How Can Governments Support Adaptation to Climate Change by Small-Scale Farmers? A Case Study from the Canadian Maritime Provinces
34 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2017 Last revised: 22 Sep 2017
Date Written: September 11, 2017
This paper uses a case study from the Canadian Maritime provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island) to consider agricultural adaptation strategies developed by small-scale vegetable farmers, focusing on their interactions with government support initiatives. Farmers (n=40) were interviewed in-situ, in addition to participant observation practices, and interviews were qualitatively analyzed according to grounded theory methodology. Results show that small-scale farmers have developed a range of on- and off-farm adaptation and resilience-building strategies, but that very few of them are connected to government initiatives due to a culture of mistrust between the agricultural and governance communities. I argue that, in order to adequately support ground-level farmer adaptation initiatives, governments need to reframe farmer interventions as expert interventions, and agricultural adaptation as polycentric and multi-level. Allowing farmers to experiment, communicate, collaborate, and be supported according to their needs and constraints is suggested as more effective than a top- down, centralized approach.
Keywords: Canada; agriculture; adaptive capacity; climate governance; knowledge integration
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