ID76: Transforming mountain foodscapes
Mountain foodscapes are undergoing rapid changes as a result of climate change, migration both to and from rural areas, urbanization, and market integration. While these changes have in some cases led to increased pressure on local livelihoods and ecosystems, they have in others resulted in a more environmentally friendly and equitable management of mountain foodscapes. What are the factors that drive transformations towards more sustainability and justice in mountain foodscapes? Mountain foodscapes are understood here as social-ecological landscapes of food production, including food system actors located outside these mountain landscapes, namely in cities and in the lowlands. In this session, we welcome contributions on case studies that address transformations of mountain foodscapes towards increased sustainability and justice for mountain communities and ecosystems. We are interested in exploring the drivers and factors of such transformation processes, the local responses they generate, and the enabling conditions for more sustainable and just foodscapes in different contexts.
Abstract ID 445 | Date: 2022-09-12 10:00 – 10:09 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: SOWI – Seminar room U3 |
De Haan, Stef
International Potato Center (CIP), Peru
Keywords: Andean Crops, Cuisine, Bioeconomy, Nutrition
Late 2021 the Andean Initiative launched a novel book combo to celebrate the Andes's agrobiodiversity legacy and food patrimony. More than 100 scientists, chefs and photographer were involved in the development of the two volumes: "50 Andean Future Foods" and "50 Recipes for Culinary Innovation" covering the mountain food systems from Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru to Venezuela.
The research celebrates and characterizes 50 native Andean domesticated and wild foods, the people who grow and harvest them, and those who transform them through ancestral culinary tradition or novo-Andean culinary innovation. The first book describes roots and tubers, grains, legumes, vegetables, herbs, fruits and wild foods from the Andes, and includes detailed information on the origin, varietal diversity, geographical distribution, economic potential, nutritional value and climate adaptation of each species. The second book describes and visually highlight traditional rural recipes and innovations from farmers and top chefs.
The objective of the research and publications are to (1) highlight the potential and challenges to diversify our food systems with native agrobiodiversity through vivid professional photography and up-to-date scientific content on diverse Andean foods, (2) illustrate how we can build on the Andean legacy and build sustainable food systems that are inclusive, nutritious, and nature positive. The research directly contributes to global efforts like the Periodic Table of Food Initiative: an initial list of the world's food diversity for compositional investigation. In parallel the research also contributes to local Andean initiatives aiming to build 'farm to fork' value chains, empower custodians and strengthen agrobiodiversity conservation.
Abstract ID 352 | Date: 2022-09-12 10:09 – 10:18 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: SOWI – Seminar room U3 |
Dax, Thomas (1); Barjolle, Dominique (2)
1: Federal Instittue of Agricultural Economics, Rural and Mountain Research, Austria
2: Department of Environmental Systems Science, Research Institute of Agricultural Sciences (IAS), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich), Switzerland
Keywords: Mountain Product, Place Branding, Geographical Indications, Value-Chains, Local Strategies
Mountain farming has been viewed since long as an agricultural activity that is under considerable pressure due to limited production scope and productivity compared to more favourable regions. While in the past the resulting income gap of farmers has led to compensation policies, more recently integrative consideration and strategies to develop specific product potential and quality have been increasingly elaborated. One approach to value specifically the uniqueness of mountain contexts and socio-cultural experience is the recognition of particular local and regional assets and shaping of appropriate origin and high-quality based labels, based on various labelling initiatives, like the public quality signs (geographical indications, or the European "mountain origin", organic food), or private initiatives, like the 100% local (as for example implemented in the Valposchiavo in Switzerland). "Mountain origin" public labelling has been elaborated over the past two decades, not least through the commitment of mountain stakeholders, particularly supported by EUROMONTANA and a widely shared spirit of mountain actors that alpine laboratories of transitions might turn to 'models' of sustainable food systems.
