This thesis examines the determinants behind innovation processes among small-scale food producers in Fjellregionen. The case study employed is Rørosmat and its member producers are investigated through qualitative research methods and in-depth interviews.
The investigation is motivated by the transformation taking place in the Norwegian agricultural sector, and explores how a small mountain area deals with the changes threatening their business structure and how the producers receive appropriate support from the nation state in sustaining these efforts.
The study is divided into two parts focusing upon the local and national stimulators for innovative activity. The local dimension examines innovative efforts as a result of accumulated stocks of social capital in the local community. The national dimensioninvestigates the interactive learning processes taking place between the actors in the national innovation system.
The analysis shows that the citizens of Fjellregionen have a rich past based on network formation, civic engagement and trust. These social features have laid the foundation for the successful organization of the current society, which is characterized by sound networks of cooperation in the food industry leading to high innovative activity. However, there are certain factors missing for optimal innovative behaviour to take place and the producers makeuse of the various actors in the national innovation system which provide enhanced market access, knowledge and finance.
Key words: Social capital, National Innovation System, agriculture, Rørosmat, Fjellregionen, small-scale food production