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Special Issue "Sustainability and Political Agroecology"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2022) | Viewed by 4872

Special Issue Editors

Dr. David Gallar Hernández
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Sociology and Peasant Studies Institute (ISEC), University of Cordoba, 14071 Cordoba, Spain
Interests: political agroecology; food sovereignty; rural development; traditional knowledge; rural and agrarian heritage; urban agriculture; social movements; participatory methodologies; food
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Emma Siliprandi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO. Rome, Italy
Interests: agroecology, food soveraignity, gender, feminism, social movements

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Any vision of political agroecology must necessarily include the analysis of grassroots processes that are being generated by different social organizations to strengthen agroecological transitions in any of the areas of agri-food systems. Understanding agroecology as a movement, it is essential to understand and analyze how the different actors in the agri-food field are organized to promote changes in agricultural management practices, innovations from food processing, changes in food supplies reaching the concept of “agroecological distribution”, changes in consumption habits, the role of the restaurants and chefs, and their relationship with agroecology.

Through this vision, we are oriented to analyze the collective processes that, from different spheres and in an articulated manner between each other, are committed to contesting the hegemony of the dominant agrifood system, consolidating new practices, and new stories around food, agriculture, “eating well ”, rural territories, or how urban spaces are built, among other issues.

Thus, we are interested in the collective political subjects that are in the framework of agroecology and food sovereignty, their internal strengthening processes, their articulation strategies, their stories about the common good and how agendas are generated, and the repertoires of action and protest that are put into play.

Of course, it is necessary to highlight the impact of feminism within agroecology movements: "Without feminism, there is no agroecology", which emerged from Brazilian feminist organizations and movements and that resonate in all agroecological networks and that agitate experiences, groups, and organizations from all areas.

On the other hand, political agroecology must include the analysis of agroecological policies, that is, the implementation of institutional public policies (municipal, regional, state, international) that promote change towards sustainability with agroecological tools. For this, it is important to collect the experiences of different agroecological policies that have been implemented and consider their impacts. 

Prof. David Gallar Hernández
Prof. Dr. Manuel González de Molina
Prof. Dr. Emma Siliprandi
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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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 2000 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.

