For the public good: weaving a multifunctional landscape in the Corn Belt
- 470 Downloads
Critics of modern agriculture decry the dominance of monocultural landscapes and look to multifunctionality as a desirable alternative that facilitates the production of public goods. In this study, we explored opportunities for multifunctional Midwestern agriculture through participatory research led by farmers, landowners, and other local actors. We suggest that agriculture typically fosters some degree of multifunctionality that arises from the divergent intentions of actors. The result is a scattered arrangement of what we term patchwork multifunctionality, a ubiquitous status quo in which individuals provide public goods without coordination. In contrast, interwoven multifunctionality describes deliberate collaboration to provide public goods, especially those cases where landowners work across fence lines to weave a synergistic landscape. Using examples from two case studies, we demonstrate the spectrum of patchwork and interwoven multifunctionality that currently exists in the Corn Belt, and present underutilized opportunities for public good creation.
KeywordsMultifunctionality Agriculture Phosphorus pollution Participatory research Landscape
Conservation Reserve Program
This research was funded by the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Soil Science. A previous version of this paper was the recipient of the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Graduate Student Paper Award in 2011.
- Ashwood, L., N. Harden, M.M. Bell, and W.B. Bland. 2011. Real problems, real answers: The green action plan. University of Wisconsin-Madison and Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs. http://www.iira.org/pubs/publications/Real_Problems_Real_Answers_The_Green_Action_Plan.pdf. Accessed 14 January 2013.
- Bell, M.M. 2004. Farming for us all: Practical agriculture and the cultivation of sustainability. State College: Pennsylvania State University Press.Google Scholar
- Berry, W. 1977. The unsettling of America: Culture and agriculture. New York: Avon Books.Google Scholar
- Bland, W.L., and M.M. Bell. 2007. A holon approach to agroecology. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability 5(4): 1–15.Google Scholar
- Boody, G. 2002. Agriculture as a public good. In The farm as natural habitat: Reconnecting food systems with ecosystems, ed. D. Jackson, and L. Jackson, 261–273. Washington: Island Press.Google Scholar
- Claassen, R., M. Aillery, and C. Nickerson. 2007. Integrating commodity and conservation programs: Design options and outcomes. ERR-44. Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.Google Scholar
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 2011. National summary of impaired waters and TMDL information. http://iaspub.epa.gov/waters10/attains_nation_cy.control?p_report_type=T. Accessed 3 April 2012.
- Farm Service Agency (FSA), U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2010. The National Agriculture Imagery Program. http://www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/apfoapp?area=home&subject=prog&topic=nai. Accessed 15 March 2011.
- Friedmann, H. 1990. Family wheat farms and third world diets: A paradoxical relationship between unwaged and waged labor. In Work without wages: Comparative studies of domestic labor and self-employment, ed. J. Collins, and M. Gimenez, 193–213. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
- Greenwood, D.J., and M. Levin. 1998. Introduction to action research: Social research for social change. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Guzmán, G.I., and A.M. Alonso. 2010. The European Union: Key roles for institutional support and economic factors. In The conversion to sustainable agriculture: Principles, processes, and practices, ed. S.R. Gliessman, and M. Rosemeyer, 239–272. Boca Raton: CRC Press.Google Scholar
- Hudson, J.C. 1994. Making the Corn Belt: A geographical history of Middle-Western agriculture. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
- Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP). 2007. The common agricultural policy: A brief introduction. Prepared for the global dialogue meeting, May 14–15, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
- Jackson, D., and L. Jackson. 2002. The farm as natural habitat: Reconnecting food systems with ecosystems. Washington: Island Press.Google Scholar
- Jackson, L. 2002. Restoring prairie processes to farmlands. In The farm as natural habitat: Reconnecting food systems with ecosystems, ed. D. Jackson, and L. Jackson, 137–154. Washington: Island Press.Google Scholar
- Janke, R. 2002. Composing a farm. In The farm as natural habitat: Reconnecting food systems with ecosystems, ed. D. Jackson, and L. Jackson, 209–220. Washington: Island Press.Google Scholar
- Leopold, A. 1949. The Sand County almanac. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Leopold, A. 1991. The farmer as a conservationist. In The river of the mother of god and other essays by Aldo Leopold, ed. S.L. Flader, and J.B. Callicott, 255–265. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
- Lovell, S.T., and D.M. Johnston. 2009. Designing landscapes for performance based on emerging principles in landscape ecology. Ecology and Society 14(1): 44.Google Scholar
- Lovell, S.T., S. DeSantis, C.A. Nathan, M.B. Olson, V.E. Mendez, H.C. Kominami, D.L. Erickson, K.S. Morris, and W.B. Morris. 2010. Integrating agroecology and landscape multifunctionality in Vermont: An evolving framework to evaluate the design of agroecosystems. Agricultural Systems 103: 327–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Mander, Ü., H. Wiggering, and K. Helming. 2007. Multifunctional land use: Meeting future demands for landscape goods and services. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
- Marsden, T. 2003. The condition of rural sustainability. Assen: Van Gorcu.Google Scholar
- National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2010. Land values and cash rents 2010 summary. http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/current/AgriLandVa/AgriLandVa-08-04-2010.pdf. Accessed 15 March 2011.
- Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). 2011. Conservation Reserve Program. http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/crp/. Accessed 15 March 2011.
- Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD). 2001. Multifunctionality: Toward an analytic framework. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
- Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD). 2007. Multifunctionality in agriculture: Evaluating the degree of jointness, policy implications. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
- Ostrom, E. 2005. Understanding institutional diversity. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Patton, M.Q. 2002. Qualitative research and evaluation methods. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Porter, P., L. Scott, and S. Simmons. 2009. Northern Midwest (U.S.) farmers’ views of the conversion process. In The conversion to sustainable agriculture, ed. S.R. Gliessman, and M. Rosemeyer, 67–90. Boca Raton: CRC Press.Google Scholar
- Poteete, A.R., M.A. Janseen, and E. Ostrom. 2010. Working together: Collective action, the commons, and multiple methods in practice. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Schulte, L.A., M. Liebman, H. Asbjornsen, and T.R. Crow. 2006. Agroecosystem restoration through strategic integration of perennials. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 61(6): 164–169.Google Scholar
- United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). 2007. The census of agriculture. http://www.agcensus.usda.gov/. Accessed 15 March 2011.