The cross-sectoral view and impacts on local development issues have raised interest for these strategies of various ways of product differentiations in countries that are rethinking their mountain development concepts and striving for a holistic strategic approach (e.g. Georgia, Romania, Cyprus, Morocco etc.). Labelling the products (i.e. with the 'mountain origin' public label) can be considered not just an opportunity for market elaboration, linking products to unique basis of production, but also provide important potential for raising attractiveness of mountain areas as destination areas for tourism and changing the narrative of place concepts. This "meaning of the places" is a crucial aspect for economic performance, awareness of the need to preserve ecological quality and has the power to contribute to processes of territorial identity shaping.
The paper will discuss the key conditions for such kind of strategies, based on studies assessing the contribution of local culture to elaborating various mountain products in Alpine contexts (e.g. Switzerland and Austria) and emerging initiatives to discuss the potential of territorial branding of mountain products (e.g. in non-European mountain ranges like Caucasus) for narratives enabling and enhancing such place-sensitive strategies.
Abstract ID 917 | Date: 2022-09-12 10:18 – 10:27 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: SOWI – Seminar room U3 |
Steinegger, Sarah; Gerber, Jean-David; Oberlack, Christoph
University of Bern, Switzerland
Keywords: Commoning, Environmental Justice, Institutions, Foodscapes, Mountains
In addition to structural issues of development, the industrialization of agri-food production, the growing market concentration in global agri-food value chains, and trade liberalization are challenging the very existence of mountain foodscapes. Nevertheless, there are various strategies for agri-food production based on collective action and aimed at maintaining environmentally just value creation in mountain areas. We suggest that the extent to which environmental justice is institutionalized in agri-food production indicates a transition pathway from the industrialized, commodification-based food regime towards an integrated, commoning-based food regime. We propose that while the former results in exploitative human-nature interactions, the latter allows for relational human-nature interactions that sustain biocultural diversity in the agri-food sector and beyond. We employ a new institutionalist approach combined with ethnographic research methods to explore the institutional settings, as well as values and motivations behind human-nature relations allowing for more environmentally just foodscapes in mountain areas. We will illustrate our conceptualization efforts with preliminary results on a Geographical Indication of cheese from a Swiss Alpine region.
Abstract ID 326 | Date: 2022-09-12 10:27 – 10:36 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: SOWI – Seminar room U3 |
Leopold Franzens Universität Innsbruck, Austria
Keywords: Positioning Theory, Foodscapes, Sustainable Development, Tourism
Through discussing individual and collective positionings in place, time and society, constructed by inhabitants of the village of Sauris when reflecting on food, the speaker proposes a perspective that can help identify connecting points for the support of sustainable foodscapes and overall development. As reflected in personal narratives, individuals deem the village's history collectively meaningful. In Sauris, which is located in northern Friuli (IT), settlements were established by speakers of a German language variant on altitudes up to 1,400m a.s.l. Its remoteness – today, it is accessible through mountain passes – might be a reason why the language variant and other traditions prevailed. Maintenance became uncertain in the 20th century, however, and inhabitants reveal their own or their parents' or grandparents' experiences of change. Very centrally, agriculture has become economically irrelevant in Sauris: The few cows grazing in the meadows belong to foreigners, and the mowing is only done to cultivate the land. The sector was substituted by tourism that, together with a local prosciutto and other types of bacon and sausage producing company, provides jobs, so that inhabitants could return to or remain in the village. Furthermore, a small museum and some firms that market traditional and innovative handicraft both depend on and foster tourism. On the one hand, interviews about food consumption show most inhabitants' far from autonomous, modern lifestyles. On the other hand, reflections reveal how important local, "natural" products are to people, that they have vegetable gardens, still collect wild plants, and remember how they used to nourish themselves with their own produce. Inhabitants see disadvantages gained from tourism, such as the promotion of traditional activities and food so that it seems inauthentic. However, agriculture could not provide all inhabitants with sufficient incomes, and tourism can foster stability and enable diverse innovations, supporting sustainable development (e.g. agrotourism with cultivations of cabbage, herbs and fruits). When reflecting on their food consumption, people describe central developments and concerns, which go hand in hand with nutrition. The analysis of the positions that interviewees construct gives insights into their relations and entanglements with places, times, people and groups and can therefore illuminate how inhabitants' awareness about the value of local food could be used to support (new ways of) sustainable development, potentially with a resurgence of a resilient small-scale food production for local consumption combined with tourism.
