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Sustainable farming initiatives (SFIs), which aim to support farmers’ adoption of sustainable practices vary in the degree of farmer participation. In this study, we explored the influence of SFI design characteristics on farmer motivation to participate. Based on self-determination theory, we framed farmer participation by linking participants’ motives and motivational processes, participation context and
participants’ perception of that context. Using a mixed-method investigation, we analysed Veldleeuwerik, a Dutch SFI with about 400 members. We observed four motive types, in order of importance: knowledge exchange, business opportunities, sustainability and social contact. By combining them with five types of motivational regulation, our research revealed that motives are directed by a diversity of underlying motivational processes, and that both are influenced by the participation context, or SFI design. Based on these results, we suggest that SFIs who wish to attract farmers who are not autonomously motivated for sustainability, need to rely on characteristics that meet either other motives than sustainability or other motivational processes than autonomous ones. To maintain participation, SFI characteristics should support autonomous motivational processes, by supporting the psychological basic needs of autonomy, competence and relatedness. The
study illustrates how a socio-psychological perspective adds value to investigating SFI design characteristics for successful farmer participation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Agricultural Sustainability
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)106–123
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • B410-agricultural-hydrology - Farmer participation, sustainable farming initiatives , motivation, participation context, selfdetermination theory

ID: 5896360