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This chapter assessed sustainability and resilience of eleven farming systems in their current situation, as well as in hypothetical future systems, using qualitative and quantitative methods. The assessment shows that current farming systems address sustainability dimensions in an unbalanced way and are characterized by poor resilience. Future resilient systems are imagined to promote environmental and social functions in the long term.
This chapter presents the multi-scale co-creation methodology used in SURE-Farm to involve stakeholders with the aim of assessing the resilience of European farming systems. This methodology resulted in a wide range of valuable insights and allowed to identify convergent and divergent stakeholders’ perceptions with possible policy implications.
Accumulating shocks and long-term stresses, such as trade conflicts, climate change and deteriorating public trust in agricultural practices have raised concerns about the resilience of Europe’s diverse farming systems. The SURE-Farm approach aims to systematically assess the resilience capacities of farming systems, i.e. regional constellations of farms and other actors that provide a range of private and public goods, using local resources and traded inputs. This chapter introduces the key concepts and outlines the SURE-Farm approach to assess the resilience challenges and capacities of farming systems. It sets the scene for the empirical analyses and synthesizing assessments presented in the following chapters.
This chapter aims to synthesize key findings from the SURE-Farm project. We first discuss possible amendments to the framework to assess the resilience of farming systems. We then review why many of Europe’s farming systems face a formidable and structural resilience crisis. While emphasizing the diversity of resilience capacities, challenges and needs, we formulate cornerstones for possible resilience-enhancing strategies. The chapter concludes with critical reflections and suggestions for resilience-enhancing strategies that comprise the levels of farms, farming systems and enabling environments. We identify limitations of the research and suggest avenues for future research on the resilience of farming systems.
Current agricultural systems in Europe are locked in to environmentally unsustainable practices due to a range of institutional, cultural, social and financial factors. These are compounded by environmental challenges. This chapter assesses three case studies in Europe and their respective stakeholder perspectives on challenges and potential solutions towards greater environmental sustainability.
Due to collaborative stakeholder networks and innovations, the arable farming system in the Veenkoloniën (the Netherlands) has demonstrated remarkable resilience. Yet, a greater intensity or new types of challenges can undermine the system’s functioning in the future. We suggest various transformative strategies for maintaining specialisation in starch potato production, while strengthening stakeholder cooperation and facilitating learning activities.
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