In a neo-liberal era where society in the Developed World is reliant on mass-produced cheap foods, and living standards are based on high consumption of non-renewable energy and materials, this book investigates the growing significance of sustainable systems in rural areas. Drawing on a wide range of topical case studies, primarily in the UK, it provides an in-depth analysis of the progress made towards sustainability within rural systems, focusing specifically upon sustainable agriculture and sustainable rural communities. The authors provide an overview of the various systems of sustainability currently being applied in the Developed World. They highlight key environmental, economic and social issues, including post-productivism, 'alternative' food networks, organic farming, GM foods, conservation, rural development programmes, sustainable tourism, local training schemes and community participation. The various studies provide important lessons in the ongoing search for greater sustainability and suggest positive directions for future policy practice.
'This timely collection of essays provides some fascinating insights into different aspects of sustainable rural systems. The book moves beyond simplistic accounts and highlights the complex nature of both physical resource-base and human dimensions of rural sustainability. A good read.' Brian Ilbery, University of Gloucestershire, UK 'Sustainable Rural Systems brings together a very timely collection of contributions analyzing the intertwined issues of the sustainability of agricultural and rural systems and notions of 'productivist' and 'post-productivist' agricultural transitions. For anyone wishing to better understand the complexities of contemporary rural and agricultural change this thoughtful book will be an invaluable reference.' Geoff Wilson, University of Plymouth, UK 'This volume is another useful addition to the Ashgate series Perspectives on Rural Policy and Planning…The chapters are readable contributions to important debates over the future nature and use of rural areas and the book should prove a useful resource for all those interested in contemporary rural change.' Irish Geography '…likely to prove a useful resource to researchers interested in different aspects of sustainable rural systems. This is particularly likely now, debates about sustainability become increasingly aligned ti debates about food security, adaptation to climate and environmental change, vulnerability and resilience.' European Spatial Research and Policy 'Sustainable Rural Systems presents a valuable collection on rural systems focusing on topics such as multi-functionality and the sustainability of agri-food systems…The main strength of the book is the depth of coverage provided through empirically rich case studies concerned with different elements of postproductivism, multifunctionality and alternative agriculture…this is a fine collection that would be well suited to graduate students and scholars in the areas of rural sociology and human geography.' Geogra
Contents: Preface; Part 1 Introduction: Sustainable rural systems: an introduction, Guy M. Robinson; Productivism versus post-productivism? Modes of agri-environmental governance in post-Fordist agricultural transitions, Mark Tilzey and Clive Potter. Part 2 Sustainable Agriculture: Constructing sustainability through reconnection: the case of 'alternative' food networks, Rosie Cox, Moya Kneafsey, Laura Venn, Lewis Holloway, Elizabeth Dowler and Helena Tuomainen; Farm animals and rural sustainability, Nick Evans and Richard Yarwood; A study of the motivations and influences on farmers' decisions to leave the organic farming sector in the United Kingdom, Frances Harris, Guy M. Robinson and Isobel Griffiths; GM farming and sustainability, Bruce D. Pearce; Balancing nature conservation 'needs' and those of other land uses in a multi-functional context: high-value nature conservation sites in lowland England, Christopher Short. Part 3 Sustainable Rural Communities: 'Culture economy', 'integrated tourism' and 'sustainable rural development': evidence from Western Ireland, Mary Cawley and Desmond A. Gillmor; The Cumbria hill sheep initiative: a solution to the decline in upland hill farming community in England?, Lois Mansfield; Participation and stewardship: sustainability in 2 Canadian environmental programmes, Guy M. Robinson; Index.