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Revisiting Evolving Webs of Agri-food and Rural Development in the UK: The Case of Devon and Shetland

Constructing a New Framework for Rural Development

ISBN: 978-1-78441-622-5, eISBN: 978-1-78441-621-8

ISSN: 1057-1922

Publication date: 9 March 2015


Critically reflecting upon the role of and integrative function that relocalisation of agri-food plays in the development of what we call rural and regional ‘webs’ of interconnection, this chapter revisits two regional case studies in Devon and Shetland, UK. Exploring the challenges and continuities in the unfolding of the rural web, we pay particular attention to the role that agri-food initiatives play in mobilising distinctive rural and regional development processes. Although we point in both cases to the marginalisation of agri-food and its potential centrality in rural development, it is clear that this fails to disappear completely. The trends in these two rural regions, at either ends of the UK archipelago, suggest that the combinational effects of declines in multi-functional agri-food support, on the one hand, and a neo-liberalised retraction of non-agricultural rural development support on the other, are providing a potential and chaotic new governance squeeze which is likely to severely reduce the massive but latent adaptive capacity embedded in the rural eco-economy. Indeed, a more multi-functional governance and policy-based approach, based upon creating conditions for the eco-economic rural web to flourish needs to find ways of harmonising different aspects of the post-carbon landscape such that its various segments (energy, tourism, agriculture, creative industries, etc.), can work in synergy with one another. To conclude, we argue that such fragmented and competing conditions as those revealed in both case study areas are unlikely to be sufficiently capable of meeting the new national and global demands for food security which have risen up the political agenda since our earlier phases of field work.



Paddock, J. and Marsden, T. (2015), "Revisiting Evolving Webs of Agri-food and Rural Development in the UK: The Case of Devon and Shetland", Constructing a New Framework for Rural Development (Research in Rural Sociology and Development, Vol. 22), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 301-324.



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