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Organic Farming, Prototype for Sustainable Agricultures
2014, Pages: 423-438

Transitions Towards Organic Farming at the Farm and at the Local Scales: The Role of Innovative Production and Organisational Modes and Networks

Claire Lamine, Mireille Navarrete, Aurélie Cardona

INRA, UR0767 Écodéveloppement, 228 route de l’Aérodrome, Domaine Saint Paul, Site Agroparc, CS 40509, 84914, Avignon Cedex 09, France.


In a context of growing environmental constraints and economic uncertainties, how is it possible to facilitate transitions towards more ecological forms of agriculture? In this chapter, changes in practices from conventional agriculture towards organic farming (OF) are investigated by combining sociological and agronomical studies of farmers’ trajectories conducted in the fruit and vegetable sectors. We specifically explore the potential of combinations of systems, both at the level of production and in terms of marketing outlets. We analyse the processes of adoption of alternative crop protection strategies using the Efficiency-Substitution-Redesign grid developed by biological and agricultural scientists. The combination of diversified systems of production (including organic and IPM) and marketing channels (including short and long food supply chains) might provide promising transition pathways for organic farmers. We also examine the conditions that enable such transitions, involving learning processes, collective and territorial dynamics and the ability of the networks to overcome the classical frontier between organic and conventional agricultures. Our three French case studies, which cover a wide range of marketing networks and diversification levels, show that a robust ecologisation of agricultural practices requires the redesign of both technical agricultural systems, as well as the larger interactions within agri-food systems and non-agricultural networks.

Keywords:Transition; Fruits and vegetables; Alternative techniques; Marketing channels; Networks.

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