Contributions Workshop 3.3.B:
Buffering socio-economic vulnerabilites of agro-food systems in Mountain regions


ID: 134
Workshop & Poster
Socio-economic vulnerabilities of farming in the Upper Ötztal
Keywords: Farm resilience, farm diversification, agritourism, Tyrol

Stotten, Rike; Herrmann, Hannes
Department of Sociology, University of Innsbruck, Austria

Workshop Abstract: 

The less favored physical surrounding for production challenges farm activities in mountain areas. Further, they peripheral location hamper their access to the market respectively consumers. Therefore, mountain farming is more exposed to socio-economic vulnerabilities, which makes them more vulnerable for farm closure.

A study investigating farm resilience in the Austrian Ötztal valley reveals that farm diversification serves as one strategy to confront those vulnerabilities. In the case study area in the Upper Ötztal, farms are basically managed part time. Additionally, farm-based accommodation serves to generate a basic income, which enables the farm to adapt and buffer unforeseen events (shocks). The income generated from tourism offers further options to innovate and to respond to new options and serves thus to subsidize the farming structure. This strategy is the base to keep agro-food systems in mountain areas active and makes it attractive for successors to take over the farm in combination with the accommodation activity. However, the food production in the Upper Ötztal itself generate little quantities (mostly meat), so that the local farm produce has not a strong position in the regional food system. Nevertheless, this strategy has a positive impact on the farm resilience.


ID: 147
Workshop & Poster
From the mountains to the valley: integrating local and extra-local resources in a value-adding strategy in the Swiss Alps
Keywords: local; extra-local; value chains; values; proximity; place; rural development

Moschitz, Heidrun; Oehen, Bernadette
Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL, Switzerland  

Workshop and Poster Abstract: 

In this paper, we go beyond a pure market perspective in discussing the relationship between a local farmers’ cooperative and their links to partners outside the region. We explore local cultural and economic value creation and how those local value(s) are continuously re-created by linking endogenous and exogenous resources. To do this, we studied the case of a cooperative of mountain cereal famers in the canton of Grisons, Switzerland, including analysis of scientific and grey literature, as well as in-depth interviews with members of the cooperative. Our results first show the importance of both proximity and place in constructing the ‘local’ by the cooperative. Second, the hybrid governance structure of horizontal and hierarchical relations support the successful marketing strategy, transporting the local values and quality to extra-local consumers in distant markets. Finally, we found that we need to understand the characteristic quality of the cooperative’s products as the result of a recurring cycle of local and extra-local knowledge creation.


ID: 161 
Workshop & Poster
Collective action in Localized Agrifood System: an analysis by the social networks and the proximities. Study of a Serrano cheese producers’ association in the Campos de Cima da Serra region/Brazil
Keywords: Collective Action; Localized Agrifood System; Mountain Cheese; Social Network; Proximity

Pachoud, Carine1,2; Labeyrie, Vanesse2; Polge, Etienne3
1UIBK, Austria; 2UR Green, Cirad, Montpellier, France; 3IRSTEA, Clermont-Ferrand, France 

Workshop Abstract: 

The objective of the study is to propose a relational approach of a collective organization in a Localized Agrifood System (LAS) to grasp collective action processes. The study was conducted in a producers’ association in two municipalities of the Campos de Cima da Serra region, in southern Brazil, where a mountain cheese, the Serrano cheese, is produced. We first conducted social network analyses (SNA) through sociometric interviews with producers’ members of the association, to understand how the different actors of the LAS as well as their relationship patterns frame collective action. Second, an analysis of territorial proximity, conducted through semi-structured interviews with members of the associations, was crossed with the SNA, to observe how the proximities shape social interactions and act as levers to generate collective action. The SNA showed first that networks were centralized, the extension agents having the central position. They are the drivers of collective action, but following a top-down approach. Second, the analysis revealed a lack of trust and reciprocity among producers leading to low level of cooperation. The president of the association played a key brokerage role, essential for the cohesion of the network. Finally, we showed that territorial proximities are instrumental in shaping social interactions in LAS: the less the actors are geographically isolated and the more they participate in cultural life, the more they interact in the association. Hence, territorial proximity appears promising for improving trust, cooperation relations and therefore collective action by increasing interactions among actors.


