Photo of Gaëlle Leduc nailing her PhD thesis.

Factors for farmers’ adoption of ecological approaches

Mistra Food Futures congratulates Gaëlle Leduc for her dissertation earlier this week! Gaëlle has been a Ph.D. Student at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Economics since 2018. Her research within the LIFT project (Low-Input Farming and Territories – Integrating knowledge for improving ecosystem-based farming) has received funding by the European Commission.

In her study, Gaëlle investigates different factors for farmers’ adoption of ecological approaches, which are defined as farming practices and farming systems that have potential to deliver ecosystem services. Her study shows that policy-makers mainly justify the support for ecological approaches based on motives about biodiversity, the environment and cultural heritage. Social and economic types of public goods from ecological approaches are however not as much emphasized by policy-makers. In comparison, the thesis shows that farmers with certified organic production are driven by both financial and non-financial motives such as sustainable production, profits, food safety, health, and lifestyle. Highlighting not only environmental but also social and economic benefits from ecological approaches can therefore contribute to a better targeted communication that farmers can more easily relate to, according to the thesis.

Social values could also be used in communication to a greater extent, for instance in the marketing of organic food, according to the study. Finally, the thesis also highlights the importance of farmers’ network membership, which fosters the spread of knowledge and expertise, and encourages Swedish farmers’ adoption of agroforestry practices.