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What knowledge is required to grow food? A framework for understanding horticulture’s skills ‘crisis’

Pitt, Hannah 2021. What knowledge is required to grow food? A framework for understanding horticulture’s skills ‘crisis’. Journal of Rural Studies 85 , pp. 59-67. 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2021.05.001
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For more than a decade actors in Europe, North America and Australasia have been warning of crises with horticultural skills, highlighting shortages of specialists, educational programmes and traineeships. Related warnings predict worsening shortages of skilled workers essential for production of horticultural crops. Analysis of recent strategies from the UK finds these problems poorly defined and characterised, without articulating what horticultural skills comprise, tending to misconstrue problems and causes. This paper aims to characterise food growing knowledge systems and challenges they face. The result is a new definition of and conceptual framework for horticultural skills to enhance understanding of the sector's problems and formulation of solutions. The framework valorises knowledge of workers often portrayed as unskilled, and demonstrates how skills and labour challenges are wholly inter-linked. Knowledge flows are found to be affected by multiple impediments which contribute to a sense of crisis. Unresolved questions regarding this skills system present avenues for research to better understand the future prospects of food production skills, and demonstrate the value critical social science can bring to this topic.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Sustainable Places Research Institute (PLACES)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0743-0167
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 4 May 2021
Date of Acceptance: 2 May 2021
Last Modified: 16 Oct 2021 07:20

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