Principles-based Approaches in Agroecology
From left to right: FAO cover of the TAPE publication (2020; Photo credit © FAO/Daniel Hayduk); Don Faustino Aquino García in his vegetable plot in El Salvador (Photo credit: Ernesto Méndez); Members of the McKnight Foundation’s Collaborative Crop Research Program (CCRP), visiting a farm in Malawi (Photo credit Ernesto Méndez); Farmer Hilary Martin conducting an agroecology principles inventory for Diggers Mirth Farm and the Intervale Center, in Vermont, U.S.A. (Photo credit: Maria Juncos).
LEAD GUEST EDITOR
V. Ernesto Méndez, Professor of Agroecology and Environmental Studies, Co-Director,
Agroecology and Livelihoods Collaborative (ALC), Plant & Soil Science Department and Environmental Program, University of Vermont
Nils McCune, Research Associate, Agroecology and Livelihoods Collaborative (ALC), Plant & Soil Science Department and Environmental Program, University of Vermont
Colin Anderson, Research Associate, Agroecology and Livelihoods Collaborative (ALC), Plant & Soil Science Department and Environmental Program, University of Vermont
Gabriela Bucini, Research Associate, Agroecology and Livelihoods Collaborative (ALC), Plant & Soil Science Department and Environmental Program, University of Vermont
In the last decade, the field of agroecology has gained increased recognition in a variety of spaces and through different applications. These include a growing interest from academics, through both research and teaching/training (science); its direct application in farms and landscapes (practice); and as a guiding and supporting approach to agricultural and rural social movements and grassroots organizations (e.g. Via Campesina). Since its early days as an emerging scientific field, agroecologists proposed the use of ‘principles’ to guide its research and applications. The term principle(s) has been defined in different ways, so it is important to start this introduction by being clear about how we understand it in this special feature. The Oxford English Dictionary defines principle as “… a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning” (Oxford English Dictionary). In his book on principles-based evaluation (2007), Patton adds to this definition that “evidence-based effective principles assume that while the principles remain the same, in implementing principles there will necessarily and appropriately be adaptation within and across contexts.” Patton’s definition of an evidence-based principle is the one that best fits the goal of this special feature, as it views agroecological principles as applicable to a variety of settings, allowing for flexibility and adaptability in each context. The general objective of this Elementa special feature is to critically examine how the use of principles in agroecology has evolved (both conceptually and empirically), where it currently stands, and how it can support the advancement of the field in the future. There is a growing interest and hope that agroecology is a leading, emergent approach to support the sustainable and just transformation of our agrifood systems. Following recent developments in the use of agroecology principles, by a diversity of actors, this special feature explicitly pursues contributions that represent agroecology as a multidimensional approach, which encompasses its confluence as science, social movements and agricultural practices. In particular, we are interested in manuscripts that integrate all three of these aspects into both conceptual examinations and practical applications.
We welcome submissions of Research Articles, Review Articles, Policy Bridges, Practice Bridges, and Commentaries that focus on principles-based approaches in agroecology. Although Elementa has no page limit for submitted manuscripts, please find below broad guidance on page length for article types for this forum:
- Research Articles and Review Articles – We suggest an approximate length of 15–25 pages of double-spaced body text, excluding tables, figures and references.
- Policy Bridge and Practice Bridge – Recommended length is approximately 10–15 pages of double-spaced body text, excluding tables, figures and references.
- Commentary - Recommended length is approximately 8–12 pages of double-spaced body text, excluding tables, figures and references.