Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 12

Search results for: agroecology

12 Agroecology: Rethink the Local in the Global to Promote the Creation of Novelties

Authors: Pauline Cuenin, Marcelo Leles Romarco Oliveira

Abstract:

Based on their localities and following their ecological rationality, family-based farmers have experimented, adapted and innovated to improve their production systems continuously for millennia. With the technological package transfer processes of the so-called Green Revolution for agricultural holdings, farmers have become increasingly dependent on ready-made "recipes" built from so-called "universal" and global knowledge to face the problems that emerge in the management of local agroecosystems, thus reducing their creative and experiential capacities. However, the production of novelties within farms is fundamental to the transition to more sustainable agro food systems. In fact, as the fruits of local knowledge and / or the contextualization of exogenous knowledge, novelties are seen as seeds of transition. By presenting new techniques, new organizational forms and epistemological approaches, agroecology was pointed out as a way to encourage and promote the creative capacity of farmers. From this perspective, this theoretical work aims to analyze how agroecology encourages the innovative capacity of farmers, and in general, the production of novelties. For this, an analysis was made of the theoretical and methodological bases of agroecology through a literature review, specifically looking for the way in which it articulates the local with the global, complemented by an analysis of agro ecological Brazilian experiences. It was emphasized that, based on the peasant way of doing agriculture, that is, on ecological / social co-evolution or still called co-production (interaction between human beings and living nature), agroecology recognizes and revalues peasant involves the deep interactions of the farmer with his site (bio-physical and social). As a "place science," practice and movement, it specifically takes into consideration the local and empirical knowledge of farmers, which allows questioning and modifying the paradigms that underpin the current agriculture that have disintegrated farmers' creative processes. In addition to upgrade the local, agroecology allows the dialogue of local knowledge with global knowledge, essential in the process of changes to get out of the dominant logic of thought and give shape to new experiences. In order to reach this articulation, agroecology involves new methodological focuses seeking participatory methods of study and intervention that express themselves in the form of horizontal spaces of socialization and collective learning that involve several actors with different knowledge. These processes promoted by agroecology favor the production of novelties at local levels for expansion at other levels, such as the global, through trans local agro ecological networks.

Keywords: agroecology, creativity, global, local, novelty

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11 Examining the Role of Farmer-Centered Participatory Action Learning in Building Sustainable Communities in Rural Haiti

Authors: Charles St. Geste, Michael Neumann, Catherine Twohig

Abstract:

Our primary aim is to examine farmer-centered participatory action learning as a tool to improve agricultural production, build resilience to climate shocks and, more broadly, advance community-driven solutions for sustainable development in rural communities across Haiti. For over six years, sixty plus farmers from Deslandes, Haiti, organized in three traditional work groups called konbits, have designed and tested low-input agroecology techniques as part of the Konbit Vanyan Kapab Pwoje Agroekoloji. The project utilizes a participatory action learning approach, emphasizing social inclusion, building on local knowledge, experiential learning, active farmer participation in trial design and evaluation, and cross-community sharing. Mixed methods were used to evaluate changes in knowledge and adoption of agroecology techniques, confidence in advancing agroecology locally, and innovation among Konbit Vanyan Kapab farmers. While skill and knowledge in application of agroecology techniques varied among individual farmers, a majority of farmers successfully adopted techniques outside of the trial farms. The use of agroecology techniques on trial and individual farms has doubled crop production in many cases. Farm income has also increased, and farmers report less damage to crops and property caused by extreme weather events. Furthermore, participatory action strategies have led to greater local self-determination and greater capacity for sustainable community development. With increased self-confidence and the knowledge and skills acquired from participating in the project, farmers prioritized sharing their successful techniques with other farmers and have developed a farmer-to-farmer training program that incorporates participatory action learning. Using adult education methods, farmers, trained as agroecology educators, are currently providing training in sustainable farming practices to farmers from five villages in three departments across Haiti. Konbit Vanyan Kapab farmers have also begun testing production of value-added food products, including a dried soup mix and tea. Key factors for success include: opportunities for farmers to actively participate in all phases of the project, group diversity, resources for application of agroecology techniques, focus on group processes and overcoming local barriers to inclusive decision-making.

