What place for independent shopkeepers in the socio-ecological transition ? Greengrocers and the transformation of the Parisian food system

Natacha Rollinde, member of the Geographie-cités laboratory, will defend her thesis 

Monday March 20th
at 2pm
Auditorium of the Humathèque
Condorcet Campus
10 cours des humanités
93 300 Aubervilliers


Virginie Baritaux, Maîtresse de conférence, VetAgro Sup (examinatrice)
Sabine Barles, Professeure, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (co-directrice de la thèse), membre de Géographie-cités
Nicolas Buclet, Professeur, Université Grenoble Alpes (rapporteur)
Claire Delfosse, Professeure, Université Lumière Lyon 2 (rapportrice)
Domitille Dezobry, Responsable du programme alimentation durable (2020-2022), Paris&Co (membre invitée)
Antoine Fleury, Chargé de recherche, CNRS (co-directeur de la thèse), membre de Géographie-cités
Ronan Le Velly, Professeur, Montpellier SupAgro (examinateur)


Since the second half of the 20th century, the food system has become concentrated, globalised, intensive, specialised and financialised. Independent shopkeepers play a central role in this system, as distribution intermediaries. However, some of them claim to participate in a socio-ecological transition. Their supply strategies aim to modify the way in which flows circulate from production to consumption territories, as well as the interactions between the actors involved in this circulation.

This thesis aims to understand how and to what extent independent shopkeepers participate in this reterritorialisation. It relies on an interdisciplinary theoretical framework, at the intersection of territorial ecology, urban geography, economical sociology and alternative food studies. A field survey was carried out among greengrocers in Paris. The prevailing conventional model is based on a search for continuity in supply and a strong loyalty to the MIN of Rungis’ wholesalers.

Nevertheless, alternative strategies are emerging around two types of greengrocers, named local and terroir. Their diversity can be explained by different relationships to the transition, linked to the shopkeepers’ path, the networks in which they are involved and the representation they have of their role in the food system. The greengrocers participate in the construction of a market of alternatives, that results from successive adaptations, and interacts more or less closely with public territorial food governance.