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Article
Responding to the Popular Demand: Itinerary for the Socio-Political Learning of Situated Agroecologies in Chile
Sustainability 2022, 14(13), 7969; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14137969 - 30 Jun 2022
Viewed by 372
Abstract
Agroecology has proven to be successful in responding to the demands and needs of a collective due to the relevance of its approach and proposals, which are built collaboratively between all the actors under a specific context that focuses on the actions developed. [...] Read more.
Agroecology has proven to be successful in responding to the demands and needs of a collective due to the relevance of its approach and proposals, which are built collaboratively between all the actors under a specific context that focuses on the actions developed. This is facilitated when spaces of horizontal interaction are generated through dialogues between different perspectives and experiences. In this perspective, agroecological training in higher education, i.e., university level, requires structural changes that go beyond the incorporation of technical content. Based on a critical documentary analysis of the records generated in the implementation of teaching innovation projects, the learning itinerary in agroecology is presented, consisting of four certifications based on transformational learning and supported by active methodologies. The potentialities, including marketing potential, of the proposed learning itinerary relate to curricular design, the articulation of the itinerary, the suitability of the learning methodologies used, the performance of the teachers, and the participation of the students. It is concluded that the implementation of flexible itineraries allows for addressing the transformation processes necessary for an agroecological transition in which we see a convergence of students’ skills, the learning objectives, and the requirements of the various actors with which they interact. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Political Agroecology)
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Article
Community-Supported Agriculture Networks in Wales and Central Germany: Scaling Up, Out, and Deep through Local Collaboration
Sustainability 2022, 14(12), 7419; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14127419 - 17 Jun 2022
Viewed by 466
Abstract
Multiple systemic crises have highlighted the vulnerabilities of our globalised food system, raising the demand for more resilient and ecologically sustainable alternatives, and fuelling engagement in practices such as community-supported agriculture (CSA). In CSA, local farmers and households share the costs and products [...] Read more.
Multiple systemic crises have highlighted the vulnerabilities of our globalised food system, raising the demand for more resilient and ecologically sustainable alternatives, and fuelling engagement in practices such as community-supported agriculture (CSA). In CSA, local farmers and households share the costs and products of farming, allowing them to organise food provision non-commercially around short supply chains. While this may prefigure alternatives to the dominant food system, CSA is considered limited in regard to its scalability and accessibility. While these shortcomings apply to individual CSAs, we know little about whether multi-CSA networks can tackle them by expanding and institutionalising their practices at scale. This paper alleviates this blind spot by investigating local CSA networks in Wales and Germany through a lens of ‘food movement networks’, identifying their scaling practices and encountered challenges. It draws on semi-structured interviews with CSA actors and observations at network gatherings. The paper shows that local collaboration enables CSAs to integrate their supply chains (scaling out), engage their communities (scaling deep), and participate in food councils (scaling up), while further networking at regional level helps new initiatives start up. It also reveals competitive tensions between neighbouring CSAs, which constitutes a hitherto unknown challenge to CSA’s potential scalability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Political Agroecology)
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Article
Participatory Guarantee Systems: When People Want to Take Part
Sustainability 2022, 14(6), 3325; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14063325 - 11 Mar 2022
Viewed by 638
Abstract
Participatory guarantee systems (PGSs) have emerged as a response to exclusion and intermediation processes involving third-party certification, which is currently the only guarantee system recognised by the European Union for organic food. Despite their unofficial recognition, PGSs are developing and generating shared frameworks [...] Read more.
Participatory guarantee systems (PGSs) have emerged as a response to exclusion and intermediation processes involving third-party certification, which is currently the only guarantee system recognised by the European Union for organic food. Despite their unofficial recognition, PGSs are developing and generating shared frameworks of action. In this research, through three certification bodies (two public and one private) and eight PGSs in Spain, we investigate the similarities and differences between the procedures and tasks that both systems develop in order to generate trust in the decision-making structures involved and the responsibilities on which they are based. While the overall organisation of the systems is very similar, there are profound differences in their decision-making: their procedures and who participates in them. The differences we highlight lead us to argue that PGSs effectively solve the exclusion problems that third-party certification generates. Specifically, they offer lower costs and more accessible bureaucracy. They also generate and strengthen, through trust-building, the links and processes of local self-management and empowerment. However, developing PGSs demands much time and dedication, and their official regulation is complex, so it is difficult to predict that they will be widely adopted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Political Agroecology)
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Article
Strengthening Agroecology with the Political Pedagogy of Peasant Organisations: A Case Study of Baserritik Mundura in the Basque Country
Sustainability 2022, 14(4), 2227; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14042227 - 16 Feb 2022
Viewed by 446
Abstract
La Vía Campesina organisations have identified the area of education and training as a strategic and priority arena of intervention to bring about change in the political-pedagogical perspective. This involves rethinking and redesigning the conventional training processes towards the collective experiences of learning, [...] Read more.
La Vía Campesina organisations have identified the area of education and training as a strategic and priority arena of intervention to bring about change in the political-pedagogical perspective. This involves rethinking and redesigning the conventional training processes towards the collective experiences of learning, organisation, exchange and living. With this approach in mind, and based on the experiences and educational contributions made by peasant organisations, this paper presents the systematisation of the Baserritik Mundura experience, analysing and sharing the learning derived from this case study and establishing the integral role of the pedagogic proposal as an axis for systematisation. This analysis, from the logic of the systematisation of processes, promulgates the learnings of this agroecological training experience while exposing both its strengths and weaknesses. We present the learning linked to the pedagogic dimensions that, through a cross-over method, aim to create a multidimensional educational environment which transforms our subjectivities, practices and the beliefs that sustain them. This learning is presented in eight main areas related to: (1) organicity, (2) alternation, (3) the mystical and ludic-cultural dimension, (4) the contents, subjects and teaching team, (5) the proposal as a whole and its perspective of popular education and action research, (6) the transversality of the feminist perspective, (7) linguistic plurality and (8) the pedagogic political support of the process. In addition, we present considerations related to the learning identified in the systematisation itself. On the one hand, we look at the lack of training processes in the official university context related to an alternation system with an organicity linked to the territory, and the need for the practical development of a dynamic of the collective construction of knowledge with a view toward transforming the logics that underpin the existing hegemonic ideologies. On the other hand, we point out the need for a debate regarding the epistemological perspective and integral, experiential and emancipatory pedagogical perspectives. Even with their limitations and challenges, these proposals have great potential to train, organise, politicise, excite and connect people from different fields towards the construction of a fairer, healthier and more sustainable agroecological agri-food system, based on food sovereignty and the everyday lives of people Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Political Agroecology)
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Article
Forging Political Cadres for Re-Peasantization: Escuela de Acción Campesina (Spain)
Sustainability 2021, 13(7), 4061; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13074061 - 06 Apr 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 803
Abstract
Bolstering the political formation of agrarian organizations has become a priority for La Vía Campesina and the Food Sovereignty Movement. This paper addresses the Spanish case study of the Escuela de Acción Campesina (EAC)—(Peasant Action School), which is a tool for political formation [...] Read more.
Bolstering the political formation of agrarian organizations has become a priority for La Vía Campesina and the Food Sovereignty Movement. This paper addresses the Spanish case study of the Escuela de Acción Campesina (EAC)—(Peasant Action School), which is a tool for political formation in the Global North in which the philosophical and pedagogical principles of the “peasant pedagogies” of the Training Schools proposed by La Vía Campesina are put into practice within an agrarian organization in Spain and in alliance with the rest of the Spanish Food Sovereignty Movement. The study was carried out over the course of the 10 years of activist research, spanning the entire process for the construction and development of the EAC. Employing an ethnographic methodology, information was collected through participant observation, ethnographic interviews, a participatory workshop, and reviews of internal documents. The paper presents the context in which the EAC arose, its pedagogical dynamics, the structure and the ideological contents implemented for the training of new cadres, and how there are three key areas in the training process: (1) the strengthening of collective union and peasant identity, (2) training in the “peasant” ideological proposal, and (3) the integration of students as new cadres into the organizations’ structures. It is concluded that the EAC is a useful tool in the ideological re-peasantization process of these organizations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Political Agroecology)

