How can the dynamics of the agro-food sector in the long run be addressed? We argue that sustainable agro-food systems cannot be developed through a simple improvement of existing systems, but will require a transition. Therefore, we focus on how transitions to sustainability could be initiated and supported, taking into account renewal initiatives at the farm level, organised projects, heterogeneous actors and differing interests. We argue that a transition will have to come from a range of novelties that initially have various misfits with an existing regime. To tackle these misfits will require a learning process that needs to be of a ‘reflexive’ nature which implies that various taken for granted characteristics of the regime and beliefs of stakeholders can be questioned. Another critical issue is that this learning not only takes place in a protected environment (or niche) but that new links with the existing regime need to be created. Only then can learning about novelties start a transformation process in the regime that may eventually lead to a transition.
|Title of host publication||Farming Systems Research into the 21st Century: The New Dynamic|
|Editors||I. Darnhofer, D. Gibbon, B. Dedieu|
|Place of Publication||Dordrecht|
|Publisher||Springer Science + Business Media|
|Publication status||Published - 2012|