PhD Student Land Economy, Environment & Society
The trajectory of change may be uncertain but global agri-food systems are, nevertheless, in transition. The prevailing productivist ethos under pressure from powerful, sometimes conflicting, external forces. For example, raising productivity to feed a growing population; reacting to climate change; addressing greenhouse gas emissions; reducing reliance on scarce natural resources; and responding to market signals. Each a challenge in its own right. Together, having all the characteristics of a so-called wicked-problem with the associated risk that potential solutions will give rise to hitherto unforeseen problems. In this context, innovation is expected to play a key role in enabling the agri-food sector to adjust and adapt. Such are the over-arching complexities, however, that innovation activities are increasingly reliant on interdisciplinary approaches to co-develop effective responses.While this can seem remote from the day-to-day management decisions taken by producers at the grass-roots of the industry, farm plans represent a possible intersection between the global and the local. The introduction of Farm Environment Plans in New Zealand, for example, is seen by some as a mechanism to raise awareness of the interactions between farming and the natural environment, encouraging desirable behaviours and contributing to beneficial outcomes. To others, these plans represent a threat to their very freedom to farm. My interest is in the role of co-innovation in the development of a range of farm planning instruments in a New Zealand context. How this anticipates their subsequent scaling-up, by creating an enabling culture of change; and scaling-out across regions and communities.
Address: Land Economy, Environment & Society, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), Peter Wilson Building, Kings Buildings, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JG.