The diffusion of sustainable family farming practices in Colombia: An emerging sociotechnical niche?

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


There is significant potential for family farming to contribute to several dimensions of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. Our research aims to provide insights to help strengthen sustainable family farming. We focus on initiatives that have advanced sustainable family farming innovations in Colombia and analyse the factors and dynamics that have led to the limited penetration of those innovations across the country. To that aim, a transformative methodology is applied involving representatives of farmers’ associations, supporting organisations and researchers from various disciplinary fields. We analyse the network of initiatives against the conceptual background of sociotechnical niches and identify a stable niche where generic lessons are being systematically identified and used to establish replication projects. However, this niche is still limited in its breadth, which results in a low capacity for expansion and a strong dependency on international donors for reproducing experiences. Specific recommendations are outlined for broadening the type of actors involved in the interpretation and dissemination of lessons from the niche. Moreover, we outline suggestions for further research and conceptualisation in two directions: for exploring effective ways of broadening the niche and translating niche lessons to state policies and for deepening the understanding of interactions between the niche and other levels.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSustainability Science
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)829-847
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 01.05.2018

    Research areas

  • Sustainability Science - Family farming, Agroecology, Sustainability transition, Sociotechnical niches, Case-based mutual learning, Colombia