Special Issue "Agro-Food Policies, Public Efforts, Economic, Social and Environmental Sustainability in Rural Development"

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Farming Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Paulina Rytkönen
Website SciProfiles
Guest Editor
School of Business Studies, EnterForum - Centre for entrepreneurship research and education, Department of Social Sciences, Södertörn University, Huddinge 14189, Sweden
Interests: agro-food policies; entrepreneurship; innovation processes and diffusion of innovations; global and local agro-food systems; rural development
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Theodosia Anthopoulou
Guest Editor
Department of Social Policy, School of Political Sciences, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Athens 17671, Greece
Interests: rural restructuring and multifunctionality of rural areas; localized agro-food systems (SYAL); alternative and solidarity food networks; social innovation and community-led territorial/ rural development
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Karin Dahlström
Guest Editor
School of Social Sciences, Department of Business Studies, Södertörn University, Huddinge S-141 89, Sweden
Interests: leading and organizing service, change, quality, sustainability and CSR, value creation; rural and micro-enterprise entrepreneurship
Dr. Håkan Tunón
Guest Editor
Swedish Biodiversity Centre, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala 75007, Sweden
Interests: traditional knowledge; ethnobotany; customary use of biological diversity (ethnobiology)

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Over the past few decades, rural development has become a key instrument in national and regional development policies, in the CAP, as well as in public initiatives to cope with the fast depopulation of remote/less favored rural areas, the increased financial uncertainty that forces farmers to either increase their productive scale or to shift economic activities entirely by opening rural B&Bs, offering tourism services, elaborating farm produce on the farm, and/or by selling directly to consumers through various forms of community supported agriculture or farmer’s markets, just to mention a few examples. In addition, the intensification of agriculture and change of land use has led to biodiversity losses.

At least in Europe, the shift from a previous focus on agriculture and agricultural development to rural development is driven by parallel and interconnected processes influenced by various types of policies, public initiatives, and market events, all of which have repercussions on rural development or vice versa.

Some of these are better known, while others have passed by without too much attention. The sphere of well-known and previously discussed changes encompasses the following: the globalization of agro-food markets which has resulted in a substantial rise in market competition level causing a dramatic transformation of rural societies and agriculture within national, regional, and international contexts. At the same time, consciousness about environmental challenges, not the least biodiversity loss and recurring weather-related events, including floods, droughts, and wildfires are presenting new challenges to society, governments, the agro-food sector, and local and rural communities all over the world.

In addition, societal expectations for rural areas to produce raw materials to substitute fossil fuel and de-industrialization, re-industrialization, and structural changes in the economy at all levels has clarified the potential of rural areas for the creation of new post-industrial jobs that can prevent further depopulation of rural areas and promote rural cohesion by creating new post-industrial work opportunities in rural tourism and other rurally connected services. Besides, the food and economic crisis (2007/08) has revealed the importance of rural areas for maintaining regional and national economies and fostering food sovereignty and highlighted the rural as a locus of resilience.

As reality is constantly changing, there is a need to analyze the main drivers behind rural development, both in the short and long term, and which policies have a positive or a negative impact. In addition, path-dependent features might be revealed, helping us understand the forces that shape rural development today and in the future. There are still many topics that need more scrutiny, and some examples include the following: 1) How does entrepreneurism in regional and rural policies influence rural development?; 2) What role does crisis play in the emergence of different paths in rural development? (e.g., the financial crisis in Europe, especially in Southern Europe from 2009 and currently, the outburst of the Covid-19 pandemic); 3) In what way does rural labor migration, especially within the common European market influence rural development in the rural areas involved (both those that are left by migrants and those that receive migrants). What are the benefits and downsides of labor migration? 4) How do economic integration or disintegration within the common European market and economic influence rural development?; 5) How can we understand the impact of social technologies in the reshaping of rural development either by opening up new opportunities or making old solutions obsolete?

This Special Issue invites scholars from all disciplines and regions, but especially from Europe to contribute empirical and theoretical contributions on topics related to “Agro-Food Policies, Public Efforts, Economic, Social, and Environmental Sustainability in Rural Development”.

Dr. Paulina Rytkönen
Prof. Theodosia Anthopoulou
Dr. Karin Dahlström
Dr. Håkan Tunón
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agronomy is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • agricultural, food, environmental and rural development policies
  • governance
  • local food systems and CSA
  • rural development patterns, rural development strategies, and rural cohesion
  • farming strategies
  • agricultural, rural and social entrepreneurship
  • biocultural heritage
  • environmental challenges and opportunities
  • labor issues, labor migration, competence, and educational gaps and experiences
  • gender issues related to rural development
  • empowerment, rural responses, and local community strategies
  • agricultural and rural history

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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