Linkage processes between niche and regime:  sustainable agriculture networks
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Linkage processes between niche and regime: sustainable agriculture networks

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Abstract- This paper aims to reveal, and contribute to an understanding of, the linkage processes that connect innovation networks in sustainable agriculture to elements of the mainstream agricultural ...

Abstract- This paper aims to reveal, and contribute to an understanding of, the linkage processes that connect innovation networks in sustainable agriculture to elements of the mainstream agricultural regime. It draws on findings from analysis of 17 Learning and Innovation Networks for Sustainable Agriculture (LINSA) analysed within the EU research project SOLINSA (Support of Learning and Innovation Networks for Sustainable Agriculture). The LINSA examined represent networks of actors engaged in: agricultural food production, alternative food marketing, urban food systems, care farming and farm energy production. The notion of compatibility and linkage at the macro level structures provides a framework in which to examine the linkage processes that enable LINSA (as niche projects) to adapt and the regime to accommodate them. Five modes of interaction are distinguished based on the level of LINSA compatibility with the regime; these are labelled: Compatible; Complementary; Emergent; Divergent; and Oppositional. The study reveals the dynamic and complex nature of both the LINSA and the regime entities and their interactions and the range of linkage processes that enable LINSA to adapt and the regime to accommodate them. In conclusion, although the challenges of transition to a more sustainable agriculture are often articulated at a macro level, this study shows that at a sub-niche or project level multiple linkage processes are operating which can help to bring about a transition to sustainability.

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Linkage processes between niche and regime:  sustainable agriculture networks Linkage processes between niche and regime: sustainable agriculture networks Presentation Transcript

