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Does Your Landscape Mirror What You Eat? A Long-Term Socio-metabólico Analysis of a Local Food System in Vallès County (Spain, 1860-1956-1999) [Socio-Metabolic Perspectives on the Sustainability of Local Food Systems]


    • Roc Padró
      Universitat de Barcelona
    • Inés Marco
      Universitat de Barcelona
    • Claudio Cattaneo
      Institut d’Estudis Regionals i Metropolitans de Barcelona
    • Jonathan Caravaca
      Universitat de Barcelona
    • Enric Tello
      Universitat de Barcelona

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Authors assesses the social metabolism of very different farm systems that existed in Vallès County, along the socio-ecological transition from organic to industrial agriculture at three different time points from 1860 to 1999. This allows us to analyze these contrasting food systems by focusing on four perspectives: agricultural labour productivity in relation to regional diets, the importance of multi-functionality in agroecosystems, the loss of landscape diversity and species richness, and the impacts of the current food regime at global and local scales. The socio-metabolic profiles obtained show that (1) winegrowing specialization co-existed with sustenance-oriented organic farming in 1860; (2) in 1956, the resumption of grain growing, combined with incipient use of industrial fertilizers, led to a more diverse agroecosystem where greater dependence on external inputs was countered by an increased productivity, providing more balanced diets and producing minor impacts on landscape ecology; (3) by 1999, a specialization in feedlots had disconnected local diets from a linear agro-industrial feed-meat chain based on huge feed imports from the Global South, leading to highly polarized socio-ecological impacts. Whereas unequal ecological exchange affects peasant communities and agroecosystems in feed-exporting countries, local landscapes suffer from the accumulation of dung waste poured into flatlands and from forest abandonment in steeper areas.

Published in: Frankova, E., Haas, W. i Singh, S. (eds.)(2018). Socio-Metabolic Perspectives on the Sustainability of Local Food Systems (pp. 133-164). Cham: Springer.