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Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1181; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041181

Agroecological Strategies for Reactivating the Agrarian Sector: The Case of Agrolab in Madrid

1
Department of Applied Research and Agricultural Extension, Madrid Institute for Rural, Agricultural and Food Research and Development (IMIDRA), Ctra. Madrid-Barcelona (N-II) KM. 38.200, 28802 Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain
2
Departamento de Historia Moderna, Contemporánea y de América, Periodismo y Comunicación Audiovisual y Publicidad, Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, Universidad de Valladolid, Plaza del Campus s/n, 47011 Valladolid, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 November 2018 / Revised: 24 January 2019 / Accepted: 19 February 2019 / Published: 23 February 2019
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Abstract

Considering the social and ecological obsolescence of the conventional agricultural model and the crisis faced by rural areas, innovative models based on collective initiatives and agroecological practices are emerging. Here, we present the use of a participatory farming lab as a space to reactivate the agrarian sector in rural and periurban areas of Madrid. The specific objectives of this study are: (1) to describe the project; (2) to identify participants’ profiles and motivations and (3) to identify the most socially valued ecosystem services and the actions collectively taken to enhance them. To do so, we have used the living lab conceptual approach and the ecosystem service lens. Data gathering included a combination of qualitative and quantitative techniques, including participant observation, informal and formal meetings, interviews, workshops and surveys. We found a diversity of motivations for enrolling in the program and 20 ecosystem services were selected as socially important. We also describe how the project has contributed to adopting agroecological practices to sustain those ecosystem services. Finally, we discuss the contribution of the project towards new and integrated rural development strategies, including its potential to promote cooperative solutions that enhance farming activity by also providing ecosystem services. View Full-Text
Keywords: agricultural landscape; agroecology; ecosystem service; living lab; open farming laboratory; participatory approach; people-nature bond; rural-urban interaction; social innovation agricultural landscape; agroecology; ecosystem service; living lab; open farming laboratory; participatory approach; people-nature bond; rural-urban interaction; social innovation
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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García-Llorente, M.; Pérez-Ramírez, I.; Sabán de la Portilla, C.; Haro, C.; Benito, A. Agroecological Strategies for Reactivating the Agrarian Sector: The Case of Agrolab in Madrid. Sustainability 2019, 11, 1181.

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