Spatial limitation of farms within settlements
The United Nations have declared 2014 the International Year of Family Farming. Their goal is to once again position family farming in the centre in the national agricultural, environmental and social policy planning, identifying its shortcomings and potentials. The European Commission is joining this initiative because it recognizes family farming as key in the production of safe, quality food. The predictions of agricultural experts that the competitive global market economy will lead to industrial farming replacing traditional family farming have not come true. Quite the contrary – the transformation of farming from the productivism, which is based on commercialisation, concentration and industrialisation, towards the post-productivism, which is based on diversification, dispersion and extensification, led to the strengthening of the importance of family farming.
Subject of this research is spatial limitation of farms - one of the main agricultural spatial challenges, which arises when farms due to lack of free land cannot expand their outbuildings and consequently cannot increase their production. Spatial limitation affects the development potential of farms, since it impedes expansion of production activities, as well as worsens the accessibility of agricultural land; causes social tensions within settlements; changes the identity of the rural landscape and reduces the interest of young people for farming. The changes in the social and political attitude towards the agricultural activity and the simultaneous diversification of rural areas have contributed to the fact that farms are often treated as intruders within the settlements, while their activities are seen as disruptive for the local population. Nevertheless, this topic has not yet been systematically researched. The time dynamics as well as the factors that have influenced this process are still unknown. These factors can be either external (deriving from physical geographical and broader social, economic and political circumstances) or internal (deriving from changes within the farm itself or its agricultural household).
The research will analyse time dynamics of changes that led to farm limitation. It will study physical and normative aspect of spatial limitation, determine internal and external factors that contributed to the current spatial situation of farms and finally evaluate the measures foreseen as solutions for this issue. The policy recommendations for agricultural and spatial decision makers will transfer new scientific findings into practice.
From the scientific point of view the research will upgrade our knowledge about contemporary spatial and social processes in rural and urban areas. It will also encourage further discussion about the spatial condition of Slovene family farms, the transformation of their role within settlements, and the existent and potential adjustment strategies for their survival.
The limitation of farms within settlements is an internationally relevant research topic; therefore the results of this project as well as its methodology should be of interest also to foreign researchers.