Participatory research for sustainable agriculture: the case of the Italian agroecological rice network

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Artículo de revista
European Journal of Futures Research
Autor (es): 
Pagliarino, E.
Orlando, F.
Vaglia, V.
Bocchi, S.
Rolfo, S.
Editor (es): 

Since the Green Revolution, worldwide agriculture has been characterized by a typical top–down approach. The degree of autonomy, creativity, and responsibility of farmers has been limited by the continuous external inputs of chemicals, machinery, advice, subsidies and knowledge. The issue of sustainability has brought complexity and uncertainty to this mainly linear process of innovation, steering agriculture toward alternative models. Agroecology represents an innovative paradigm of agriculture in which external inputs are minimized, and the assets of the farm are greatly valued. Agroecological production relies on the farmers’ direct management of resources and on their active engagement in the agricultural knowledge and innovation system. This paper focuses on the experience of a group of farmers, scientists, public officials, and managers of private companies who are experimenting with agroecology in rice production in one of the most intensively farmed, profitable and environmentally sensitive areas of Italy. The partnership regularly comes together to discuss agricultural techniques and results, needs, and paths of innovation; in addition, it stimulates and takes part in research projects, following a participatory process based on co-learning and mutual responsibility. By using ethnographic methods such as direct observations and in-depth interviews, our work may contribute to understanding the role of participatory research in sustainable agriculture and what makes for good participation.

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Palabras clave: 
rice farming
participatory research
Case study