This volume represents the result of almost two decades of trans-Atlantic collaborative development of a policy research paradigm, the International Comparative Rural Policy Studies program. Over this period dozens of scientists from different disciplines but with a common interest in rural issues and policy have collaboratively studied the policies in North America, Europe, and other parts of the world.

A core element of the book is the idea and practice of comparative research and analysis – what can be learned from comparisons, how and why policies vary in different contexts, and what lessons might or might not be “transferable” across borders. It provides skills for the use of comparative methods as important tools to analyze the functioning of strategies and specific policy interventions in different contexts and a holistic approach for the management of resources in rural regions. It promotes innovation as a tool to valorize endogenous resources and empower local communities and offers case studies of rural policy in specific contexts. The book largely adopts a territorial approach to rural policy. This means the book is more interested in rural regions, their people and economies, and in the policies that affect them, than in rural sectors, and sectoral policies per se.

The audience of the book is by definition international and includes students attending courses in agricultural and rural policy, rural and regional studies, and natural resource management; lecturers seeking course material and case studies to present to their students in any of the courses listed above; professionals working in the field of rural policy; policy-makers and civil servants at different levels seeking tools to better understand rural policy both at the local and global scale and to better recognize and comprehend how to transfer best practices.

chapter |6 pages


ByMatteo Vittuari, John Devlin, Marco Pagani, Thomas G. Johnson

part I|2 pages

Introduction to comparative rural policy studies

chapter 1|18 pages

What is rural? What is rural policy? What is rural development policy?

ByRay D. Bollman, Bill Reimer

chapter 2|16 pages

Comparing ruralities

The case of Canada and the United States
ByBill Reimer, Thomas G. Johnson

chapter 3|13 pages

What is rural?

The historical evolution of rural typologies in Europe
ByJohn M. Bryden, Jordi Rosell Foxà, Lourdes Viladomiu

chapter 4|22 pages

A comparative rural profile across OECD member countries

ByRay D. Bollman

chapter 5|11 pages

Why comparative rural policy studies?

Comparative theory and methods
ByErika Allen Wolters, Brent S. Steel

chapter 6|16 pages

Policy process theory for rural policy

BySuman Pant, Casey Taylor, Brent S. Steel

chapter 7|11 pages

Policy outcomes of decentralized public programs

Implications for rural policy
ByJudith I. Stallmann, Grichawat Lowatcharin

chapter 8|10 pages

Co-constructing rural futures

Understanding place-based development and policy
BySean Markey, Greg Halseth, Laura Ryser

chapter 9|19 pages

Territorial capital in rural policy development

ByFrancesca Regoli, Dezsö Kovács, Natalija Bogdanov, William H. Meyers, Matteo Vittuari

part II|2 pages

People and society

chapter 10|15 pages

International migration

Sustaining rural communities
ByPhilomena De Lima, Lidia Carvajal

chapter 11|11 pages

Rural immigration and welcoming communities

ByRyan Gibson, Robert Annis

chapter 12|13 pages

The role of women in rural areas

ByPatricia T. Fernandez-Guajardo, Denise Lach, Allison Davis-White Eyes

chapter 13|17 pages

Rural poverty in a comparative context

ByBill Reimer

chapter 14|9 pages

Understanding the dimensions of aging and old age in rural areas

ByPhilipp Kneis, Keith Baker

chapter 15|11 pages

Rural health and well-being

ByKathleen Kevany, Maya Fromstein

part III|2 pages

Resources and environment

chapter 17|12 pages

Environmental policy

What are the options?
ByJohn Devlin, Brennan Chapman Lowery

chapter 19|10 pages

The water–energy–food–climate nexus

ByJohn Devlin, Sarah Minnes

chapter 20|16 pages

Governance of watersheds in rural areas

ByKaren Refsgaard

chapter 21|14 pages

Rethinking energy in agricultural and rural areas

ByMarco Pagani, Fabio De Menna, Laura García Herrero, Houston Sudekum, Giuseppe Palladino, Matteo Vittuari

chapter 22|13 pages

Conventional and alternative agri-food chains

ByVictòria Soldevila-Lafon, Lourdes Viladomiu, Jordi Rosell Foxà

chapter 23|11 pages

Building sustainable regional food systems

Policies and support
ByKathleen Kevany, Maya Fromstein

chapter 24|14 pages

Drivers of food losses and their implications for the agro-food chain

Selected case studies
ByMatteo Vittuari, Andrea Segrè, Luca Falasconi, Simone Piras, Laura Brenes-Peralta, Laura García Herrero, Marco Pagani, Fabio De Menna

chapter 25|11 pages

Fish as food

Policies affecting food sovereignty for rural Indigenous communities in North America
ByDavid Fazzino, Philip Loring, Glenna Gannon

chapter 26|8 pages

Public policies affecting community forest management

ByVíctor Ávila Akerberg, Luis Angel López Mathamba, Tanja González Martínez, Sergio Franco-Maass, Gabino Nava Bernal

part IV|2 pages


chapter 27|12 pages

Social economy and entrepreneurship in rural areas

ByAl Lauzon, Mary Ferguson, Catherine Lang, Barbara Harrison

chapter 28|18 pages

Grounded innovation in the rural bioeconomy

ByJohn M. Bryden, Karen Refsgaard

chapter 29|18 pages

Innovation, broadband, and community resilience

ByWilliam Ashton, Wayne Kelly

chapter 30|10 pages

Climate change adaptation by farmers

The case of Nepal
ByKrishna Lal Poudel, Thomas G. Johnson

part V|2 pages

Rural policy reviews

chapter 31|10 pages

Rural policy in the United States

ByThomas G. Johnson

chapter 32|16 pages

Rural policy in Canada

ByBill Reimer

chapter 33|13 pages

Rural policy in Europe

ByJohn M. Bryden

chapter 34|19 pages

Rural policy in the Western Balkans

ByNatalija Bogdanov, Marius Lazdinis, Matteo Vittuari

part VI|2 pages

Comparative rural policy case studies

chapter 35|6 pages

Peri-urban agricultural policies in Canada and France

ByMikaël Akimowicz, Harry Cummings, Charilaos Képhaliacos, Karen Landman

chapter 36|7 pages

A non-profit as a policy actor?

A case study of the Breds Treasure Beach Foundation in Jamaica
ByMatthew Pezold

chapter 37|7 pages

Post-Soviet rural areas towards European integration

The difficult transition of Moldova
BySimone Piras

chapter 38|7 pages

“Why local governments?”

An ongoing debate in rural New Brunswick, Canada
ByMichelle Landry

chapter 40|6 pages

Community-managed forestry in Palo Seco, Mexico

ByAndrew Peach, John Devlin

chapter 41|6 pages

Land ownership and land management policies in Norway and Scotland

ByAnnie McKee, Heidi Vinge, Hilde Bjørkhaug, Reidar Almås

chapter 43|8 pages

Integral mountain development in Spain

An historical review
ByPedro Fiz Rocha Correa