Unfolding Farm Practices: Working Toward Sustainable Food Production in the Netherlands and Spain

  • Paul Swagemakers Universidad de Vigo; Wageningen University
  • M. Dolores Domínguez García Universidad de Vigo; Wageningen University
  • Xavier Simón Fernández Universidad de Vigo
  • Johannes S. C. Wiskerke Wageningen University
Keywords: Farming, Food Production, Novelties, Novelty Production, Farm Labor

Abstract

The 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.

Author Biographies

Paul Swagemakers, Universidad de Vigo; Wageningen University

Grupo de Investigación en Economía Ecológica y Agroecología, Universidad de Vigo, Ciencias Económicas y LADE, Lagoas Marcosende s/n 36310 Vigo, España.

Rural Sociology Group, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 8130, NL-6700 EW Wageningen, the Netherlands.

M. Dolores Domínguez García, Universidad de Vigo; Wageningen University

Grupo de Investigación en Economía Ecológica y Agroecología, Universidad de Vigo, Ciencias Económicas y LADE, Lagoas Marcosende s/n 36310 Vigo, España.

Rural Sociology Group, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 8130, NL-6700 EW Wageningen, the Netherlands.

Xavier Simón Fernández, Universidad de Vigo
Grupo de Investigación en Economía Ecológica y Agroecología, Universidad de Vigo, Ciencias Económicas y LADE, Lagoas Marcosende s/n 36310 Vigo, España.
Johannes S. C. Wiskerke, Wageningen University
Rural Sociology Group, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 8130, NL-6700 EW Wageningen, the Netherlands.
Published
2012-02-07
How to Cite
Swagemakers, P., Domínguez García, M., Fernández, X., & Wiskerke, J. (2012). Unfolding Farm Practices: Working Toward Sustainable Food Production in the Netherlands and Spain. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 2(2), 129-145. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2012.022.001