Multifunctional Agriculture in the European Context

45 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2014

See all articles by Jacob Barr

Jacob Barr

Pennsylvania State University

Date Written: December 15, 2013


This paper explores the multifunctional role of agriculture in the European context. For many rural communities agriculture embodies more than simply the production of food which focuses on yield, price and economic efficiency, to include diverse social, cultural and environmental aspects of local farming. Partner farming initiatives are community-based agricultural cooperatives that strive to increase the resilience and reduce the vulnerability of local, small scale farmers by facilitating agricultural strategies which encourage interaction between local producers and consumers and that mitigate the undesired effects of the industrial agricultural sector. Two neighboring European countries in particular, France and Italy, have developed effective partner farming initiatives that further integrate small scale farming into the local community structure. By encouraging local consumers to preorder harvests and patronize individual farmers, these partner farming initiatives can provide reliable income for small farmers and help preserve their rural way of life. Food sovereignty, security and justice emerge as the salient concepts in appreciating a holistic view of a community food system.

Keywords: Community Supported Agriculture, European Agriculture, Multifunctionality, Food Security, Food Justice, Food Sovereignty

JEL Classification: O13, P32, Q13

Suggested Citation

Barr, Jacob, Multifunctional Agriculture in the European Context (December 15, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Jacob Barr (Contact Author)

Pennsylvania State University ( email )

University Park
State College, PA 16802
United States
814-863-8625 (Phone)

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