(17 June 2022) – A team of researchers associated with the Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon, and the Erasmus+ trAEce Project (vocational training in agroecology for farmers) coordinated by the environmental association GAIA, are currently promoting a “Participatory Rural Appraisal” (PRA) for the municipality of Odemira, on the Alentejo coast in Portugal.
In terms of governance, Odemira, Portugal’s largest municipality by area (1,721 km2), is part of both the National Ecological Reserve, the European Natura Network 2000, as well as the National Agricultural Reserve, meaning that its environmental and resource management can have serious repercussions for agricultural production and biodiversity conservation.
It is also a region that is especially sensitive to climate change, with high aridity and great pressure on the availability of water. Finally, this region has been the object of an intense national as well as international debate about different farming options and precarious rural labour conditions.
The PRA for Odemira, which runs from February to October 2022, is an action-research response to the above-mentioned challenges that this region is facing.
It intends to foster emancipation through engagement, networking and participation from “below” and hopes to support not only a sound diagnosis of the agri-food sector, as well as point out possible sustainable farm & food futures.