Abstract ID 862 | Date: 2022-09-12 10:36 – 10:45 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: SOWI – Seminar room U3 |
Stotten, Rike; Pabst, Stephan
University of Innsbruck, Austria
Keywords: Values-Based Supply Chains, Regional Development
Within the project "Exploring values-based modes of production and consumption in the corporate food regime", a Young Independent Research Group project financed by the Austrian Science Fund, we explore the food regime in Switzerland. As one case study, we investigate the mountain foodscape Val Poschiavo (Grisons, Switzerland) as a values-based food supply chain that opposed to phenomenon such as climate change, outmigration and difficulties of market integration for small-scale value chains. Interestingly, the very peripherical valley is by nearly 90 % farmed organically. This characteristic is institutionalised in the initiative of 100 % (bio) Val Poschiavo that transformed into an official regional development project. This project aims to optimize and professionalize the agricultural organic value chains and ensured that the added value remains in the valley. Actors, such as retailer and consumers, in this food system are located outside the region in Swiss urban areas and constitute rural-urban linkages.
This input aims to understand how this realization of a values-based food supply chain became the guiding philosophy of the region and highlights, how this regional development approach contributes to enhance sustainable and just mountain foodscape.
Abstract ID 689 | Date: 2022-09-12 10:45 – 10:54 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: SOWI – Seminar room U3 |
Schmitt, Thomas Michael; Hänsel, Maria; Koellner, Thomas
University of Bayreuth, Germany
Keywords: Grasslands, Ecosystem Services, Integrated Valuation, Spatial Analysis, Cultural Landscapes
The agricultural management of grasslands, a major form of land-use in (pre-)mountainous landscapes, is strongly linked to fodder production and cattle farming. Besides these, the cultural landscapes also provide other valuable ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, nutrient regulation, and recreation. The provisioning of these ecosystem services is currently threatened due to changes in both management intensification and abandonment of grasslands as well as climate change. Capturing the values that societal actors place on such ecosystem services is a key step to provide management recommendations and governance advice. Valuation of nature and its ecosystem services, especially of agro-ecosystems, has most frequently been conducted in terms of their monetary value only. However, values of grasslands are diverse and include instrumental, relational, and intrinsic value types. Hence, to elicit underlying factors of sustainable grassland management, we are investigating the matches and mismatches between economic and socio-cultural values of grasslands and their ecosystem services in a case study in pre-Alpine and Alpine southern Bavaria, Germany. We assess economic values in terms of the energy content of grass harvests, based on remotely-sensed data. Socio-cultural values are based on spatial, quantitative, and qualitative survey data conducted with citizens living in the area as well as the distribution of geo-tagged photos on grasslands. In order to investigate the role of policy instruments towards sustainable grassland management, we additionally link payments of agri-environmental schemes with the multiple values of grasslands. The study reveals that specific grasslands are valued for a variety of reasons on different spatial locations and point out the need to assess the context-specific prevailing values when designing policy measures. With our results we are able to identify hotspots and coldspots of grassland values in space and their correlation with agri-environmental payments. We conclude that it is vital to take multiple values of grasslands and their ecosystem services into account when designing transformation strategies towards sustainability in mountainous grassland systems.
Abstract ID 217 | Date: 2022-09-12 10:54 – 11:03 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: SOWI – Seminar room U3 |
Zanini, Sebastiano (1); Dainese, Matteo (2); Tappeiner, Ulrike (1,2)
1: Department of Ecology, Innsbruck University, Austria
2: Institute for Alpine Environment, Eurac Research, Italy
Keywords: Pollinator, Apple, Biodiversity, Apis Mellifera, Pollination Services
Pollination is essential for many plants, including most crops, and therefore is key to food security. To produce pollination-dependent crops such as apples, growers rely almost exclusively on the western honeybee, Apis mellifera. However, the recurrent loss of A. mellifera colonies associated with parasites, diseases and pesticides jeopardize agricultural production. Furthermore, the ongoing decline in wild pollinator species due to increasingly frequent stress factors related to climate change and anthropogenic pressure reduce their ecological redundancy, making agricultural and natural systems less resilient.
