Keren Reichler

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Rice U.

Grant number

Gr. 10719

Approve Date

April 15, 2024

Project Title

Reichler, Keren (Rice U.) "Agroecological Practice and Grassroots Innovation in Argentina"

How do smallholder farmers approach digital agricultural technologies in the context of climate change? In response to technologies ill-suited for small-scale, sustainable agriculture as well as corporate consolidation of land and food production, emerging networks of farmers, agronomists, engineers, activists, and government actors seek to challenge the presumed superiority of industrial agricultural regimes through local innovation. These networks embrace agroecological practices and alternative forms of technology, such as low-cost soil reflectometers and open-source farm management software, to remain relevant agricultural producers and create alternative farming futures. Mendoza, Argentina offers an illuminating case to unpack such local technological innovation in an arid region facing severe climate changes which threaten the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. This project analyzes how emerging grassroots alliances in Mendoza experiment with agricultural technologies to innovate upon their social, political, ecological, and economic goals for sustainable food production. Drawing on over a decade of work in food justice by the primary researcher, this fieldwork utilizes participant observation, interviews, and multi-modal, collaborative research methods to analyze the agricultural futures being imagined and created through grassroots, local agroecological innovation in Argentina.