Implementing Place-Based Food Systems when Access to Place is Precarious
Keywords:Land, Access, Agroecosystems, Political Ecology, Peasant Farmers, Smallholders, Guatemala
Agroecologists and development practitioners claim that the use of agroecological practices can reduce poverty and increase food security. However, this assumption is made without understanding how peasant households can access land on which they can implement agroecological practices. This research explores two research questions: How does differential access to land influence a household’s decision to implement agroecological practices? What types of land-tenure statuses are conducive to adapting agroecosystems? I find that household implementation of agroecological practices by peasant households in rural Guatemala is shaped by access to land, specifically land ownership and parcel size, because of the household’s ability to create systematic changes to crop and livestock production. The household’s ability to implement agroecosystems that cycle nutrients throughout the farm to increase productivity and reduce risk affects its decision to invest in new agroecological practices. I analyze the implementation of agroecological practices among households in San Martín Jilotepeque, Chimaltenango, Guatemala, through qualitative interviews conducted in early 2016.
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