Heterogeneous landscapes with (semi-)natural habitats host wild pollinators, potentially contributing to efficient crop pollination services. However, how landscape configuration influences pollination provision and pollinator´s species richness is poorly understood. Recent studies indirectly measure the biodiversity of an area deriving it from landscape indices such as "naturalness" or "fragmentation". Yet, pollinators have different flying ranges, and their presence is dependent on the abundance and location of the foraging resources. The choice of scale at which the landscape affects distinct pollinator species is very complex, and these approximations usually lead to less reliable results. For this reason, we collected data exclusively in sites where the biodiversity of other taxa was recently determined by the "Biodiversity Monitoring Survey of South Tyrol" carried out by Eurac Research (Institute for Alpine Environment).
Here we show that in South Tyrolean apple orchards with a still viable population of A. mellifera, the abundance and diversity of wild pollinators are negatively correlated with landscape homogeneity. The number of wild pollinators captured with pan-traps rather than their species richness was positively correlated with the species richness of other organisms detected, in the same site, by the biodiversity monitoring. In the year of study, the flower visitation rate of wild pollinators, constituted mainly by generalist species of solitary bees belonging to the genera Andrena, Lasioglossum and Osmia, was insufficient to sustain traditional apple production. On the other hand, the visitation rate of A. mellifera in the studied apple orchards exceeded the threshold value for optimal flower fertilization by two to eight times. Our study shows that at the moment, in an alpine region dominated by semi-natural habitats, a decline of A. mellifera in apple orchards would not have been compensated for by wild pollinators.
Abstract ID 484 | Date: 2022-09-12 11:03 – 11:12 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: SOWI – Seminar room U3 |
Shrestha, Priyadarshinee (1); Rai, Roshan (1); Rawat, Namrata (1,2)
1: Zero Waste Himalaya
2: Zentrum für Entwicklungsforschung, Germany
Keywords: Indigenous Food Cultures, Mountain Food Practices, Plastic Waste, Zero Waste, Consumption Patterns
The IHR spread across 13 states and union territories of India, has a rich diversity of food cultures from cultivated, foraged and pastoral agroecology which include culinary processes, preparation and preservation. This diversity has traditionally provided nutritional security as well as livelihood to mountain people. Both production and consumption have historically been tied with culture. However, food systems in mountains are facing changes and challenges. Mountain food cultures are fast eroding with the onslaught of the food industry, globalisation and homogenisation of food and taste. Dietary shifts to packaged and processed food markets have doubled up between 2012 and 2018 in India. This has had deep ramifications on health and livelihoods of people across IHR. Indigenous food culture is being replaced by packaged food. In addition, it adds to the plastic waste problem in the mountains. Zero Waste Himalaya has conducted The Himalayan Cleanup in the IHR every year since 2018. The data from 2018 to 2021 has consistently shown that plastic packaging from food and drinks are the top trashed items. This case study focuses on the critical toxic intersection of nutrition devoid consumption and plastic waste problem in the mountain communities of IHR. Documenting the process and data collected by The Himalayan Cleanup, it draws the attention on how influx of packaged food into the remote mountain geographies is changing the consumption patterns in the Himalayas. In addition, it looks at the way forward in restoring the balance in the mountain food systems and dealing with the waste crisis.
