Special Issue "Scaling Up Agroecology: Experiences, Opportunities and Constraints"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 April 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Miguel A. Altieri
Guest Editor
University of California, Berkeley, Department of Environmental Sciences, Berkeley, United States
Interests: crop protection

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As a scientific approach to designing and managing resilient, biodiverse and productive agricultural systems based on ecological principles, agroecology also entails a movement engaged in the transformation of the food system that has gained momentum in many countries worldwide. In several cases, the implementation of agroecological practices has grown beyond isolated, local experiences to be employed by an ever-greater number of families and communities over ever-larger territories and to engage more people in the production, distribution and consumption of agroecologically produced food.

However, if agroecology has such great potential to address the multiple challenges facing agriculture, why is it not adopted more widely by farmers? There are many technical, social, economic and political barriers for the scaling up of agroecology. Many people have suggested various ways to overcome the barriers, such as creating an enabling environment, providing the right incentives to farmers, creating special markets, fund more research and education on agroecology. A key challenge for the amplification of agroecology lies in the translation of agroecological principles into practical strategies for soil, water and biodiversity management to enhance production and resilience, so that they can be widely disseminated and expanded.

This Special Issue of Sustainability provides a collection of papers that, using examples from various countries, analyze the processes that have impeded and those that have enabled the bringing to scale of agroecology. The analysis of the initiatives described in this Special Issue sheds light on new pathways for amplifying agroecological transformations at the territorial level.

Prof. Dr. Miguel A. Altieri
Guest Editor

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. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 1800 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.


  • agroecology
  • scaling up
  • agroecological territories
  • public policies
  • social movements
  • food sovereignty
  • resilience

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle
Participatory Research towards Food System Redesign: Italian Case Study and Perspectives
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7138; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247138 - 13 Dec 2019
Industrial agriculture and its requirement for standardized approaches is driving the world towards a global food system, shrinking the role of farmers and shifting decision-making power. On the contrary, a holistic perspective towards a new food-system design could meet the needs of a [...] Read more.
Industrial agriculture and its requirement for standardized approaches is driving the world towards a global food system, shrinking the role of farmers and shifting decision-making power. On the contrary, a holistic perspective towards a new food-system design could meet the needs of a larger share of stakeholders. Long-term experiments are crucial in this transition, being the hub of knowledge and the workshop of ‘participation in’ and ‘appropriation of’ the research in agriculture over a long term. We present a methodology applied during the creation of a small network of organic farmers in Italy and detail the steps of the co-innovation process implemented. After a context analysis of the area to define the type of research and degree of participation, three steps were performed: (1) Identification of stakeholders; (2) dialogic identification of common activities; and (3) validation and feedback from participants. In the first participatory step, five organic farms were engaged for the second and third steps. We organized meetings to discuss future plans, facilitating the interaction process between farmers and researchers. These activities led to: (i) the definition of a research protocol based on farmers’ research needs for a new long-term experiment; (ii) committing farmers to take an active role in the research; and (iii) hosting experimental satellite trials in their own farms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Scaling Up Agroecology: Experiences, Opportunities and Constraints)
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