Reconnecting Nature, Farming and Society: Environmental Cooperatives in the Netherlands as Institutional Arrangements for Creating Coherence

H. Renting, J.D. van der Ploeg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleProfessional

100 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

An important implication of agricultural modernization has been the break-down of interlinkages between farming, ecology and society. Historically, farming systems evolved from the specific responses of farming communities to local ecological conditions. The totality of regionalized farming systems arising out of this co-production moulded the countryside into an archipelago of differentiated ruralities. During the period of agricultural modernization, the nature of co-production changed thoroughly. The natural elements in co-production were increasingly artificialized or replaced by industrial artefacts. This paper analyses the emergence of environmental cooperatives in the Netherlands as a movement towards a renewed embedding of farming in its local environment. Environmental cooperatives are local farmers associations that promote activities related to sustainable agriculture and rural development and claim to be actively involved in effectuating rural policies in their locale. Since the foundation of the first cooperative in 1992, numbers have rapidly grown to over 100. This paper examines the genesis and practices of environmental cooperatives and assesses their socio-economic and ecological impact. The importance lies most of all, so the authors contend, in that they represent valuable field laboratories for building stimulating and supportive institutional contexts for remodelling Dutch farming along the lines of environmental and economic sustainability
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-102
JournalJournal of Environmental Policy and Planning
Volume3
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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