Agroecological Transitions in a Transatlantic Context (2): Concepts, typologies, barriers, drivers and sustainability performance

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Geographies of Food and Agriculture Specialty Group, Rural Geography Specialty Group, Water Resources Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM (Eastern Standard Time)
Room: Washington 4, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Organizers: Gerald Schwarz, Inge Aalders, Francesco Vanni
Chairs: Francesco Vanni

Call for Submissions

Please send your abstract (max. 250 words) to Gerald Schwarz ( by November 6, 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 the theme of 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 November 6, 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 Alexandra Smyrniotopoulou, Agricultural University of Athens, Katherine N. Irvine, James Hutton Institute, Marie-Alice Budniok, European Landowners’ Organization, Branwen Miles, European Landowners’ Organization, Maeve Howe, European Landowners’ Organization, Alexandra Puscas, WWF Danube-Carpathian Programme, Mihaela Nechifor, WWF Danube-Carpathian Programme, George Vlahos, Agricultural University of Athens, David Miller, James Hutton Institute, Gerald Schwarz*, Thuenen Institute, Using transdisciplinary research to understand transition to agro-ecological farming systems 20 9:55 AM
Presenter Pille Koorberg*, Estonian Agricultural Research Centre, Role of evaluation and EIP-AGRI to support and promote sustainable agricultural practices that enhance ecosystem services and conserve agro-biodiversity 20 10:15 AM
Presenter Wayne Caldwell*, University of Guelph, Paul Kraehling*, University of Guelph, Ontario’s Greenbelt – An Opportunity for Agro-ecological Transitions 20 10:35 AM
Presenter Egon Noe*, University of Southern Denmark, Agroecology and structural couplings with the financial system 20 10:55 AM
Discussant Katalin Balázs Geonardo Ltd 20 11:15 AM

To access contact information login