Going Beyond Binary Rural Development Models: Recognizing Diversity and Change in Farming Landscapes with a Biocultural Perspective

SCIENCE FOR SUSTAINABILITY

by Stefan Ortiz Przychodzka

Farming landscapes in the Global South are increasingly suffering the pressures of multiple global crises involving social, economic, environmental and political factors. Narratives on how to resolve this situation and to guide the design of public policies often juxtapose two idealized development models: agroindustrial farming versus traditional agriculture. This dualistic perspective on rural development fails to acknowledge the heterogeneity of farming practices, therefore providing simplistic solutions for wicked problems.

In this post I synthetize reflections on this topic presented during a panel discussion on “Development models and ecology in the Global South” which took place in the International Forum 2020 “Wellbeing and subjectivities across the Global South” at the University of Tübingen in July 2020.

In my presentation I described examples of indigenous farming landscapes in Colombia to highlight the contribution of biocultural approaches to better understand the opportunities, challenges and contradictions of indigenous…

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