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Communication Dans Un Congrès Année : 2019

Certifying agroecology: tracing organic boundaries

, (1)
Allison Loconto


The histories of agroecology and organic are both long and intertwined (Bellon et al., 2011). The specific terminology “agroecology” has had different uses and trajectories in scholarly literature, policies and social movements (Bellon and Ollivier, 2018; Ollivier and Bellon, 2013), where each offer up their own specific visions of the concept. These range from a science, to a set of ecology informed agronomic practices, through socio-economic values, to political platforms (Wezel et al., 2009). Over the past ten years, the term agroecology has gained traction in research and higher education (Nicot et al., 2018), in farmers’ practices, in international expert discussions, and within specific national politics; thus legitimating it as a means to achieve sustainable agriculture (Loconto and Fouilleux, 2019).

One element of agroecology that has received less attention is the market for agroecological products and the institutions that are required to ensure that an ‘agroecological’ quality is recognized and valued in market exchanges (Loconto et al., 2018). While organic agriculture has built up a set of institutions that enable producers to know which practices deliver ‘organic’ quality and permit consumers to recognize this through on-package labelling (Fouilleux and Loconto, 2017), the landscape for agroecological products is rather fluid and diversified. Often, products are traded directly between producers and consumers and quality is transmitted verbally. However, there has been a general increase in the use of private labels to claim that the products are agroecological or ‘beyond organic’ (Poméon et al., 2019). This paper interrogates this recent movement by asking: what quality attributes are claimed through on-package labels for agroecology and how are the institutions constructed to guarantee these claims?

To answer this question, data on labels that claim they are ‘agroecological’ and their corresponding guarantee systems were collected through internet research, market surveillance and semi-structured interviews in Argentina, Brazil and France. This three-country comparison offers interesting insights into the overlaps and boundaries between agroecology and organic in terms of the markets that are created for their products. We explore in this research the range of claims used to characterize on-package labels. We then develop a typology of agroecological products that captures the variety of attributes and enables us to see where and how boundaries are created between agroecology and organic in three markets, where organic labels are highly regulated.

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Dates et versions

hal-02558959 , version 1 (30-04-2020)


  • HAL Id : hal-02558959 , version 1
  • OKINA : ua20356


Allison Loconto, Ivan Dufeu. Certifying agroecology: tracing organic boundaries. Agroecology Europe Forum 2019, 2019, Heraklion, Greece. ⟨hal-02558959⟩
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