The industrialisation of agricultural activity has had a great impact on the environment and society the world over. In the rural environment the result has been a profound degradation of natural resources, the landscape and traditional agricultural ecosystems, along with a decline in farming's social and economic importance, which has led in turn to a decline in rural communities in Europe.

These tendencies have not been reversed in the last decades by corrective policies on agriculture and rural development, focusing on post-productivism and the multifunctionality of agriculture. Agroecology incorporates the growing role of farming in fostering the territorial and social cohesion of rural and peri-urban areas.

Within this dimension we include the following: policy on farming and rural development, the role of agricultural activity in peri-urban areas of the major metropolitan regions; the construction of alternative local food supply networks and access to productive resources (especially land, water, energy and genetic resources), the recovery of folk knowledge about the environment; and the recovery of self-esteem in rural and agricultural life, in the construction of symbolic contexts that are favourable to agroecology.

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