Actualizations of agroecology among Scottish farmers

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Transformative agroecology challenges industrialized food and farming systems, proposing an alternative vision in which farms are designed around ecological symbioses and embedded within socially just food networks. However, at a policy level, alternative conceptualizations of agroecology have emerged that emphasize on-farm efficiency gains but lack broader objectives of agroecosystem and food system transformation. This phenomenological inquiry explores the agroecological narrative among Scottish farmers and considers its impacts on agroecosystem and food system change. Interviews were conducted across 15 farms in Scotland (20 participants) following the trans positional cognition approach (TPCA). Actualizations of agroecology were found to be value-driven approaches to developing individualized, lower-input farming systems. All farms were attempting to influence agroecosystem change through the application of ecological principles, and most (11/15) were contributing to food system change directly through involvement in alternative food networks. Smaller-scale farmers appear to deliver the most authentic actualizations of transformative agroecology but emphasized more strongly their financial challenges. A key recommendation for policymakers is to strengthen the support mechanisms available for small-scale ecological agriculture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-73
Number of pages24
JournalAgroecology and Sustainable Food Systems
Issue number1
Early online date16 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2023


  • agroecology
  • agricultural transition
  • Scottish farmers
  • phenomenology
  • TPCA
  • alternative food networks


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