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E&S Home > Vol. 17, Iss. 4 > Art. 42 > Abstract Open Access Publishing 
Nurturing Diversified Farming Systems in Industrialized Countries: How Public Policy Can Contribute

Alastair Iles, ESPM, University of California, Berkeley
Robin Marsh, College of Natural Resources, University of California, Berkeley

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-05041-170442

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Abstract

If diversified farming systems (DFS) are to thrive again in the United States, policies and preferences must evolve to reward the environmental and social benefits of sustainable farming and landscape management. Compared with conventional agricultural policies, policies aiding ecological diversification are underdeveloped and fragmented. We consider several examples of obstacles to the adoption and spread of diversified farming practices in the U.S. industrialized agricultural system. These include the broader political economic context of industrialized agriculture, the erosion of farmer knowledge and capacity, and supply chain and marketing conditions that limit the ability of farmers to adopt sustainable practices. To overcome these obstacles and nurture DFS, policy makers, researchers, industry, farmers, consumers, and local communities can play pivotal roles to transform agricultural research, develop peer-to-peer learning processes, support the recruitment and retention of new farmers through access to credit and land, invest in improved agricultural conservation programs, provide compensation for provision of ecological services in working landscapes, and develop links to consumer and institutional markets.

Key words

conservation programs; direct marketing; diversified farming; farmer knowledge; obstacles; public policy

Copyright © 2012 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article  is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.  You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087