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  • 1. Björklund, Johanna
    et al.
    Eksvärd, Karin
    Schaffer, Christina
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    Exploring the potential of edible forest gardens: experiences from a participatory action research project in Sweden2019In: Agroforestry Systems, ISSN 0167-4366, E-ISSN 1572-9680, Vol. 93, no 3, p. 1107-1118Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    To meet the environmental challenges that are presently confronting society, the narrow focus on agricultural production needs to be altered to one that places equal value on the generation of crucial ecosystem services. Current research shows that perennial intercropping systems such as agroforestry may be a feasible alternative. Based on studies during the establishment of edible forest gardens in 12 participating farms in Sweden, this paper explores the potential of utilizing multi-strata designs for food production in temperate, high-income countries. Design and species composition of such gardens, types of food they provide, and how they would best fit into the present landscape are discussed. Factors for success and major problems related to the establishment are shared. Potential benefits were found to be closely related to a thorough analysis of the social and ecological contexts before establishment. Characteristics of the site and goals of the garden need to guide species and design choices. If forest garden approaches to food production should contribute to more than local self-sufficiency, the gardens need to increase in scale. Marginal lands and transitions areas between different land uses may be appropriate. Large knowledge gaps concerning potential production, social and economic benefits, and agronomic issues were identified.

  • 2.
    Schaffer, Christina
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
    Assessing ecosystem services in perennial intercropping systems –participatory action research in Swedish modern agroforestry2014In: Farming systems facing global challenges: Capacities and strategies, 2014Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The focus of this paper is on how to assess ecosystem services in complex agroforestry systems using a case of edible forest gardens. Benefits of doing these assessments in a participatory learning and action research (PLAR) context are elaborated, as well as difficulties and questions that this has raised. The PLAR group comprised farmers on 13 smallholdings, researchers and a facilitator, which through collaboration and participatory methods have developed a general design of a forest garden, 60 m2 in size and established it on all 13 participating farms. Important values of the work are that ecosystem services are related to specific local contexts and that methodology for multi-criteria assessments of the generation of ecosystem services on a farm scale are being developed. Farmers engaged in formulating research questions, development of field trial designs, sampling and analysis of results improves the relevance and quality of the research as well as advance the adoption of new knowledge.

  • 3.
    Schaffer, Christina
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    Eksvärd, Karin
    Björklund, Johanna
    Can Agroforestry Grow beyond Its Niche and Contribute to a Transition towards Sustainable Agriculture in Sweden?2019In: Sustainability, ISSN 2071-1050, E-ISSN 2071-1050, Vol. 11, no 13, article id 3522Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Agroforestry is thought to be an approach that could support agriculture in the transition from a system with sustainability problems to one containing regenerative activities contributing to viable ecosystems and, therefore, sustainability solutions. A transdisciplinary and participatory action research (PAR) group that included farmers approached the development of temperate agroforestry systems in the modern agricultural setting of Sweden through practical experience on 12 farms for collective analysis. The objective was to research potential systems such as edible forest gardens, silvopasture and silvoarable systems to discuss their use and effects as well as scaling possibilities. Knowledge and experiences of challenges and solutions related to the development of agroforestry were identified at both niche and regime levels.

  • 4.
    Stoltz, Jonathan
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    Schaffer, Christina
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    Salutogenic Affordances and Sustainability: Multiple Benefits With Edible Forest Gardens in Urban Green Spaces2018In: Frontiers in Psychology, ISSN 1664-1078, E-ISSN 1664-1078, Vol. 9, article id 2344Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    With increased urbanization, ecological challenges such as climate change and loss of biodiversity, and stress-related disorders globally posing a major threat to public health and wellbeing, the development of efficient multiple-use strategies for urban green spaces and infrastructures is of great importance. In addition to benefits such as climate and water regulation, food production, and biodiversity conservation, green spaces and features have been associated with various health and wellbeing outcomes from a psychological perspective. Research suggests links between exposure to green environmental qualities and restoration from psycho-physiological stress and attention fatigue, promotion of physical activity, increased neighborhood satisfaction and even reduced mortality. Especially strong associations have been observed in urban and socio-economically challenged areas. Usually such salutogenic, i.e., health-promoting, effects are explained through theories related to the notion of biophilia, i.e., the idea that humans share innate tendencies to attend to natural environments and features that have been beneficial during evolution. This paper assumes an ecological approach to perception and behavior to be fruitful in order to analyze the salutogenic potential of environments such as urban green spaces and to step beyond the green vs. gray dichotomy that has been prevalent through much of the research on health-promoting environments. Through an analysis of environmental affordances for certain perceived qualities such an approach is explored through a proposed concept for urban green space use and management, the edible forest garden. Such gardens, based on agroecological principles, have emerged as one of the most promising models regarding ecologically sustainable food production. In addition to potential contributions of importance for urban sustainability and biodiversity, we argue that the inclusion of edible forest gardens in urban green spaces - today globally dominated by lawns - also potentially could reinforce several affordances of salutogenic importance, both in terms of, e.g., social cohesion but also in regard to restoration from psycho-physiological stress and attention fatigue. Increased opportunities for contact with nature and processes of food production may also reinforce pro-environmental behaviors in the population and thus also affect long-term sustainability.

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