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'We're European Farmers Now': Transitions and Transformations in Basque Agricultural Practices

Meredith Welch-Devine and Seth Murray

Keywords: AGROTOURISM; AOC; BASQUE REGION; COMMON AGRICULTURAL POLICY; DIRECT SALES

Abstract

In this essay, we discuss the economic constraints and opportunities that Basque farmers in two neighbouring valleys in France faced before the 2003 reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). In the last decade, constraints and opportunities have shifted, and farmers have diversified their economic strategies in order to cope with a rise in rural tourism and second home ownership, an expansion of leisure activities into what has historically been an agricultural territory, and the implications that the uncertain future of the European Union's CAP has for small family farmers in this area. We examine this diversification of household economic strategies to include non-agricultural activities and the implications it has for economic health and rural livelihoods in the Basque region.

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