Keywords: agroecology, participatory action learning, rural Haiti, sustainable community development

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10 Agroecology and Seasonal Disparity Nexus with Nutritional Status of Children in Ethiopia

Authors: Dagem Alemayehu, Samson Gebersilassie, Jan Frank

Abstract:

Climate change is impacting nutrition through reducing food quantity and access, limiting dietary diversity, and decreased nutritional food content as well as strongly affecting seasonal rainfall in Ethiopia. Nevertheless, only a few data is available on the impacts of seasonality in Infant, and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices undernutrition among 6-23 months old children in different agro-ecological zones of poor resource settings of Ethiopia. Methods: Socio-demographic, anthropometry, and IYCF indicators were assessed in the harvest and lean seasons among children aged 6–23 months of age randomly selected from rural villages of lowland and midland agro-ecological zones. Results: Child stunting and underweight increased from prevalence of 32.8 % and 23.9 % (lowland &midland respectively) in the lean season to 36.1% and 33.8 % harvest seasons, respectively. The biggest increase in the prevalence of stunting and underweight between harvest and lean seasons was noted in the lowland zone. Wasting decreased from 11.6% lean to 8.5% harvest, with the biggest decline recorded in the midland zone. Minimum meal frequency, minimum acceptable diet, and poor dietary diversity increased considerably in harvest compared to a lean season in the lowland zone. Feeding practices and maternal age were predictors of wasting, while women's dietary diversity and children's age was a predictor of child dietary diversity in both seasons. Conclusion: There is seasonal variation in undernutrition and IYCF practices among children 6-23 months of age with more pronounced effect lowland agro-ecological zone.

Keywords: agroecology, seasonality, stunting, wasting

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9 The Role of Non-Native Plant Species in Enhancing Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa

Authors: Thabiso Michael Mokotjomela, Jasper Knight

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Intensification of agricultural food production in sub-Saharan Africa is of paramount importance as a means of increasing the food security of communities that are already experiencing a range of environmental and socio-economic stresses. However, achieving this aim faces several challenges including ongoing climate change, increased resistance of diseases and pests, extreme environmental degradation partly due to biological invasions, land tenure and management practices, socio-economic developments of rural populations, and national population growth. In particular, non-native plant species tend to display greater adaptation capacity to environmental stress than native species that form important food resource base for human beings, thus suggesting a potential for usage to shift accordingly. Based on review of the historical benefits of non-native plant species in food production in sub-Saharan Africa, we propose that use of non-invasive, non-native plant species and/or the genetic modification of native species might be viable options for future agricultural sustainability in this region. Coupled with strategic foresight planning (e.g. use of biological control agents that suppress plant species’ invasions), the consumptive use of already-introduced non-native species might help in containment and control of possible negative environmental impacts of non-native species on native species, ecosystems and biodiversity, and soil fertility and hydrology. Use of non-native species in food production should be accompanied by low cost agroecology practices (e.g. conservation agriculture and agrobiodiversity) that may promote the gradual recovery of natural capital, ecosystem services, and promote conservation of the natural environment as well as enhance food security.

Keywords: food security, invasive species, agroecology, agrobiodiversity, socio-economic stresses

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8 Bulking Rate of Cassava Genotypes and Their Root Yield Relationship at Guinea Savannah and Forest Transition Agroecological Zone of Nigeria

Authors: Olusegun D. Badewa, E. K. Tsado, A. S. Gana, K. D. Tolorunse, R. U. Okechukwu, P. Iluebbey, S. Ibrahim

