Research outputs

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Main research question/goal
Modernization in agriculture has resulted in increased food production at reasonable prices for consumers. But it also has created new challenges: it must respond to increasing scarcity and distributional questions (e.g., natural resources and public finances), while facing deep uncertainty regarding future developments (e.g., climate change and global markets). Important questions need attention: How do market forces, societal demands and resource constraints interact to create both opportunities and constraints for agriculture and rural areas across Europe? Where are the links between farm modernization, rural development and resilience and how can we shape them in positive ways? How can we advance the relationships between rural areas, agriculture and urban centers in a way that increases overall resilience? In RETHINK, we will explore alternative development trajectories, highlight innovation opportunities, and identify potential synergies between farm modernization and sustainable rural development.

Research approach
In the first phase of the project a set  of common research questions was identified. These questions have been used to select 14 case studies, one for each participating country. Each case is an expression of an innovative development trajectory, highlighting potential synergies between farm modernization and sustainable rural development. A joint analytical framework was developed and was structured around four themes: Resilience, Prosperity, Governance and Knowledge and Learning. This ensured the comparability of case study analyses and allow for recommendations to be made at a European level. The conclusions were presented at the final conference on December 2nd, 2015 in Brussels.  Furthermore, the project developed policy recommendations produced five scientific papers published in the journal of rural studies.

The RETHINK project explores the meaning of agricultural modernization. It does so at a time of potentially profound change - when the agricultural sector must respond to increasing resource scarcity and distributional demands, and when economies, production systems and lifestyles must be transformed. RETHINK explores the connections between the development of agriculture and the wider societal and policy goal of vibrant and prosperous rural areas, explicitly recognizing the complexity of the challenges, the diversity in situations, and the multidimensionality of strategies for a more balanced development.  
Effective start/end date1/08/1331/01/16

ID: 4144750