A Place-based Turn in Multifunctional Agriculture: The Case of Italy's Garfagnana Region
The Garfagnana region of Tuscany has witnessed a resurgence in the small-scale farming sector. Rooted in a historical practice of multifunctional agriculture, over the last decade family farmers and local institutions have increasingly focused on place-based development initiatives, such as revalorizing native livestock breeds and promoting agroecological practices, as ways to strengthen small-scale agriculture and the local rural economy. This place-based turn is now reshaping the development trajectories of many family farms and communities in Garfagnana.
Drawing on qualitative field research conducted in 2015, this paper utilizes the sociological conceptual lenses of multifunctional agriculture and place-based development to analyze three case-study farms, each with different production systems and territorial relations. Multifunctional agriculture theory is used to analyze how farming practices in the three case-studies represent a range of adaptive shifts away from productionist trends and toward a more diversified farming approach. Then place-based theory is used to demonstrate how these multifunctional agriculture practices relate to the distinct socio-ecological landscape of Garfagnana, uniquely rooting these farms in the territory. This article ultimately examines how new forms of multifunctional agriculture are fostering a place-based food and agriculture system in central Italy and how this approach can strengthen family farming and rural communities.
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