ID: 468
Workshop & Poster
A Conceptual Framework to Analyse Territorial Resources through the Capability Approach - The Case of the Maurienne Valley
Keywords: Capability Approach, Conceptual framework, Collective Capabilities

Grosinger, Julia
University Grenoble Alpes, Francel 

Workshop Abstract: 

Here, we present and apply a social-ecological system (SES) conceptual framework for assessing territorial resources and associated collective capabilities in mountain landscapes. We identify collective actors and the relevance of multi-level governance by the integration of the capability approach (CA).

First, the social-ecological system (SES) framing allows analysing the dynamic interactions of spatially defined social and ecological subsystems. The proposed framework operationalizes the SES by material and non-material ecological and societal resources with their respective historical legacies.

Second, we integrate the capability approach (CA) to analyse how collective actors mobilize these resources. The CA assesses resources in their respective societal context. We structure this context by a set of institutional, communal and social factors. Through these factors, we identify the different collective actors and their varying spatial and temporal governance scales. Ultimately, this analysis unravels possible underlying capabilities for agricultural systems in marginal areas.

We apply this conceptual framework for the production of the highly-valued, PDO (protected designation of origin) Beaufort cheese in the Maurienne valley in the French Alpes, With this example we aim to highlight the roles of collective actors and their capabilities in marginal, biophysically constrained agricultural systems.

We apply and quantify the framework in two different parts of the Maurienne valley. The Upper and the Lower Maurienne are two areas of the valley with an equivalent set of initial biophysical and societal resource endowments. Their contrasting socioeconomic histories have resulted in a different set of collective, partly interdependent collective actors. We elucidate how these two different multi-level governance constellations have ultimately achieved the same set of collective capabilities. 


ID: 501
Workshop & Poster
Long-term producer-consumer-relations as tool to decrease vulnerability of agro-food-systems in mountain regions
Keywords: sustainability, transformation to sustainability, food sourcing, short-food-supply-chains, agricultural resources

Kister, Jutta
University of Innsbruck, Austria 

Workshop and Poster Abstract:

In the transdisciplinary project “Sustainability Analysis of high-mountain hut Taschachhaus – HIGHT“, we are developing a concept for a sustainability monitoring using qualitative social science methods that enables us to analyse the infrastructure of a high-mountain hut and it`s operation in terms of sustainability. The analysis also includes activities of the hut´s tenants and guests in order to get a full picture of human-environmental relations. In a second phase of the project, measurements will be implemented in order to improve sustainability in the operation of the hut.

Climatic changes and effects thereof can be observed everywhere in the high-mountain areas and raise problems and tasks for the huts. In the future operating a high-mountain hut will be challenging in terms of e.g. water supply or protection from falling rocks. The existence of the huts and pathways are offering access to remote mountain areas. The maintenance of the built infrastructure and the operation with guests and mountaineers frequenting the place are influencing the hut´s natural surroundings, the infrastructure and economy in the valley as well as supra-regional value chains and the climate at a global level at the same time.

Sourcing food and agricultural products for the food supply of the hut´s guests is a constant matter of discussion. In terms of sustainability, it is recommended to avoid long distance transportation and to support local economy of the valley. Constructing long-term producer-consumer relations could be an ideal solution that could increase the sustainability of the mountain hut´s operation and could decrease vulnerability of agro-food systems in the mountain region. In addition, these forms of cooperation might be able to reduce conflicts between agricultural use and recreational use of the mountain environment. On the other hand, obstacles need to be identified that still hinder the establishment of these sustainable forms of short-food-supply-chains.


ID: 438
Workshop & Poster
Food in the cities: a climate nexus with rural landscape – insight from the project SATURN
Keywords: Urban-Rural nexus, Food networks, Organic agriculture, climate change, Alps

Gretter, Alessandro
Fondazione Edmund Mach, Italy

Workshop and Poster Abstract: 

Today, the fragmented landscape management governance leads to uncomplete climate strategies where cities are analyzed independently from their natural landscape. This leads to a bad management of the city surrounding lands which have good carbon sequestration, food and biomass production and risk mitigation potential. Under this perspective is operating “System and sustainable Approach to virTuous interaction of Urban and Rural LaNdscapes” (SATURN) an “Orchestrated Ecosystem” project financed by EIT-CLIMATE KIC. .

