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Building farm resilience

challenges and prospects for organic farming

Milestad, Rebecka (2003). Building farm resilience. Diss. (sammanfattning/summary) Uppsala : Sveriges lantbruksuniv., Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae. Agraria, 1401-6249 ; 375
ISBN 91-576-6410-2
[Doctoral thesis]

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Organic farming emerged as a social movement promoting social justice and ecological sustainability within agriculture. In recent years, the organic sector has grown substantially throughout Europe. One contributing factor is strong policy support from the European Union, based on the general understanding that organic farming is conducive for sustainable development. Austria provides a relevant example of this development, both in terms of the expanding organic sector and in terms of national policy support. For this purpose, an exploratory case study in Austria was chosen as the main setting of this thesis. The concept of social-ecological resilience is found suitable as a framework to discuss sustainable agriculture in Europe since it takes the dynamics and interdependence of social and ecological systems into account. Social-ecological resilience has three defining characteristics: the amount of change a system can undergo while maintaining its functions and structures, the degree of self-organization, and the capacity for adaptation and learning. The objective of this thesis is to increase understanding of the development of organic farming by exploring the relation between the IFOAM Basic Standards of organic farming, farmers’ perspectives on organic farming, and the actual development of organic farming practices. A further objective is to develop the concept of farm resilience and to analyze organic farming within a social-ecological resilience framework. Analysis of the case study shows that farmers exhibit dual perspectives on organic farming. They see it as a preferred farming practice that promotes sustainable development but also as an imposed policy that makes farmers more dependent on subsidies. The resilience analysis finds that organic farming builds farm resilience if interpreted as in the IFOAM Basic Standards, while current organic farming practice may compromise farm resilience. Thus, organic farming has the capacity to build farm resilience provided the IFOAM Basic Standards are translated into practice. This thesis concludes that shifting the focus to qualitative aspects of organic farming is paramount during the current period of expansion. Farm resilience is found to be a useful concept to analyze farming systems; it also lends itself as an analytical tool for policy development.

Authors/Creators:Milestad, Rebecka
Title:Building farm resilience
Subtitle:challenges and prospects for organic farming
Series Name/Journal:Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae. Agraria
Year of publishing :February 2003
Number of Pages:52
ALLI. Hadatsch, S., Milestad, R. & Ljung, M. Sustaining farming and farming sustainably. The (mis)match between farmers’ perspectives and organic farming: a case study from an alpine region in Austria. In Buller, H., Hoggart, K. & Daugstad, K. (Eds.). The Environment and Rural Development. Ashgate. London, UK. (In revision). II. Milestad, R. & Hadatsch, S. Growing out of the niche – can organic agriculture keep its promises? A study of two Austrian cases. (In press, American Journal of Alternative Agriculture). III. Milestad, R. & Darnhofer, I. Building farm resilience: the prospects and challenges of organic farming. (In press, Journal of Sustainable Agriculture). IV. Milestad, R. & Hadatsch, S. Organic farming and social-ecological resilience: the alpine valleys of Sölktäler, Austria. (In review, Conservation Ecology).
Place of Publication:Uppsala
ISBN for printed version:91-576-6410-2
Publication Type:Doctoral thesis
Full Text Status:Public
Agris subject categories.:F Plant production > F08 Cropping patterns and systems
Subjects:Not in use, please see Agris categories
Agrovoc terms:organic agriculture, traditional farming, ecology, sustainability, european union, austria, case studies, social values, agricultural policies
Keywords:farming systems research, sustainable agriculture, ecological agriculture, organic principles, traditional farming, EC Regulation 2092/91, Sölktäler, Marchfeld
Permanent URL:
ID Code:170
Department:(LTJ, LTV) > Institutionen för landsbygdsutveckling (fr.o.m. 960901)
Deposited By: rebecka milestad
Deposited On:28 Feb 2003 00:00
Metadata Last Modified:02 Dec 2014 10:02

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