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Pathways towards agricultural sustainability analysed in new book

The new book explores pathways towards agricultural sustainability (c) Hutton
"The book represents an important contribution to transition theory and practice

Increasingly unpredictable global weather, changing consumer perceptions and an ageing workforce make sustainability a core concern for the agricultural industry. A new book co-edited by a James Hutton Institute social scientist aims to improve the understanding of transition processes towards sustainability in European agriculture.

The work, entitled “Transition Pathways Towards Sustainability in Agriculture” looks at case studies from Europe and was co-edited by Dr Lee-Ann Sutherland, from the Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences group of the James Hutton Institute, together with Dr Ika Darnhofer, from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna; Professor Geoff A. Wilson, Plymouth University; and Dr Lukas Zagata, Czech University of Life Sciences, Prague.

“The book represents an important contribution to transition theory and practice,” Dr Sutherland said. “To date, few studies have focused on the agriculture sector. Transition in agriculture is highly complex, because of the range of different industries in which farms can be involved – food, fibre and energy production and tourism, for example, in addition to enabling environmental protection and broader community development.

“Findings in the book demonstrate that many new innovations are rooted in historic approaches (‘retroinnovation’) and establishing new connections between sectors (‘niche tandems’), such as agriculture and tourism. We argue that sustainability transitions can be undermined by emphasis on market-based and ‘technological fix’ solutions.”

Chapters in the book are based on findings from the FarmPath research project undertaken from 2011 to 2014 with funding from the European Union through its 7th Framework Programme.

More than a thousand people from across Europe were involved in the project, as members of national stakeholder partnership groups, interviewees, focus group and workshop participants, researchers and academic advisors.

Professor Guy Robinson, Director of the Centre for Regional Engagement at the University of South Australia, commented: “This book provides timely analysis of the multiple challenges facing European agriculture. Exciting new insights are developed covering topics such as multifunctionality, high nature value farming, energy production from farm crops and new forms of governance.”

The book is available from online retailer

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Printed from /news/pathways-towards-agricultural-sustainability-analysed-new-book on 28/02/24 04:49:48 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.