What is it about?

Changing from conventional to sustainable agriculture necessitates many changes. These include the development of new knowledge about sustainable agriculture. Such knowledge flows between people who are contributing to building sustainable agricultural systems. People in-between conventional and sustainable systems, who are parts of both, are also important. Such intermediaries can play important roles in helping both sides understand one another, and ultimately in developing more sustainable agricultural systems. Sustainable agriculture does not develop all at once - instead, bits and pieces develop, with some stronger and some slower in their growth. Supporting the creation of markets and value chains for sustainable agriculture can help to develop such systems overall.

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Why is it important?

The global agri-food system is simultaneously a major contributor to, and severely affected by, climate change. Agroecological farming systems can contribute to creating resilient agri-food systems. Based on a multi-year qualitative case study, we use a niche development framework to explore knowledge flows and intermediaries in the emergence of agroecology in Nicaragua. The results highlight diversity within transition processes. In some aspects, change may be substantial; in others not. Agency for transitions may come from both niche and regime actors, and individuals able to move between regime and niche are key agents in fomenting change. We draw lessons for transitions in other areas (e.g. creation of financial- and market-focused intermediaries during stabilization phase).

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This page is a summary of: Developing the agroecological niche in Nicaragua: The roles of knowledge flows and intermediaries, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, November 2023, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2206195120.
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