Coline PERRIN, INRAE - Umr Innovation - Montpellier, France
This presentation will discuss the temporality of French geographies on farmland, showing how the research topics and questions reflect societal, economic and political issues.
After World War II, scholars examine farmland tenures and ownerships, describing the differentiated social and spatial distribution of property. In a context of rapid agricultural modernization, the focus switch then to the productive agricultural land system, aiming to optimize the farms structures to maximize food production per hectare (Croix, 1999).
From the 1990s onwards, the sustainability paradigm arises, in a context of urban sprawl and renewed interest in the countryside. Using new computer-based technologies, geographers document the loss of cropland or the diversity of rural landowners (Guéringer, 2000). In the 2000s, focusing on the rural-urban interface, they analyse land use conflicts, farm adaptation strategies, and the different ways in which planning and urban projects take farmland into account, highlighting the multifunctionality of farmland beyond food production (Poulot, 2013).
Over the last decade, the number of academic papers and books devoted to farmland has considerably increased. Farmland is claimed as a commons, requiring new public attention and policy reforms to address environmental emergencies, support food relocalization, and the entrance of new farmers. In this context, geographers question the impact of land management on farming systems (Chouquer & Maurel, 2019) and the environment. They examine governance issues (Sencébé & Rivière-Honegger, 2018), public and collective initiatives aimed at a more equitable access to land or protecting land against the risks of degradation or conversion to urban uses (Perrin & Nougarèdes, 2020). Increasingly, scholars connect data, methods, and traditional frameworks of rural and agricultural geography with the rising fields of social and critical geography, land justice, as well as land use, and, more recently, food planning.
Keywords: farmland|land owners|agriculture|epistemology