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Ratti, Pablo, 2023. Upscaling agroecology in Sweden : a participatory-backcasting approach to investigate top-down measures for promoting an agroecological transition of the Swedish agricultural system. Second cycle, A2E. Alnarp: SLU, Dept. of People and Society



Alongside its important contribution to the increase of yields, industrial agriculture has also generated environmental, social and economical negative side effects. Moreover, the forecasted growth of the world’s population puts more pressure for solutions on how to increase food supply while reducing the negative effects of the current agricultural system. Despite having one of the most sustainable agricultural systems, Sweden presents unsustainable features such as: biodiversity loss, eutrophication, soil wear, and water pollution, high production costs, profitability challenges, low competitiveness in comparison to imported food, unsecure working conditions, rural exodus, and low societal understanding about agriculture.
Under the light of these problems, agroecology has been pointed out by researchers, grassroot movements and FAO as a key framework to achieve a food system that is socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable.
Therefore, this thesis is motivated by the challenge of feeding a growing population while increasing the sustainability and resilience of the agricultural system as well as the lack of scientific literature on how to promote agroecology through top-down approaches. Thus, the aim of this research is fourfold: (i) advance the discussion on how to facilitate an agroecological transition of the Swedish agrifood system through top down measures, (ii) design an agroecological Swedish Agrifood System scenario, (iii) identify main changes between the current SAS and the idealised scenario and (iv) recommend participatory policies that address the necessary changes. So as to achieve these goals, a partly new methodology was adopted. The methodology is developed through semi-structured interviews - with farmers, researchers and a grassroot organisation - thematic analysis and backcasting.
The thematic analysis identified seven themes and eleven sub themes related to the characteristics of an agroecological Swedish agrifood system and the necessary changes to achieve it. Furthermore, five themes and seven sub themes were identified regarding the government's actions in order to promote an agroecological transition of the Swedish agrifood system.
The main features of the agroecological scenario are the focus on resilience, self-supply, developing a new food culture, application of agroecological practices, strong urban agriculture, sharing of information among farmers and decentralised marketing of food. The identified key changes so as to facilitate the emergence of this scenario are: political focus, subsidies orientation, increased communication among farmers, adoption of agroecological principles and the marketing system. By last, the recommended policies to address such changes are i) subsidise smallholders committed to local production and marketing, ii) regulate the adoption of unsustainable agricultural practices, iii) act as the main buyer, in the municipal and regional level, or one of the main buyers of local produced food in order to supply public schools, elderly houses and public institutions, iv) establish a new labelling system that benefits the producers who adopt sustainable practices and v) creates a national platform where farmers can exchange information and look for reliable data.
The results of this research contribute to the advance of the discussion on agroecological transitions by I) putting the farmers’ opinions in the centre of the decision making process of elucidating a possible pathway on how to upscale agroecology in Sweden through the designing of an agroecological scenario as well as the policies that could address the necessary changes and hence facilitate/promote the upscaling of such a scenario, ii) reinforce the multiscale approach for the transformation of agrifood systems and iii) envision an agrifood system in Sweden that is environmental, social and economical sustainable,
identify key changes, and design policies that address such changes.

Main title:Upscaling agroecology in Sweden
Subtitle:a participatory-backcasting approach to investigate top-down measures for promoting an agroecological transition of the Swedish agricultural system
Authors:Ratti, Pablo
Supervisor:Ljung, Magnus and Höckert, Jenny
Examiner:Hunter, Erik
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2023
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:LM005 Agroecology - Master's programme 120 HEC
Supervising department:(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of People and Society
Keywords:Agroecology, transition, top-down, scenario, participatory policies
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Deposited On:04 Jul 2023 09:38
Metadata Last Modified:05 Jul 2023 01:09

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