leveraging networks was identified as a key strategy by the social entrepreneurs.

Keywords Tourism social entrepreneur • Sustainable food system • Positive Theory of Social Entrepreneurship • Tourism entrepreneurial ecosystem • Positive externalities • Value creation

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