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Farmers are faced with varying production challenges ranging from unstable weather due to climate change, low yield, malnutrition, cattle invasion, and bush fires that have always affected their livelihood. Research effort must therefore be centered on improving farmers’ livelihood, nutrition, and health by providing early bulking biofortified cassava varieties that could be harvested earlier with reasonable root yield and thereby preventing long stay of the crop on their farmland. This study evaluated cassava genotypes at different harvesting months of 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after planting in order to evaluate their bulking rate at different agroecology of Mokwa and Ubiaja. Data were collected on fresh storage root yield, Harvest index, and Dry matter content. It was shown from the study that traits FSRY, HI, and DM were significant for genotype and months after planting and variable among the genotype while location had no effect on the yield traits. Early bulking genotypes were not high yielding and showed discontinuity at some point across the months. The retrogression in yield performance across months had no effect on the highest yielding. Also, for all the genotypes and across evaluated months, FSRY reduces at 9 MAP due to a reduction in dry matter content during the same month, and the best performing genotype was the genotype IBA90581, followed by IBA120036, IBA130896, and IBA980581 while the least performing was genotype IBA130818.

Keywords: early bulking, dry mater, harvest index, high yielding, root yield

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7 Concurrent Micronutrient Deficiencies in Lactating Mothers and Their Infants 6-23 Months of Age in Two Agro-Ecological Zones of Rural Ethiopia

Authors: Kedir Teji Roba, Thomas P. O’Connor, Tefera Belachew, Nora M. O’Brien

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Micronutrient deficiencies of ferritin, zinc and haemoglobin are prevalent among the mothers and their infants in developing countries. But little attention has been given to these vulnerable groups. No study has been done on co-existence of the deficiencies among lactating mothers and their breast feeding infants in two different agro-ecological zones of rural Ethiopia. Methods: Data were collected from 162 lactating mothers and their breast feeding infants (aged 6-23 months) who were living in two different agro-ecological zones. The data were collected via a structured interview, anthropometric measurements, and blood test for Zinc, ferritin and anaemia. Correlation and Chi square test were used to determine the association among nutritional status and agro ecological zones. Results: Iron deficiency was found in 44.4% of the infants and 19.8% of the mothers. Zinc deficiency was found in 72.2% of the infants and 67.3% of the mothers. Of the study subject 52.5% of the infants and 19.1% of the mothers were anaemic, and 29.6% of the infants and 10.5% of the mothers had iron deficiency anaemia. Among the mothers with iron deficiency, 81.2% and 56.2% of their children were deficient in zinc and iron respectively. Similarly, among the zinc deficient mothers, 75.2% and 45.3% of their children were deficient in zinc and iron. There was a strong correlation between the micronutrient status of the mothers and the infants on status of ferritin, zinc and anaemia (P < 0.001). There is also statistically significant association between micronutrient deficiency and agro-ecological zones among the mothers (p < 0.001) but not with their infants. Deficiency in one, two, or three, micronutrients was observed in 48.1%, 16.7% and 9.9% of the mothers and 35.8%, 29.0%, and 23.5%, of their infants respectively. Conclusion: This study shows that iron and zinc deficiencies are the prevalent micronutrient deficiencies among the lactating mothers and their infants, with variation of the magnitude across the agro-ecological zones. This finding calls for a need to design effective preventive public health nutrition programs to address both the mothers’ and their infants’ needs.

Keywords: ferritin/iron, zinc, anaemia, agroecology, malnutrition

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6 Improving the Genetic Diversity of Soybean Seeds and Tolerance to Drought Irradiated with Gamma Rays

Authors: Aminah Muchdar

Abstract:

