Agroecological Transitions in a Transatlantic Context (1): Concepts, typologies, barriers, drivers and sustainability performance

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Rural Geography Specialty Group, Geographies of Food and Agriculture Specialty Group, Water Resources Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM (Eastern Standard Time)
Room: Washington 4, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Organizers: Gerald Schwarz, Francesco Vanni, Katalin Balázs
Chairs: Gerald Schwarz

Call for Submissions

Please send your abstract (max. 250 words) to Gerald Schwarz ( by October 22, 2018. Presenters of all accepted papers will then need to send their pin to the organizer.


This paper session is one of three sessions on agroecological transitions in Europe and North-America.
Despite significant effort in Europe and North America, the provision of public goods together with private goods is still not in balance and frequently not sustainable on farm or farm systems level. The key dilemma is how to produce sufficient amount of public goods while having viable production of private goods securing economic and social sustainability at farm level, which is not too dependent on public funds. This dilemma has specific characteristics in different farming systems. Agroecological approaches are increasingly discussed as an alternative to farming based on chemical inputs to address this dilemma. While it is acknowledged that farming systems implementing such approaches generally require more knowledge and labour per hectare in comparison to conventional farming, there is a need for a better understanding of the socio-economic and policy factors that hinder or enhance transitions towards agroecological farming.

Implementing agroecological transitions requires a wider systems perspective of interconnected processes and organisational levels in social-ecological systems, considering socio-economic, ecological and political settings at a territorial level beyond the farm-level. (Duru et al. 2015). More research is needed to enhance the understanding of socio-economic and policy drivers and barriers for further development and implementation of agroecological approaches in European and North American farming systems to identify and facilitate transition processes towards sustainable agriculture and food systems. Three major domains must to be considered for the transition to take place: adaptation of agricultural practices; conservation of biodiversity and natural resources; and development of embedded food systems (Wezel et al., 2016).

Our objective is to host three separate but interlinked sessions in order to examine agroecological transitions and we aim for an interdisciplinary approach bringing together experience and expertise from Europe and North America. We welcome conceptual, theoretical and empirical contributions that explore (but are not limited to):
- the strengths and weaknesses of different concepts and typologies that have been applied in the analysis of agroecological transitions in the EU and North America;
- contributions theoretical frameworks such as socio-ecological systems, socio-technological systems and political ecology can provide to the discourse and analysis of agroecological farming;
- barriers and drivers of the engagement of farmers’ and other actors of the value chain in agroecological farming and food production;
- the ways in which different collective actions and efforts support or hinder agroecological transition;
- the roles that market incentives, policy instruments and institutional arrangements play in fostering cooperation in agroecological transitions; or
- the performance and sustainability of agroecological farming at farm & territorial levels.

Please send your abstract (max. 250 words) to Gerald Schwarz ( by October 22, 2018. Presenters of all accepted papers will then need to send their pin to the organizer.

Duru, M., O. Therond & M. Fares (2015) Designing agroecological transitions; A review. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 35, 1237-1257.
Wezel, A., Brives, H., Casagrande, M., Clément, C., Dufour, A. and Vandenbroucke, P. (2016) Agroecology territories: places for sustainable agricultural and food systems and biodiversity conservation, Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, 40:2, 132-144.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Francesco Vanni*, CREA - Research Centre for Agricultural Policies and Bioeconomy, Andrea Povellato, CREA - Research Centre for Agricultural Policies and Bioeconomy, Andis Zilans, Baltic Environmental Forum Latvia , Philippe Fleury, ISARA, Audrey Vincent, ISARA, Uxue Iragui Yoldi, Gestiόn Ambiental de Navarra, S.A., Carlos Astrain Massa, Gestiόn Ambiental de Navarra, S.A., Gerald Schwarz, Thuenen Institute, The role of market and policy incentives in supporting agro-ecological transition: successful approaches and barriers to adoption 20 8:00 AM
Presenter Marcia DeLonge*, Union of Concerned Scientists, Albie Miles, University of Hawai'i, West O'ahu, Liz Carlisle, Stanford University, Rafter Ferguson, Union of Concerned Scientists, Advancing agroecology in the US: Science and policy, from soil to spoon 20 8:20 AM
Presenter Inge Aalders*, The James Hutton Institute, Philippe Fleury, ISARA, Gerald Schwarz, Thuenen Institute, Jaroslav Pražan , UZEI , Audrey Vincent, ISARA, Emmanuel Guisepelli , ISARA, Francesco Vanni, CREA , Ostrom’s Socio-Ecological System (SES): a framework for agro-ecological farming systems? 20 8:40 AM
Presenter Maria Luisa Paracchini*, European Commission - Joint Research Centre, Carlo Rega, European Commission - Joint Research Centre, Davy McCraken, Scotland's Rural College - Hill & Mountain Research Centre, Matteo Zavalloni, University of Bologna - Department of Agricultural Sciences, A typology for schematising the degree of ecological friendliness in farming 20 9:00 AM
Presenter Ekaterina Bezborodko*, , Spatiality of Agricultural Education: A Critical Perspective on the Political Economy of Socio-Ecological Knowledge 20 9:20 AM

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