Negotiated Agricultural Knowledge
Engaging farmer researchers in Malawi to address biodiversity conservation, support ecosystem services and improve food security
Since independence in 1964, the Malawian government has promoted input-intensive agriculture as the path to development — an approach that benefits large farms at the expense of smallholders. The farmer-led Soils, Food and Healthy Communities, on the other hand, has demonstrated that agroecology — which minimizes fossil-fuel based inputs, mimics natural systems and leverages local knowledge — can improve food security, ecological health and social justice.
Still, the processes by which agricultural policies, development initiatives and community social dynamics influence agricultural knowledge remain unclear. Additionally, there is limited research on how farmer knowledge and decision-making processes interact with agricultural biodiversity. Stephanie Enloe is working with Soils, Food and Healthy Communities to explore relationships between knowledge politics and biodiversity in Mzimba, Malawi.
Topics: Energy, Environment and Sustainability; Food and Agriculture; Law, Government and Policy
- Graduate student: Stephanie Enloe, development sociology
Special committee chair:
Rachel Bezner Kerr, Department of Development Sociology
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
- Community partner: Soils, Food and Healthy Communities