Citizens prefer landscapes that combine nature with built infrastructure

A pioneering study analyses the photographs shared by citizens in social networks to evaluate the aesthetic consideration of natural landscapes.

Co-managed small-scale fisheries lead to social and ecological improvements

The co-management model of small groups of fishermen contributes to a greater abundance and habitats of species.

ICTA-UAB to design participative and concurred forest fire prevention strategies for the Montseny region

Scientists from the Institute for Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) aim to design prevention strategies for forest fires occurring in the Montseny Biosphere Reserve through a citizen participation process.

Nace El Observatorio del Besòs: un proyecto de seguimiento de la calidad de los sistemas fluviales de la cuenca

La Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) a través del Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA-UAB), y el Consorci Besòs Tordera evaluarán el estado de calidad a largo plazo de la cuenca del Besòs gracias a la creación de la Observatorio del Besòs.

Shift in large-scale Atlantic circulation causes lower-oxygen water to invade Canada's Gulf of St. Lawrence

The Gulf of St. Lawrence has warmed and lost oxygen faster than almost anywhere else in the global oceans.

Climate Change Modifies the Composition of Reefs

Corals devastated by climate change are being replaced naturally by other species such as gorgonians, which are less efficient in acting as a carbon sink.

ICTA-UAB launches the first master’s Degree in “Political Ecology. Degrowth and Environmental Justice”

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA-UAB) launches the master’s Degree in “Political Ecology.

Pioneering study analyses the effects of forests on human health

A group of volunteers have participated in an experimental study conducted by the ICTA-UAB to analyse the potential health benefits of forests.

Marine Litter on Mediterranean Beaches Triples in Summer

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) analyses and quantifies the waste generated by tourists in eight islands of the Mediterranean as part of the European BLUEISLANDS project.

Mapping the Urban Vitality of Barcelona

Researchers at the UAB have mapped Barcelona and and 9 surrounding towns using a new methodology based on urbanism activist Jane Jacobs' ideas on how cities should be configured to become vital spaces: 25% of the area is classified as having high vitality.

Agricultural intensification not a “blueprint” for sustainable development

Social and ecological results of increased agricultural intensification are not as positive as expected.

Green urban planning must consider social equity criteria

Cities that do not include social equity criteria into their political strategies to make their urban environment greener and more ecological will not achieve long-term sustainability and risk creating green enclaves only for the social elite.

The ICTA-UAB alerts of a new invasive Asian beetle pest in Catalonia that kills mulberry trees

A study by researcher of the ICTA-UAB and the Department of Agriculture Víctor Sarto i Monteys has identified in the province of Barcelona the presence of a species from Asia that could spread through Europe.

More than 120 ICTA-UAB researchers addressed environmental challenges at a symposium, especially those arising from global and...

The Institut of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) organized its 1st Spring Symposium with the aim of addressing some of the main environmental and sustainability challenges.

Low-carbon energy transition requires more renewables than previously thought

A new study by ICTA-UAB analyzes the impacts on lifestyles of substituting fossil fuels for cleaner energies.

Are Farmers Who Belong to Local User Associations Better Adapted to Climate Change?

Droughts, floods and high temperatures derived from climate change are not the only threats that farmers with irrigated crops must face.

Climate Change Threatens World's Largest Seagrass Carbon Stores

Shark Bay seagrass carbon storage hotspot suffers alarming losses after a devastating marine heat wave, according to a study led by ICTA-UAB researchers.

Amazon's indigenous people hunt animals feeding in areas contaminated by oil spills

A study by the ICTA-UAB and the UAB Department of Animal Health and Anatomy demonstrates that the main species hunted by the indigenous popoulations of the Peruvian Amazon ingest water and soil contaminated with hidrocarbons and heavy metals.

The new Planttes app warns of allergy risks in different urban areas

The Planttes application is a citizen science project which aims to encourage people to identify and locate on a map the existence of allergy-causing plants and indicate their phenological state.

New Project to Link Extreme Weather Events, Atmospheric Biodiversity and Human Health

A new ICTA-UAB project led by researcher Jordina Belmonte will study the effects of extreme meteorological events on the biological biodiversity present in the atmosphere in order to predict changes in the environment and possible affectations on human health.

ICTA-UAB’s success: five ERC grants in two years

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) has been awarded five European Research Council (ERC) grants in two years, which is about ten per cent of all ERC grants arriving in Catalonia over the period from the end of 2015 to the end of 2017.

New ICTA-UAB 'Welcome Guide'

The new ICTA-UAB 'Welcome Guide' it is at your disposal now. With this document, we aim to help you discover the basics of the PhD programme, ICTA-UAB’s structure, etc.
Lucía Argüelles awarded the Local Economy Research Prize

Date: 2018-11-06

An article by ICTA-UAB researcher Lucía Argüelles has been awarded the Local Economy Research Prize from the Catedra Barcelona – UPF and Ajuntament de Barcelona for Doctoral students and young researchers, for the article “How to survive: Artificial quality food, urban-rural politics, and the new forms of rule for farmers embedded in direct marketing strategies”, coauthored by ICTA-UAB researchers Isabelle Anguelovski and Filka Sekulova.

This award is intended to recognize articles of scientific quality in the field of Local Economic Policy and promote the disseminations of knowledge and its transfer to public policies. The articles awarded have been published in recent times in areas of specializations related to the contents of the Catedra. The award consists of 2.500 euros. 

The scientific article tackles sustainable agrifood policies. Current agri-food policy and programs highlight the need for a shift in the approach to move towards more sustainable agriculture – socially and environmentally. In this respect, new policies are often based on market-led models that add value to certain distinctive products or practices. In this context, “quality food schemes” (QFSs herein after) emerge – those in which particular products or characteristics from small scale food production are ascribed a certain superiority that allows the producers to obtain premium prices. These schemes take the form of territorial management or economic planning strategies that link quality to the production from certain districts or regions.

Influenced by imaginaries of rurality, locality, and environmentalism, quality schemes are also promoted at urban level. Cities are seeing the resurgence of urban and peri-urban agriculture as well as the raise of food councils and assemblies as a good opportunity to discuss and revise their food politics (even partially) and try to impulse more sustainable food policies and programs. That is the case of Barcelona, who in recent years has, for example, organized several open workshops about the city’s food sovereignity (Llaurant Barcelona), supported farmers’ markets (Mercat de la Terra) or promoted local products on municipal markets (Mercats Verds).

However, the implementation of such schemes is a multi-level process that does not necessarily offer win-win solutions to all sides involved. In the paper, they analyze the contradictions embedded in the quality food strategy by looking at the effects and meaning for farmers in an agricultural area of Barcelona, where many of these programs overlap. They argue that the use of market-based and entrepreneurial logics and the focus on quality and gastronomy for the benefits of urban customers bring new challenges to producers. These artificial quality food schemes result in new forms of rule to farmers. Their implementation raises several questions in terms of how “quality” products are identified and rated and for whom, with further implications on how farmers adopt these programs.

Argüelles L., Anguelovski I., Sekulova F. "How to survive: Artificial quality food schemes and new forms of rule for farmers in direct marketing strategies". Journal of Rural Studies. 2018, vol. 62, p. 10-20


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