  • Linkage processes between niche and regime: analysis of Learning and Innovation Networks for Sustainable Agriculture across Europe J. Ingram, N. Curry, J. Kirwan, D. Maye, and K. Kubinakova jingram@glos.ac.uk The 11th European IFSA Symposium, Berlin, 1-4 April 2014
  • Outline • Challenges of transition to sustainable agriculture • Emerging networks • Niches - regime interactions - analytical framework • Methods • Results • Conclusion 2
  • Challenges of transition to sustainable agriculture • Transition in agriculture - a shift from the mainstream ‘productivist regime’ to a regime built around the principles of sustainable production • Transforming systems of food production and consumption poses challenges • Innovation is key to transition but AKS (charged with fostering innovation) are often locked into old approaches or trajectories
  • Emerging networks • Alternative and innovative approaches to agriculture (SA) emerging • Networks of individuals and/or organisations experimenting with new solutions • Innovative niche practices on the margins of the mainstream agriculture regime • Networks are bottom up, coalitions or within regime itself
  • 5 • Alternative approaches (or niche initiatives) as sources of innovation which can seed a sustainable regime transformation • Regime transformation occurs through an accumulation of projects or novelties in niche spaces which allow (through learning and experimentation) radical practices to develop Niche -regime interactions
  • Landscape Pressures Mainstream Food System Bottom Up Innovations Time Scales of Transition Adapted from Geels & Schott, 2007 Macro scale niches -regime interactions
  • 7 Linking potential - governed by: Compatibility with the assumptions, practices and rules of existing regimes facilitates rapid niche growth enabling it to develop and diffuse (Smith, 2006). Linkage processes – regime accommodating and niche adaptation & diffusion processes (translation, absorption, networking) Basis for analytical framework Niche -regime interactions
  • Methods • 17 Case studies in SOLINSA project-LINSA • Participatory workshops, interviews, observation… LINSA- Learning and Innovation Networks for Sustainable Agriculture Networks of producers, customers, experts, NGOs, SMEs, local administrations, as well as official researchers and extensionists, that are mutually engaged with common goals for sustainable agriculture and rural development - cooperating, sharing resources and co-producing new knowledge by creating conditions for communication (Brunori et al., 2013, p4) (See Ingram et al., 2013, www.solinsa.net)
  • LINSA-examples Duurzaam Boer Blijven network of farmers who practice low external input dairy farming. 9 Natürli network of cheese producers in a mountainous region of Switzerland. Latvia Biogas network of producers (especially large farms), investors, scientists, service providers, technology suppliers, policy makers, consultants, municipalities, banks, environmental agencies, NGOs. Boeren en Zorg, Farmers and Care network in Netherlands.
  • Analytical Framework –Modes of interaction • Compatibility • Linkage processes – adaptation, translation, absorption, networking 17 LINSA - clustered into 5 Modes of Interaction Compatible; Complementary; Emergent; Divergent; and Oppositional 3 examples follow:
  • 11 Interaction Mode Compatible Complementary Emergent Divergent Oppositional Compatibility Links between niche and regime Strong Political support and recognition from regime Moderately strong Some shared guiding principles Operating at the intersection of two regimes –some links to both Moderately weak Limited sharing of guiding principles Weak No shared guiding principles; different value system Actors/network configurations Traditional actors Traditional actors in new arrangements plus new facilitators New actors and new networks Traditional actors in new roles, new actors and new networks New actors and new networks Tension in regime (pressures in landscape) Tension – consumers and policy and regulations farm economic livelihood Tension – environmental policy and farm economic livelihood Tensions - policy and economic in both regimes (health/ energy and agriculture) Tensions in regime – consumer awareness, farm economic livelihood Tensions in regime – consumer awareness, health, community concerns Linkage Processes Adaptation Absorption Translation Networking Growing within or adapting to the regime/AKS integration/absorption LINSA practices are sufficiently flexible to be interpreted favourably against regime socio-technical criteria Regime accommodation Co-evolving with regime/AKS aspirations to make a difference to the regime although some adaptation to regime problems Looking for recognition and legitimacy Some regime accommodation Develop in a complementary manner to the agriculture regime, make use of the existing structures when appropriate Mutual adaptation Alignment of rules and routines plus new rules created Some adaptation of LINSA through certification Translations that adapt lessons Extensive networking Mutual adaptation Regime actors accommodate, new actor roles No linkage to traditional regime actors or institutions Little adaptation or regime accommodation Extensive Networking LINSA N Dairy, F RAD, EU organ L Biogas, N Care I Crisop, S Naturli E B&H, E perm, H G7, H Nat
  • 12 Compatibility •Moderately strong , some shared guiding principles •Traditional actors in new arrangements plus new facilitators •Tension – environmental policy and farm economic livelihood Linkage processes •Co-evolving with regime/AKS •Aspirations to make a difference to the regime/some adaptation to regime problems •Looking for recognition and legitimacy •Some regime accommodation Complementary Mode - Sustainable Agriculture Network (RAD) France
  • Compatibility • Operating at the intersection of two regimes –some links to both • New actors and new networks • Tensions - policy and economic in both regimes (health/ energy and agriculture) Linkage processes • Develop in a complementary manner to the agriculture regime, makes use of the existing structures when appropriate • Mutual adaptation • Alignment of rules and routines plus new rules created 13 Emergent Mode – Biogas, Latvia & Care Farming, Netherlands
  • Compatibility • Weak - different value system • New actors and new networks • Tensions in regime –consumer awareness, health, community concerns Linkage processes • No linkage to traditional regime actors or institutions • Little adaptation or regime accommodation • Extensive networking (see Ingram, J. et al., 2014 for Permaculture LINSA) Oppositional Mode - Permaculture & BHFP, UK
  • Linkage processes –LINSA adaptation Interplay between LINSA adaptation and the regime’s accommodation Adaptation LINSA actors make alliances and partnerships with regime actors and draw on, or contribute to, different elements of the regime Translation-not simple adoption - ideas, practices and events in LINSA are translated into ideas and practices in the regime Mutual adaptations and negotiations - aligning practices and rules to those in the regime Networking for diffusing and consolidating ideas in LINSA where traditional regime actors and structures are irrelevant or not accessible
  • Linkage processes- regime accommodates • Provides support, participates in networks/ partnerships/ new alliances • AKS actors are involved in new collaborations with LINSA actors, and take on new roles • Adapts or substitutes some of its rules or routines to accommodate LINSA practices • Certification is key device for inserting practices into the mainstream • Offers legitimacy • Policy instruments make space for LINSA to develop- eg Biogas and N Dairy - regime
  • • Challenges of transition conceptualised at a macro level • Analysis at the sub-niche/niche project level reveals dynamic, diverse and irregular interaction in the ‘fuzzy’ space between niche and regime • Transition to sustainable agriculture is a complex of interactive processes leading to a series of adaptive changes, rather than a regime change © 2014 Julie Ingram. The Author(s) asserts their moral right to be identified as the Authors of the work Conclusion
  • 18 References • Brunori , G. et al. (2013) CAP Reform and Innovation: The Role of Learning and Innovation Networks. Eurochoices 12 (2), 27–33 • Ingram et al. (2013) WP4 Synthesis Report. SOLINSA Deliverable 4.2a,b. www.solinsa.net • Ingram, J. et al. (2014) Learning in the Permaculture Community of Practice in England: An Analysis of the Relationship between Core Practices and Boundary Processes. Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension 20 (3), 1–16 • Ingram, J. et al. (in review) Interactions between niche and regime: an analysis of learning and innovation networks for sustainable agriculture across Europe. Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension