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Volume 3 Issue 1, March 2018
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Agricultural development during the Green Revolution brought India food sovereignty but food insecurity persists. Increased crop production was promoted without considering the more holistic impact on food security. Scientists, extension agents, and farmers have different perspectives on how soil health relates to food security. Understanding stakeholders’ perspectives is essential to improving extension communication and mitigating consequences. This study uses qualitative interviews to construct mental models of soil health for food security. The study site is a peri-urban watershed, which is currently participating in the Integrated Farmer Participatory Watershed Management Model (IFPWM). Our study details and defines stakeholders’ mental models of soil health, soil nutrient management, soil sodicity, and food security. A triad belief held by farmers shows the strongly perceived causal relationship between soil health, plant health, and human health. Healthy soil produces healthy food and humans that eat such food will be healthy. Scientists only perceive one condition to achieving food security in the community—food quantity. However, all other stakeholders perceived another risk to food security—food quality. Eating poor quality food is perceived as linked to human health problems in the community. This research suggests the importance of including a fifth dimension of food security, cultural acceptability, within agricultural technology development and dissemination.
The purpose of this research was to understand how students in different demographics in the state of Minnesota understand and perceive concepts relating to food systems. Schools within the demographic categories of large metropolitan/inner city, urban cluster, and rural areas were chosen to determine if perceptions and knowledge of students were dependent on the demographic in which they lived. A total of 204 students were surveyed using a variety of types of questions to address research objectives. Results indicate that students have a general understanding of food production and where their food comes from, but as food sources become more complex or items are less common, students become confused. Food access did vary, where rural students used gas stations more than their urban counterparts. Large metropolitan/inner city adolescents had higher occasional use of farmer’s market/food stands which can be used as a way to start educational understanding about local foods. Students have a strong willingness to learn more about food systems and other environmental topics in school, but agree that they are not often receiving this interaction in the classroom. All demographics had low interest in local food and gardening, but rural students did have more access to these foods. Implications from this study can help researchers and educators understand students’ knowledge and perceptions about the food system, how they influence it, and how this changes across demographics.
The development of food production in cities has raised some important questions about the governance of these activities and the role of city-regions. In this paper through four European case studies– Bristol (UK), Ghent (Belgium), Vigo (Spain), and Zurich (Switzerland) –we consider the ways in which food is governed at the city level. Our case studies demonstrate the role played by citizens in urban food and the challenges this brings to city-region governance. Through horizontal networking, being inspirational to other cities and citizens, communicating their demands and successes very clearly, urban food activists have raised significant questions about how cities are governed. Using the creation of localized identities, which are inclusive and embracing but rooted in their city, these food activists are looking to a future controlled by a democratic impulse rather than the technocracy of professional city managers. This paper uses a range of Weberian influenced theory to explore the topic of urban agriculture not as one simply about environmental performance but of the construction of new civic identities.
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