Field Schools (Jules Pretty)

URL http://www.resurgence.org/magazine/article131-Fiel...
Summary Local wisdom networks provide an improved understanding of ecology.

Resurgence 243 article

Local wisdom networks provide an improved understanding of ecology.

ALTHOUGH MANY resource-conserving practices are now being used across the world’s agricultural systems, the total number of farmers using them is still relatively small. This is because the adoption of such practices is not a costless process. Transition costs arise for several reasons. Farmers must first invest in learning. As recent policies have tended to promote specialised systems with a lower innovation capacity, so farmers have to spend time learning about a greater diversity of practices. Lack of information and management skills is, therefore, a barrier to the adoption of sustainable agriculture. During transitions, farmers have to experiment more, and so incur the costs of making mistakes as well as of acquiring new knowledge. The biological processes that make sustainable agriculture productive also take time to become established.