To increase the genetic diversity of soybean in order to adapt to agroecology in Indonesia conducted ways including introduction, cross, mutation and genetic transformation. The purpose of this research is to obtain early maturity soybean mutant lines, large seed tolerant to drought with high yield potential. This study consisted of two stages: the first is sensitivity of gamma rays carried out in the Laboratory BATAN. The genetic variety used is Anjasmoro. The method seeds irradiated with gamma rays at a rate of activity with the old ci 1046.16976 irradiation 0-71 minutes. Irradiation doses of 0, 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900 and 1000gy. The results indicated all seeds irradiated with doses of 0 - 1000gy, just a dose of 200 and 300gy are able to show the percentage of germination, plant height, number of leaves, number of normal sprouts and green leaves of the best and can be continued for a second trial in order to assemble and to get mutants which is expected. The result of second stage of soybean M2 Population irradiated with diversity Gamma Irradiation performed that in the form of soybean planting, the seed planted is the first derivative of the M2 irradiated seeds. The result after the age of 30ADP has already showing growth and development of plants that vary when compared to its parent, both in terms of plant height, number of leaves, leaf shape and leaf forage level. In the generative phase, a plant that has been irradiated 200 and 300 gy seen some plants flower form packs, but not formed pods, there is also a form packs of flowers, but few pods produce soybean morphological characters such as plant height, number of branches, pods, days to flowering, harvesting, seed weight and seed number.

Keywords: gamma ray, genetic mutation, irradiation, soybean

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5 Indoor and Outdoor Forest Farming for Year-Round Food and Medicine Production, Carbon Sequestration, Soil-Building, and Climate Change Mitigation

Authors: Jerome Osentowski

Abstract:

The objective at Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute has been to put in practice a sustainable way of life while growing food, medicine, and providing education. This has been done by applying methods of farming such as agroforestry, forest farming, and perennial polycultures. These methods have been found to be regenerative to the environment through carbon sequestration, soil-building, climate change mitigation, and the provision of food security. After 30 years of implementing carbon farming methods, the results are agro-diversity, self-sustaining systems, and a consistent provision of food and medicine. These results are exhibited through polyculture plantings in an outdoor forest garden spanning roughly an acre containing about 200 varieties of fruits, nuts, nitrogen-fixing trees, and medicinal herbs, and two indoor forest garden greenhouses (one Mediterranean and one Tropical) containing about 50 varieties of tropical fruits, beans, herbaceous plants and more. While the climate zone outside the greenhouse is 6, the tropical forest garden greenhouse retains an indoor climate zone of 11 with near-net-zero energy consumption through the use of a climate battery, allowing the greenhouse to serve as a year-round food producer. The effort to source food from the forest gardens is minimal compared to annual crop production. The findings at Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute conclude that agroecological methods are not only beneficial but necessary in order to revive and regenerate the environment and food security.

Keywords: agroecology, agroforestry, carbon farming, carbon sequestration, climate battery, food security, forest farming, forest garden, greenhouse, near-net-zero, perennial polycultures

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4 Rural Territorial Sustainable Development: Interinstitutional Dialogue and Transition to Sustainable Livelihoods

Authors: Aico Nogueira

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This paper examines the interinstitutional dialogues within the Brazilian federal structures, which comprises federal, state and local levels, around the themes of new approaches and interventions aimed to promote sustainable rural development, particularly rural development as part of a territorial approach. The work seeks to understand to what extent the various levels of the state interact with these strategies, particularly with the locally constituted powers, focusing on the importance of the transition of traditional agriculture methods to more sustainable agroecological systems and its effects on food security and sustainable rural development. The research analyses as case studies the Sustainable Rural Territories Development Program (PRONAT) of the Ministry of Agrarian Development at the federal level, as well as the State of São Paulo and the Vale do Ribeira Territory, an area characterized by environmental and social vulnerability, restrictive environmental laws and attempts to promote sustainable development. In order to examine how the interrelationships between different levels of governance and civil society, in addition to the neo-institutionalist polity centered literature, the research uses an adaptation of the concept of arena in Ostrom and Hannigan, produced at different scales of decision-making processes, as well as the multilevel governance literature. Document analysis, interviews, focus groups and direct observation techniques are also used. The main findings of this study are that how different levels of governance understand and organize themselves for this work and have a direct impact on the actions taken. Consequently, programs formulated for this purpose are not associated with the creation of institutions capable of breaking with a traditional sectoral view that has historically prevailed in policymaking. And the transition from traditional agriculture to agroecological production systems is hampered by a sectorial foundation, based on large-scale production and the strengthening of the traditional country's land concentration model.

