Energy and materials flows must (a normative and ethical claim) shrink to avert worst case scenarios of anthropogenic climate disruption. And they will shrink in this time frame due to increasing resource scarcity.
Although there is no cookie-cutter template for socio-ecological transition, it’s important to build bridges between communities working for fair food systems and resilient rural areas around and beyond Europe.
In bottom-up movements towards a more socio-ecological countryside, food is a key driver of territorial dynamics. This was a finding of our research on the ground in phase 1 of the Rural Resilience project. In phase 2, we ask how a top-down tool such as France’s Territorial Food Programmes can help to democratise local food policy.
Translating research on “smart shrinking” in rural Iowa into a European context, Elena and Mathieu propose a “smart rebound”, in which funding and policy support the visions, actions and intergenerational collaboration of rural communities, for resilience, wellbeing and reduction within environmental limits.
The countryside is a nice place to live. Farmers are happy. That’s what we heard on the ground in the cooperative farms we visited in France in 2021 and 2022.