Abstract ID 789 | Date: 2022-09-12 11:12 – 11:21 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: SOWI – Seminar room U3 |
Whitaker, Sarah Henry
Emory University, USA
Keywords: Alps, Sustainable Development, Food, Collaboration, Social Transformation
In the Italian Alps, in the Val Camonica, a subset of new, long-term, and returning farmers propose a model for the future of their valley that is based in agriculture. Their perception is that the dominant model of development grounded in industry and tourism is not successfully promoting the economic development of the valley nor is it contributing to the preservation of the valley's unique natural and cultural heritage, a heritage intimately tied to an agricultural past. The sustainable development of the valley going forward depends on agriculture and the realization of a new Alpine foodscape. This paper presents the elements of a new foodscape in Val Camonica as described by the farmers who live and work there and analyzes the factors that have contributed to its emergence. The paper then provides an example of a project underway aimed at realizing this new foodscape, addressing the project's successes and the challenges it has faced.
At the core of the new foodscape is the idea that agricultural activities should contribute to the appearance and functionality of the landscape and to individual well-being, social transformation, and environmental preservation. Farmers advocate for agriculture that is based in traditional methods and products and that prioritizes the preservation and protection of Alpine natural and cultural heritage. Economic viability is fundamental. Product prices must reflect the cost of their production. Consumers must be educated on the true value of products from the mountains, and what these products give back to the environment. Building greater community support for agriculture is essential. Subsidies should be redesigned to reflect the many ecosystem services mountain agriculture provides and political and bureaucratic requirements should be streamlined.
The Biodistretto of Valcamonica and its Paesaggi Resilienti project are active in realizing this new foodscape. The Biodistretto is an association of farmers, citizens, associations, and public administrations dedicated to the sustainable management of local resources, with a focus on agriculture. The Paesaggi Resilienti project has the specific goal of counteracting agricultural abandonment by bringing together diverse stakeholders capable, "of using agriculture for development, social cohesion, and participation as well as a tool for improving well-being, collaboration between public and private sector, and the protection and maintenance of the landscape." Thirteen farms are involved in the project, with more farms hoping to join. Their efforts are transforming the foodscape of the Val Camonica in ways that could prove critical to the future of mountain farming.
Abstract ID 125 | Date: 2022-09-12 11:21 – 11:30 | Type: Oral Presentation | Place: SOWI – Seminar room U3 |
Navarro, Carlos; Julieta, Carilla; Oriana, Osinaga; Carolina, Nieto; Ramiro, Ovejero; Grau, Ricardo
Universidad Nacional de Tucumán-CONICET, Argentine Republic
Keywords: Land Abandonment, Rewilding, Puna, Herbivores, Biodiversity
In Argentina Puna, livestock grazing is the main productive actitivy; but is undergoing a generalized process of passive herbivore rewilding due to land use disintensification. In this process wild camelids are recovering while livestock decreases and concentrates around the human settlements. Peatlands are the most diverse ecosystem in the region and are key resources for herbivores. Here, we tested the hypothesis that herbivore rewilding is associated with higher biodiversity of three taxonomic groups: plants, aquatic macroinvertebrates, and birds. We sampled 50 peatlands distributed in the Argentine Puna, along an elevation range from 3200 to 4700 m asl. Using Non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS), we developed a "wilderness index" that combines different proxies of human pastoral use (herbivore feces, "puestos", accessibility to human settlements, field counts of herbivores). In general, the diversity of the different groups was negatively correlated with elevation and positively correlated with peatland area. We used the residuals of a model to control for these two variables and test for the correlation between biodiversity patterns (Shannon and Simpson index, richness) and peatland wilderness index. Contrary to our expectations, plant and macroinvertebrate communities' biodiversity showed slightly negative statistically significant correlations with wilderness, while birds showed no association. Potential explanations for this pattern include (1) diversity of microhabitats generated by a more diverse herbivore's community associated with livestock (e.g., different trampling, browsing, and movement patterns, effects on water quality through feces), (2) peatland management practices that provides stability, (3) herbivory dynamics that promote the dominance of certain plants. Overall, the results reject the hypothesis that herbivore rewilding automatically results in biodiversity gains, and emphasize the importance of understanding the socio-ecological mechanisms by which human land use (including exotic livestock) contributes to the biodiversity maintenance in these key ecosystems