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