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The Sustainability of Agriculture in a Northern Industrialized Country—From Controlling Nature to Rural Development


Author Info

  • Mikael Hildén

    (Finnish Environment Institute, P.O. Box 140, Helsinki FIN-00251, Finland)

  • Pekka Jokinen

    (University of Eastern Finland, P.O. Box 111, Joensuu FIN-80101, Finland)

  • Jyrki Aakkula

    (MTT Agrifood Research Finland, Jokioinen FIN-31600, Finland)

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    The concept of sustainability has been a part of theory and practice in agriculture for a long time, but the diverse roots of the concept have led to a number of different definitions of sustainable agriculture. This paper provides an overview of the policy development of sustainable agriculture in Finland by examining internal and external discourses of sustainability and the evolution in different dimensions of sustainability. We show that the debate on sustainability within European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy and Finnish agri-environmental policy are reflected in attempts to implement and monitor sustainability in agriculture in Finland. However, indicators suggest a largely non-sustainable condition. This has contributed to a shift in policy objectives from sustainable agriculture to sustainable rural development, especially in the EU context. As there are commonly trade-offs between the economic, ecological and social dimensions of sustainable development, future developments in sustainable agriculture will inevitably be characterized by continuous redefinitions of problems, paradigm revisions and reassessments of actions already taken.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Sustainability.

    Volume (Year): 4 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 12 (December)
    Pages: 3387-3403

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    Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:4:y:2012:i:12:p:3387-3403:d:22298

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    Related research

    Keywords: sustainable agriculture; rural development; agri-environmental policy; Finnish agriculture; EU agricultural policy;

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    1. Henry Buller & Carol Morris, 2004. "Growing goods: the market, the state, and sustainable food production," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 36(6), pages 1065-1084, June.
    2. Vinnari, Markus & Tapio, Petri, 2012. "Sustainability of diets: From concepts to governance," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 46-54.
    3. Garud, Raghu & Gehman, Joel, 2012. "Metatheoretical perspectives on sustainability journeys: Evolutionary, relational and durational," Research Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 980-995.
    4. Duncan Russel & John Turnpenny, 2009. "The politics of sustainable development in UK government: what role for integrated policy appraisal?," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 27(2), pages 340-354, April.
    5. Pasi Rikkonen & Jyrki Aakkula & Jari Kaivo-oja, 2004. "How can future long-term changes in finnish agriculture and agricultural policy be faced? defining strategic agendas on the basis of a delphi study," European Planning Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(2), pages 147-168, September.
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