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Agroecological transitions in the mind

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Agroecology has evolved and is promoted as an integrated pathway for the development of food and agriculture systems in ways that address the interacting social, economic, and environmental challenges of current dominant systems. Agroecology is usually described and defined by a set of principles that can be adapted and implemented in ways that are relevant to diverse contexts. Transition to wider use of agroecology depends on farmers and others who are not yet convinced deciding that agroecology provides the right pathway for them. We used 2 human behavioral models to highlight the influence of personal motivational factors such as attitudes and values in transitioning to agroecology. Current sets of agroecology principles generally do not refer to the values, beliefs, motivations, or attitudes that go along with, or are precursors to, change in practices. Insights from research on environmental education and pro-environmental behavior show that such values and attitudes, or mindsets, are built and nurtured through connection with nature, sense of place, group and individual identity, and self- and social efficacy. While recognizing the need for more comprehensive mindset principles for agroecology, we propose, based on our focus on achieving pro-environmental action, that a principle of deliberate building of ecological mindsets be added to the sets of agroecological principles. Transformational learning provides some practical ways of implementing that are well aligned with approaches to learning for agroecology that are already being used.

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    Soini Coe, E.; Coe, R.




    agroecology, food systems, agricultural systems, principles

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