Scale dynamics of grassroots innovations through parallel pathways of transformative change

Frans Hermans, Dirk Roep, Laurens Klerkx

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


An important issue for the study of grassroots innovations and the geography of sustainability transitions is how
scales affect transformative change. In this paper wewill address the questions of 1) how grassroots innovations
for sustainable agriculture are scaled and 2) the consequences of crossing different scales and levels on the characteristics
of the grassroots innovation. We propose a framework of five different scales to analyze the development
of grassroots innovations and we apply this framework on the long-term development of an agricultural
grassroots innovation movement that pioneered innovative dairy farming practices combined with landscape
management. The results show how the initial innovation coalition built around low external input farming became
fragmented. Each of the resulting new grassroots innovation coalitions used different strategies for
upscaling and outscaling that depended on differences in their (regional) contexts and institutional support.
The grassroots innovation thus developed along three parallel, at times intersecting, innovation pathways. The
distributed agency of multiple actor groups working in parallel leads to a continuous renegotiating of meaning
that poses a challenge to the idea of planned processes of outscaling and upscaling of grassroots innovations
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-295
JournalEcological Economics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016

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