RIHN welcomed the leading experts of agroecology, Prof. Miguel Altieri and Dr. Clara Nicholls from University of California, Berkeley through its invited scholar/fellowship program in FY2019. FEAST Project worked collaboratively to conduct a research on scaling up agroecology in Japan with 9 farmers in Kyoto, Hyogo and Hiroshima. The research result is now published on “Agro Sur” (48(2):29-41). You can access the full paper from this link, if you are interested. We would like to thank again the farmers who took the time out of their busy schedule to participate in this research!
Title: Assessing the agroecological status of a farm: a principle-based assessment tool for farmers
Authors: Nicholls, Clara I., Miguel A. Altieri, Mai Kobayashi, Norie Tamura, Steven R. McGreevy, Kazumasa Hitaka
Abstract: Although there are many methodologies available to assess agroecosystem performance (sustainability, resilience, soil quality and plant health, biodiversity levels, etc.), there is still a need to develop a methodology to be used at the field level by researchers and farmers to assess if surveyed farming systems are or not based on agroecological principles. Developing such practical tool is key to determine if farmers in transition are on the right agroecological path. To fulfill this need for a farm-level assessment, a methodological tool was developed and tested with the participation of nine Japanese farmers in three prefectures (Kyoto, Hiroshima and Hyogo). The methodology consists of two parts. The first is a simple and rapid assessment survey based on the grading of eight indicators that match practices used by farmers with agroecological principles. The second part uses the same indicators to define a “threshold level”, below which it is estimated that a farm system is not yet “agroecologically based.” This process enables farmers to reflect and use the tool as a guide to adopt or adjust their practices based on agroecology principles, by changing farm design and management, in order to further optimize the performance of their agroecosystems.