Food for Change: Exploring rural-urban linkages among youth in Guatemala

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Food for Change: Exploring rural-urban linkages among youth in Guatemala

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Publication 1-year master student thesis
Title Food for Change: Exploring rural-urban linkages among youth in Guatemala
Author Axblad, Clara
Date 2018
English abstract
As the world grapples with increasing urbanization, population growth, climate change and depleting natural resources, there is an increased recognition that more food will have to be produced with fewer resources while food consumption has to shift rapidly towards more sustainable patterns. Meanwhile, although many are willing to work in and innovate agricultural practices, young people in rural areas still struggle to access the resources needed to be part of this shift, not to mention to make a living. In Guatemala, more than 90 % of young people engaged in agriculture work in the informal sector. In such a context of insecure labour conditions combined with strong vulnerability to climate change and natural disasters, migration to cities or abroad is often a result of push rather than pull factors. Through an inductive methodological approach based on qualitative interview research with a small yet broad sample of stakeholders, this study explores the potential of rural-urban linkages to help strengthen opportunities for rural youth in Guatemala. By supporting information exchanges on the value of local small-scale food production and conscious consumption, it also aims to promote sustainable development in a broader sense. Four areas of inquiry are investigated with the goal of generating evidence-based recommendations on framing, messaging and channels that could be used as a foundation to build on when promoting local produce in urban and peri-urban markets. Interviewees agree on the importance of agriculture and many see a need for raising awareness on the value of local small-scale food production for advancing all dimensions of sustainable development. This coincides with a broad interest within a limited test group for accessing such information. Suggested communication channels range from social media via branding to goodwill ambassadors. Messaging should be short and impactful and focus on mutual benefits for producers and consumers, including for personal health and community development. Local food is believed to have a particular potential to promote perceptions of a common identity, supporting efforts to tackle historical and current barriers for linking urban and rural areas closer together. Future research could look at successful initiatives to strengthen rural-urban linkages among youth, as well as on the increasingly porous borders between rural and urban areas and identities. Reassessing classifications of rural producers and urban consumers could hopefully contribute to more circular and sustainable models of development.
Publisher Malmö universitet/Kultur och samhälle
Pages 44
Language eng (iso)
Subject agriculture
communication
consumption
development
food
urbanization
Guatemala
rural-urban linkages
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/26488 Permalink to this page
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