Can we find solutions with people? Participatory action research with small organic producers in Andalusia
Journal of Rural Studies 27 (2011) 372e383
This paper reports on an experiment linking science with people. Taking as a paradigm the holistic scientific approach fostered by agroecology, we present a methodological proposal for the implementation of participatory action research in rural areas. Our aims were various: to solve a specific problem, i.e. the exclusion of small- and medium-scale organic farmers from the official certification system; to find solutions collectively through an exchange of knowledge between researchers, technicians, producers and consumers; and to generate endogenous social change in rural areas through processes based on local skills and collective creativity. This paper examines the methods applied, and provides a participatory reflexive analysis of those methods. Both the keys to the success and the constraints are analysed, in order to conclude the contributions that agroecology and PAR processes can make to sustainable and innovative research proposals.