In 1954, Pierre Mendès France committed the state to curbing alcoholism as part of an effort to reorient important agricultural sectors and improve French economic performance, using milk as a symbol of his government's new direction. While Mendès France's milk drinking was often portrayed as the whim of a maverick politician, this article shows instead that it was the expression of a broadly based movement to modernize the economy. Challenging the view of an insular state that exclusively served the powerful alcohol lobbies, this article contends that the success of alcohol reform hinged on Mendès France's ability to overcome parliament and pit other economic sectors and a public health movement against those lobbies. Although it would require the more centralized authority of the Fifth Republic to implement lasting reforms to the alcohol sector, the Mendès France government helped raise public awareness about the purported link between alcoholism and agricultural subsidies that kept uncompetitive producers on the land at the taxpayer's expense.
Alcoholism as a Problem of Agricultural Subsidies, 1954–1955
Civil Society and Urban Agriculture in Europe
Mary P. Corcoran and Joëlle Salomon Cavin
This special issue comprises articles by social and environmental scientists, most of whom participated in a working group on governance models and policy contexts of the COST Action TD1106 Urban Agriculture Europe during the period 2012–2016. All have a particular interest in the potentialities of urban agriculture as mediated through civil society actors to contribute to, shape, and transform urban policies in the intersecting fields of land use and access; food and urban ecosystems; education and environment; and history, heritage, and cultural practice. The collaborative, interdisciplinary, and bottom- up character of the contributions broadens and deepens our knowledge of urban agricultural practice across Europe.
Transitions and Transformations in Basque Agricultural Practices
Meredith Welch-Devine and Seth Murray
In this article, 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.
The expansion and intensification of agriculture is a major driver of deforestation in tropical forests and for global climate change. However, over the past decade Brazil has significantly reduced its deforestation rates while simultaneously increasing its agricultural production, particularly cattle and soy. While, the scholarly literature primarily attributes this success to environmental policy and global economic trends, recent ethnographic depictions of cattle ranchers and soy farmers offer deeper insight into how these political and economic processes are experienced on the ground. Examples demonstrate that policy and markets provide a framework for soy farming and ranching, but emerging forms of identity and new cultural values shape their practices. This article argues that to understand the full picture of why Brazil’s deforestation rates have dropped while the agricultural industry has flourished, the culture of producers must be present in the analysis.
The 2009 Reform of Israel's National Land Policy
This study examines the impact of the Israel Land Administration (ILA) reform of 2009 on Israeli land policy in general and on the status of agricultural land in particular. Despite repeated statements by government representatives that the reform pertains only to urban land, my analysis reveals that this legislation has dramatically changed the relationship between urban and agricultural land in Israel. For more than a century, agricultural land enjoyed both substantive and quantitative supremacy over urban land, but after the reform was approved, urban land became the default land definition. I suggest explanations for these fundamental changes and discuss their implications for the future, including the need to formulate new definitions for land uses in both the agricultural and urban sectors.
Insights from the Lake Naivasha Water Basin in Kenya
This article explores the responses to acknowledged anthropogenic transformations of Lake Naivasha in Kenya, whose ecosystem is considered to have been disturbed by the intensification of agricultural uses of natural resources (notably land and water) over the last half century. It examines the ways in which a “payments for environmental services” (PES) project has been implemented, reflecting the rationale of ecological modernization. This article aims to challenge the environmental narrative that supports the project by revealing its oversimplifications. Empirical data demonstrates how the environmental issues addressed by the project are embedded in historically inherited land trajectories. This in turn forces us to reflect on the necessary question of responsibility, an issue at the heart of the debate since the emergence of the Anthropocene concept.
Un cadre d’analyse économique
Philippe Jeanneaux, Olivier Aznar and Christophe Déprés
*Full article is in French
English abstract: This paper proposes to analyze the environmental services provided by farmers in order to clarify the diversity of transactions within the same field. We distinguish two main categories of services: “Service internalization“ corresponding to the internalization of an externality by seeking to modify the joint product, and “Service Delivery“ corresponding to a contract to provide the service. We then cross this characterization with the modes of governance (sectorial vs. territorial) of the environmental services. This analysis allows us, first, to have a better understanding of the dynamics of environmental service supply, and second, to highlight the poor integration of environmental issues in agriculture. The categories generated are illustrated from several empirical studies carried out between 2002 and 2010 in the framework of three research programs.
