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Unfolding Farm Practices: Working Toward Sustainable Food Production
in the Netherlands and Spain
Paul Swagemakersa,b,*, M. Dolores Domínguez Garcíaa,b, Xavier Simón Fernándeza, Johannes S. C. Wiskerkeb
http://dx.doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2012.022.001, pp. 129–145
AbstractThe modernization of agriculture has caused and continues to cause an increasing disconnection between farming, nature, and society, which has also created a series of social, economic, and ecological crises in the food chain. Case study research of farmers responding to this situation can show us what changes are required to encourage a reconnection between farming, nature, and society. This paper provides ethnographic case study research of two farms: one situated in a productive polder in the Netherlands, and the other in a disadvantaged mountainous area in Galicia, Spain. They both employ "novelty production," farmer-driven adaptations to the farm, seen as a socio-ecological system. These novelties change the input-output relations on farms and result in adaptations in different farming domains (technical, economic, and socio-organizational), which we see as "unfolding" farming practices. This paper examines how these farmers have sustained and improved the socio-ecological performance of their farms and how these changes have led to a shift in the farm as a socio-ecological system and changed the configuration and boundaries of the farms. In conclusion we look at prospects for this approach being supported at a wider level.
case study research, farming, food production, novelties, novelty production, farm labor
Affiliationsa Grupo de Investigación en Economía Ecológica y Agroecología, Universidad de Vigo, Ciencias Económicas y LADE, Lagoas Marcosende s/n 36310 Vigo, España.
b Rural Sociology Group, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 8130, NL-6700 EW Wageningen, the Netherlands.
* Corresponding author: Paul Swagemakers, +34662038696 / +31618883568 / +34986814005;
Banner photos include a Cape Cod cranberry bog; a cranberry “screen house” used to grade fresh cranberries; farmland near Lake Placid, NY, in the Adirondack Mountains; Montmorency cherry trees on the Mission Peninsula of northern Michigan; the historic Round Barn in the South Mountain Apple Belt of Adams County, Pennsylvania; the “Sea of Grapes” district of the Lake Erie Concord Grape Belt, near Erie, Penn; a field of cabbages near Shortsville, NY, home to one of the world’s largest sauerkraut factories. All photos copyright by Duncan Hilchey.
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