Keywords: agroecology, food security, inter-institutional dialogue, rural poverty, sustainable rural development, territorial development

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3 Generating Biogas from Municipal Kitchen Waste: An Experience from Gaibandha, Bangladesh

Authors: Taif Rocky, Uttam Saha, Mahobul Islam

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With a rapid urbanisation in Bangladesh, waste management remains one of the core challenges. Turning municipal waste into biogas for mass usage is a solution that Bangladesh needs to adopt urgently. Practical Action with its commitment to challenging poverty with technological justice has piloted such idea in Gaibandha. The initiative received immense success and drew the attention of policy makers and practitioners. We believe, biogas from waste can highly contribute to meet the growing demand for energy in the country at present and in the future. Practical Action has field based experience in promoting small scale and innovative technologies. We have proven track record in integrated solid waste management. We further utilized this experience to promote waste to biogas at end users’ level. In 2011, we have piloted a project on waste to biogas in Gaibandha, a northern secondary town of Bangladesh. With resource and support from UNICEF and with our own innovative funds we have established a complete chain of utilizing waste to the renewable energy source and organic fertilizer. Biogas is produced from municipal solid waste, which is properly collected, transported and segregated by private entrepreneurs. The project has two major focuses, diversification of biogas end use and establishing a public-private partnership business model. The project benefits include Recycling of Wastes, Improved institutional (municipal) capacity, Livelihood from improved services and Direct Income from the project. Project risks include Change of municipal leadership, Traditional mindset, Access to decision making, Land availability. We have observed several outcomes from the initiative. Up scaling such an initiative will certainly contribute for sustainable cleaner and healthier urban environment and urban poverty reduction. - It reduces the unsafe disposal of wastes which improve the cleanliness and environment of the town. -Make drainage system effective reducing the adverse impact of water logging or flooding. -Improve public health from better management of wastes. -Promotes usage of biogas replacing the use of firewood/coal which creates smoke and indoor air pollution in kitchens which have long term impact on health of women and children. -Reduce the greenhouse gas emission from the anaerobic recycling of wastes and contributes to sustainable urban environment. -Promote the concept of agroecology from the uses of bio slurry/compost which contributes to food security. -Creates green jobs from waste value chain which impacts on poverty alleviation of urban extreme poor. -Improve municipal governance from inclusive waste services and functional partnership with private sectors. -Contribute to the implementation of 3R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) Strategy and Employment Creation of extreme poor to achieve the target set in Vision 2021 by Government of Bangladesh.

Keywords: kitchen waste, secondary town, biogas, segregation

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2 Functional Traits and Agroecosystem Multifunctionality in Summer Cover Crop Mixtures and Monocultures

Authors: Etienne Herrick

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As an economically and ecologically feasible method for farmers to introduce greater diversity into their crop rotations, cover cropping presents a valuable opportunity for improving the sustainability of food production. Planted in-between cash crop growing seasons, cover crops serve to enhance agroecosystem functioning, rather than being destined for sale or consumption. In fact, cover crops may hold the capacity to deliver multiple ecosystem functions or services simultaneously (multifunctionality). Building upon this line of research will not only benefit society at present, but also support its continued survival through its potential for restoring depleted soils and reducing the need for energy-intensive and harmful external inputs like fertilizers and pesticides. This study utilizes a trait-based approach to explore the influence of inter- and intra-specific interactions in summer cover crop mixtures and monocultures on functional trait expression and ecosystem services. Functional traits that enhance ecosystem services related to agricultural production include height, specific leaf area (SLA), root, shoot ratio, leaf C and N concentrations, and flowering phenology. Ecosystem services include biomass production, weed suppression, reduced N leaching, N recycling, and support of pollinators. Employing a trait-based approach may allow for the elucidation of mechanistic links between plant structure and resulting ecosystem service delivery. While relationships between some functional traits and the delivery of particular ecosystem services may be readily apparent through existing ecological knowledge (e.g. height positively correlating with weed suppression), this study will begin to quantify those relationships so as to gain further understanding of whether and how measurable variation in functional trait expression across cover crop mixtures and monocultures can serve as a reliable predictor of variation in the types and abundances of ecosystem services delivered. Six cover crop species, including legume, grass, and broadleaf functional types, were selected for growth in six mixtures and their component monocultures based upon the principle of trait complementarity. The tricultures (three-way mixtures) are comprised of a legume, grass, and broadleaf species, and include cowpea/sudex/buckwheat, sunnhemp/sudex/buckwheat, and chickling vetch/oat/buckwheat combinations; the dicultures contain the same legume and grass combinations as above, without the buckwheat broadleaf. By combining species with expectedly complimentary traits (for example, legumes are N suppliers and grasses are N acquirers, creating a nutrient cycling loop) the cover crop mixtures may elicit a broader range of ecosystem services than that provided by a monoculture, though trade-offs could exist. Collecting functional trait data will enable the investigation of the types of interactions driving these ecosystem service outcomes. It also allows for generalizability across a broader range of species than just those selected for this study, which may aid in informing further research efforts exploring species and ecosystem functioning, as well as on-farm management decisions.

