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Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1598; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051598

Challenges and Action Points to Amplify Agroecology in Europe

1
Department of Agroecology and Environment, ISARA, 23 rue Jean Baldassini, 69364 Lyon, France
2
Cultivate!, Schuurhoven 29, 6721 SM Bennekom, The Netherlands
3
RHEA Research Centre, Rue Warichet 4 Box 202, 1435 Corbais, Belgium
4
Institute of Life Sciences, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Piazza Martiri della Liberta 33, 56127 Pisa PI, Italy
5
Ecodéveloppement, INRA, 84914 Avignon, France
6
University of Gastronomic Sciences, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, 9, 12060 Pollenzo, Bra CN, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 14 April 2018 / Revised: 8 May 2018 / Accepted: 10 May 2018 / Published: 16 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Agroecology in Europe. New Developments and Applications)
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Abstract

Agriculture in Europe results in the production of food for both the European population and for the export sector. Significant environmental and social problems have emerged with the intensification of European agriculture. These include the loss of biodiversity, the contamination of soils, water, and food with pesticides, and the eutrophication of water bodies. Industrialized agricultural and food systems are also a major contributing factor in the decline of farm numbers, and the high use of antibiotics has led to serious human health problems. In this respect, agroecology can provide insights into important pathways and guide the design, development, and promotion of the transition towards sustainable farming and food systems. An analysis of the major challenges for the amplification of agroecology in Europe was carried out by 310 stakeholders in a World Café exercise and 23 sessions and workshops during the Agroecology Europe Forum 2017. The different challenges that were identified can be grouped into seven categories: (1) definition and concepts; (2) education, training, and knowledge sharing; (3) research approach and funding; (4) policies; (5) productivity and practices; (5) food systems and consumer awareness; and (6) co-optation. To address these challenges, the following key actions are recommended: (1) to develop a common understanding of agroecology; (2) to enhance education in agroecology and knowledge exchange; (3) to invest in agroecological research; (4) to develop policies enhancing agroecology; (5) to support new and existing agroecological practices; (6) to transform food systems; and (7) to strengthen communication and alliances. In this paper we present and discuss these recommendations for pathways and actions to develop sustainable agro-food systems in Europe through agroecology. View Full-Text
Keywords: actor networks; biodiversity-based farming; EU agricultural policy; food systems; participatory research; social movements; sustainable agriculture actor networks; biodiversity-based farming; EU agricultural policy; food systems; participatory research; social movements; sustainable agriculture
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Wezel, A.; Goris, M.; Bruil, J.; Félix, G.F.; Peeters, A.; Bàrberi, P.; Bellon, S.; Migliorini, P. Challenges and Action Points to Amplify Agroecology in Europe. Sustainability 2018, 10, 1598.

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