Review

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Review
An Operational Approach to Agroecology-Based Local Agri-Food Systems
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8443; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158443 - 28 Jul 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1183
Abstract
In recent years, the transition to sustainability at a food systems’ scale has drawn major attention both from the scientific and political arenas. Agroecology has become central to such discussions, while impressive efforts have been made to conceptualize the agroecology scaling process. It [...] Read more.
In recent years, the transition to sustainability at a food systems’ scale has drawn major attention both from the scientific and political arenas. Agroecology has become central to such discussions, while impressive efforts have been made to conceptualize the agroecology scaling process. It has thus become necessary to apply the concept of agroecology transitions to the scale of food systems and in different “real-world” contexts. Scaling local agroecology experiences of production, distribution, and consumption, which are often disconnected and/or disorganized, also reveals emergent research gaps. A critical review was performed in order to establish a transdisciplinary dialogue between both political agroecology and the literature on sustainable food systems. The objective was to build insights into how to advance towards Agroecology-based Local Agri-food Systems (ALAS). Our review unveils emergent questions such as: how to overcome the metabolic rift related to segregated activities along the food chain, how to feed cities sustainably, and how they should relate to the surrounding territories, which social subjects should drive such transitions, and which governance arrangements would be needed. The paper argues in favor of the re-construction of food metabolisms, territorial flows, plural subjects and (bottom-up) governance assemblages, placing life at the center of the food system and going beyond the rural–urban divide. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Political Agroecology)
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