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Strengthening the adaptive capacity of rural communities: multifunctional farms and village action groups
Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8626-7288
2008 (English)In: Proceedings of the 8th European IFSA Symposium: Empowerment of the rural actors, a renewal of farming systems perspectives, 2008Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Farms are rapidly closing down in less-favoured areas in Sweden. While farms in the plainareas grow bigger, many farms in less-favoured areas find themselves in an unviable economicsituation. While all farms are multifunctional, some farms can give rise to more functions than others,which in turn favours the economic, social and ecological development of rural areas to differingdegrees. Thus, the question is what rural communities loose as their farms close down. In this paperwe therefore explore two interrelated issues. The first is what role multifunctional farms have instrengthening adaptive capacity of rural communities. The second question is how village actiongroups can act in order to strengthen local multifunctional farms. Four rural areas in Swedencontribute with insights into these issues. In all four areas, agriculture was found to be vital forachieving what village activists considered desirable: an open landscape and increased localprocessing and marketing of food. A number of social, ecological and economic functions were foundthat farms contribute to the rural areas in order to strengthen their adaptive capacity. Multifunctionalfarms support the local economy since these farms typically have many economic and socialinteractions locally. They are also more likely to sell their products locally, since they are more proneto be directed towards the local market rather than the national market. The presence of active villageaction groups in all four areas helped to take action in order to support local agriculture. For example,village action groups created local meeting places and processing plants. They built social networksand enhanced diversity. However, village action groups are mainly able to work on the local level.Thus, it is crucial that policymakers also find ways to support multifunctional farms now while they arestill in business, before knowledge is lost.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
multifunctional farms, adaptive capacity, resilience, rural development, village action groups
National Category
Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-72762OAI: diva2:488031
The 8th European IFSA Symposium. Clermont-Ferrand, France. 6 - 10 July 2008
QC 20120508Available from: 2012-02-01 Created: 2012-02-01 Last updated: 2012-05-08Bibliographically approved

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Milestad, Rebecka
Environmental Sciences

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