As sustainability is becoming a bigger global concern, sustainable development operations require new partnerships and a multiplicity of communication practices among various stakeholders. Private enterprises with social, ecological and ethical concerns can be among those stakeholders, but their role in development communication has received limited attention. To address this deficit, this article explores the capacity of small private enterprises to empower farming communities, through a dialogical model of communication. Focusing on alternative food networks, the article argues that market exchanges are mediated by social relations that can bring to light an alternative and ethical side of the global market. These relations are examined empirically through a qualitative case study: a community of farmers in South India and their relation with small private enterprises from Europe and North America. The findings reveal significant ways in which these partnerships can prove empowering for farmers, showing that there is fertile ground for more active involvement of enterprises in development communication practices.