Spanish abstract: Este documento propone caracterizar los servicios ambientales provistos por los agricultores con el fin de clarificar la diversidad de transacciones dentro de la misma denominación. El artículo distingue dos categorías principales de servicios: “la internalización de servicios“ correspondiente a la internalización de una externalidad a través de modificar el producto conjunto, y “la prestación de servicios“ que corresponde a un contrato de prestación de servicio. Los autores cruzan entonces esta caracterización con los modos de gobierno (sectorial vs. territorial) en el que los servicios ambientales se inscriben; cruce que permite, por un lado, comprender la dinámica de la oferta de servicios ambientales, y por otra parte, remarcar la escasa integración de los problemas ambientales en el sector agrícola. Las categorías producidas son ilustradas a partir de varias investigaciones empíricas llevadas a cabo entre 2002 y 2010 en tres programas de investigación.
French abstract: Cet article propose de caractériser les services environnementaux fournis par les agriculteurs dans le but de clarifier la diversité des transactions qui relèvent d'une même dénomination. Deux catégories principales de services avec quelques déclinaisons ressortent : le « service d'internalisation » visant à internaliser une externalité en cherchant à modifier le produit joint ; le « service prestation » correspondant à un contrat de prestation de service. Nous croisons alors cette caractérisation avec les modes de gouvernance (sectorielle vs territoriale) dans lesquels les services environnementaux s'inscrivent, croisement qui permet, d'une part, de comprendre les dynamiques d'off re de services environnementaux, et d'autre part, de remarquer la faible intégration des problèmes environnementaux dans le secteur agricole. Les catégories produites sont illustrées à partir de plusieurs investigations empiriques réalisées entre 2002 et 2010 dans trois programmes de recherche.
Toward a Conceptual Framework
Charlotte Prové, Denise Kemper and Salma Loudiyi
Urban agriculture (UA) has turned into a diverse and complex movement. Important challenges will be to set accurate expectations by civil society in relation to UA development, and to find ways to discuss UA in governance and collaboration networks from an aggregate point of view. However, analytical tools that allow comprehensive study of UA initiatives (UAIs) are absent. This article elaborates on a conceptual framework from the COST Action Urban Agriculture Europe (Prové et al. 2015) and evaluates findings that result from applying the framework to four UAIs. We found that, analytically, the framework generates in-depth information on UAIs, and argue that it can be a useful tool in networks that are responsible for collaboration, support, or governance within the UA movement. We also discuss its usability issues and discuss future research.
African Megaprojects at a Situated Scale
Serena Stein and Marc Kalina
Agricultural growth corridors (AGCs) have begun proliferating across the actual and policy landscapes of southeastern Africa. Cast as an emerging megaproject strategy, AGCs combine the construction of large-scale logistics (i.e., roads, railways, ports) with attracting investment in commercial agribusiness and smallholder farming. While scholars have long attended to spatial development schemes in the Global South, literature on the rising AGCs of Africa’s eastern seaboard has only recently shifted from anticipatory to empirical studies as policy implementation reaches full force. The article reflects on a new crop of studies that confront the problem of tracing policy imaginaries to the people, places, practices, and ecologies shaped by AGC schemes. In contrast to scholarship that accepts corridors as given entities, we explore directions for research that interrogate the grounded yet provisional becoming of these megaprojects. At such sites, the return of high modernist development logics encapsulated by the corridor concept may be questioned.
Crop booms, rural uncertainty, and the neoliberalization of agriculture in South India
Responding to agrarian crisis at home, cash crop cultivators hailing from the South Indian district of Wayanad increasingly engage in the seasonal production of ginger in other states of India. This is a purely profit-based and unsustainable crop boom that takes a toll on both labor and the environment. This ethnographic analysis of speculative ginger cultivation situates this emerging economic complex in the regional political ecology, farming practices, individual farmers' hopes and aspirations, and in relation to the qualities of ginger as a cultivar. It argues that ginger is a special kind of boom crop and that its cultivation on large tracts of leased land is the manifestation of a moment of agrarian uncertainty and the neoliberalization of agriculture in South India coproduced by the properties of ginger. As a neoliberal boom crop, ginger exemplifies a regime of flexibilization of agrarian accumulation that has proved a profitable move for some, but has brought financial ruin and debt traps for many others.