The drivers of change for the contribution of small farms to regional food security in Europe.
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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The capacity of the food system to respond to the economic, demographic and environmental challenges ahead has become a topic of increasing interest, with particular attention to the roles and responsibilities of the different actors to ensure more sustainable food systems that can guarantee food and nutrition security for all. In this paper we approach the need to better understand the factors that can condition the potential contribution of small farms to regional food and nutrition security in Europe, acknowledging the role that small farms play in Europe at present. The analysis is based on a survey to 94 experts from 17 regions (NUTS3 level) in 11 different European countries, which identified the drivers of change according to the regional experts. These drivers were then categorized and their relative relevance assessed. The results indicate that some relevant drivers in the European context are linked to the capacity to adopt technologies and practices allowing adaptation to climate change, and the capacity to connect to food markets, with emphasis in the need for cooperation and collective action. The weight of other more European-specific drivers such as ‘consumer values and habits’ reveal that the future role of small farms will be very dependent on a societal change, with equity becoming a relevant component of consumers’ choice.