This book illustrates the ways in which communities can strengthen the links and set the stage for long-term partnerships between sustainable agriculture and sustainable rural community development initiatives. It provides lessons learned, first, from the community development literature that can help shape sustainable agriculture strategies, and second, from the sustainable agriculture literature that can prove useful in moulding sound and effective community development strategies.
The threads that weave the chapters together is the commitment to a building and expanding the community capital resources that have important bearing on the sustainability of agriculture and the broader community of which it is a part. Certainly, the success of the agriculture/community partnerships is rooted in one critical ingredient – "social capital." To be effective over the long-term, sustainable development depends on a network of people, drawn from a wide array of interests, who have a strong trusting relationship with one another, and who are willing to work together in responding to the economic, environmental, and social challenges facing agriculture and community alike. At the same time, strategies that work to strengthen the stock of all seven types of community capitals are important to pursue. It is balanced investments in all seven types of community capitals that will contribute to the emergence of "community agency" -- the ability of local people to act in a proactive manner in managing, utilizing, and enhancing local resources. With the emergence of "community agency," an important step in the pursuit of a sustainable future for both agriculture and community is possible.
This book was published as a special issue of Community Development.