Keywords: agroecology, cover crops, functional traits, multifunctionality, trait complementarity

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1 Networks, Regulations and Public Action: The Emerging Experiences of Sao Paulo

Authors: Lya Porto, Giulia Giacchè, Mario Aquino Alves

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The paper aims to describe the linkage between government and civil society proposing a study on agro-ecological agriculture policy and urban action in São Paulo city underling the main achievements obtained. The negotiation processes between social movements and the government (inputs) and its results on political regulation and public action for Urban Agriculture (UA) in São Paulo city (outputs) have been investigated. The method adopted is qualitative, with techniques of semi-structured interviews, participant observation, and documental analysis. The authors conducted 30 semi-structured interviews with organic farmers, activists, governmental and non-governmental managers. Participant observation was conducted in public gardens, urban farms, public audiences, democratic councils, and social movements meetings. Finally, public plans and laws were also analyzed. São Paulo city with around 12 million inhabitants spread out in a 1522 km2 is the economic capital of Brazil, marked by spatial and socioeconomic segregation, currently aggravated by environmental crisis, characterized by water scarcity, pollution, and climate changes. In recent years, Urban Agriculture (UA) social movements gained strength and struggle for a different city with more green areas, organic food production, and public occupation. As the dynamics of UA occurs by the action of multiple actresses and institutions that struggle to build multiple senses on UA, the analysis will be based on literature about solidarity economy, governance, public action and networks. Those theories will mark out the analysis that will emphasize the approach of inter-subjectivity built between subjects, as well as the hybrid dynamics of multiple actors and spaces in the construction of policies for UA. Concerning UA we identified four main typologies based on land ownership, main function (economic or activist), form of organization of the space, and type of production (organic or not). The City Hall registers 500 productive unities of agriculture, with around 1500 producers, but researcher estimated a larger number of unities. Concerning the social movements we identified three categories that differ in goals and types of organization, but all of them work by networks of activists and/or organizations. The first category does not consider themselves as a movement, but a network. They occupy public spaces to grow organic food and to propose another type of social relations in the city. This action is similar to what became known as the green guerrillas. The second is configured as a movement that is structured to raise awareness about agro-ecological activities. The third one is a network of social movements, farmers, organizations and politicians that work focused on pressure and negotiation with executive and legislative government to approve regulations and policies on organic and agro-ecological Urban Agriculture. We conclude by highlighting how the interaction among institutions and civil society produced important achievements for recognition and implementation of UA within the city. Some results of this process are awareness for local production, legal and institutional recognition of the rural zone around the city into the planning tool, the investment on organic school public procurements, the establishment of participatory management of public squares, the inclusion of UA on Municipal Strategic Plan and Master Plan.

Keywords: public action, policies, agroecology, urban and peri-urban agriculture, Sao Paulo

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