A Place-based Turn in Multifunctional Agriculture: The Case of Italy's Garfagnana Region

  • Jordan Treakle Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Keywords: Family Farming, Multifunctional Agriculture, Place-Based Development, Territorial Development, Agroecology, Italy


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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How to Cite
Treakle, J. (2019). A Place-based Turn in Multifunctional Agriculture: The Case of Italy’s Garfagnana Region. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 9(A), 179-195. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2019.091.039