The main objectives of the projects are:

  • Establish a strong narrative with public and private stakeholders in order to reconnect them with their landscape identity and geographical characteristics.
  • Build up a comprehensive and flexible framework to guide cities to implement adapted projects about multifunctional use at different scale on cities' surroundings, taking into account land use assets and the cultural identity in their surrounding landscape.

One of the key topic is the food nexus between cities and their rural landscape. Within SATURN are analyzed, and partially supported, initiatives which aims to relocate locally the production of agricultural products.

Most of these initiatives are characterized by personal choice from entrepreneurs and citizens (individuals or groups) which are willing to obtain good food. The production is mainly based on organic approaches and tend, wherever possible to utilize abandoned territories or calling for collective growing spaces (namely “vegetable gardens”). Near the City of Trento a couple of recent experiences are of absolute relevance: one is called “Nutrire Trento” (Feeding Trento), where the Municipality is supporting a short-distance value chain of production, and the creation of a “Biodistretto” (Organic District) with many of the cities’ producers converting to organic methods. The role of private/public involvement and a constantly rising interest from citizens and consumers are supportive for spreading these novel approaches which, beside, are aiming to rise awareness and mitigate climate change. 


ID: 125
Specific Research Poster
Conservation practices of indigenous seeds for sustainability of agro-ecosystem and food security of the mountainous communities in the Western Himalaya, India: A Climate change perspective
Keywords: Indegenous seeds, conservation, seed banks, sustainabality, agrobiodiversit 

Uniyal, Bhagwati; Bhatt, Vinod Kumar
Navdanya, India

Poster Abstract:

Diverse ecosystems give rise to diverse life forms and cultures which are the basis of sustainability. Communities all over the globe have cultivated knowledge and found ways to derive their livelihood from nature's bounty of diversity in both wild and domesticated forms. Due to increasing demand of food, various techniques were adopted with the evidence of the green revolution in India that included use of fertilizers and pesticides for cultivation of high yielding varieties of crops. Extensive use of external inputs not only eroded the diversity but also narrowed down the genetic base considerably and as a result loss of traditional crops is at the verse of extinction. To conserve the agro-biodiversity many efforts and studies have been initiated by Navdanya by documenting the indigenous seed diversity of the region and creating Community Seed Banks to ensure their conservation. It is being done by selecting seed keepers and organizing them in seed producers for different crops in different agro-ecological zones. Farmers were organized and empowered to identify, collect, multiply and exchange traditional seeds vis-à-vis documentation of indigenous knowledge based on them. Community seed banks have not only helped in conservation of traditional agro-biodiversity of cereals, millets, pseudo-cereals, oilseeds, pulses, spices and vegetables but also oriented farmer’s cultivation of the important, highly nutritive traditional crops and their varieties that are also resilient to the climate. Field studies have confirmed that under various climate stress conditions, traditional seeds perform with organic farming when compared to hybrid or high yielding varieties in chemical farming. Training and awareness campaigns also helped to attain seed sovereignty, food security and building climate resilience. Indigenous crops and varieties have also helped increasing biodiversity in the mountain farms by replacing the monocultures to make mountain farming system more resilient to climate change.


ID: 433
Specific Research Poster
The Nardus stricta meadows and consequences of their extension on livestock farmers in mountainous areas
Keywords: Nardus stricta, low fodder value, inadequate activities

GEORGESCU, Mihaela Ioana; FABIAN, Claudia

Poster Abstract:

Nardus stricta - a species with large ecology, forms grassland associations on wide areas, between 300 and 2200 m of altitude. The emergence and extension of meadow made by this species is due to the formation of a layer of organic material that affects the soil, air regime and reduces the processes of mineralization and nutrient formation, in many cases because of inadequate grazing and non-application of current maintenance and fertilization. Thus, grasslands of Festuca rubra or F. ovina are replaced by those of N. stricta with a low fodder value and a limited time of use. In the studied area, the decrease in the number of shepherds and the aging of labor force led to a reduction of sheep flock space, favoring the extension of this type of meadows.



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