Elsa Berthet

Innovating collectively to make agricultural socio-ecosystems more resilient

In the face of global change, natural resource depletion and biodiversity erosion, the question of agri-food system resilience is becoming increasingly important. My research project aims to better understand the levers of transformation of agri-food systems, whether they are cognitive, economic, technical or social. To that end, it is necessary to consider agri-food systems as “socio-ecosystems” where the interactions between human and non-human compartments need to be reinvented. Implementing this transformation requires the design of new forms of collective action and governance, at different scales, that better take into account ecological processes and mobilize a diversity of actors.

Because this transformation of agri-food systems is still at its infancy, I carry out an action-research approach: I contribute with different actors (farmers, agri-food actors, researchers, decision makers or civil society) to the design of new forms of collective action aimed at increasing the resilience of agricultural socio-ecosystems, aiming to produce generic knowledge from empirical cases. I mobilize innovative design theories and methods to conceptualize adaptive – even transformative – governance of socio-ecosystems. In the LTSER Plaine & Val de Sèvre, a pilot territory, I contribute to a transdisciplinary project involving a wide range of local stakeholders to increase the local agri-food system resilience. I am also working on the innovative design of collective action to better manage plant health and to preserve crop diversity, in particular soft wheat farmer seeds and the local breed of Maraîchine cow.

Research Fellow INRAE – AGRIPOP
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