Mental Models of Soil Management for Food Security in Peri-Urban India

Friedrichsen, C N and Daroub, S H and Monroe, M C and Stepp, J R and Wani, S P (2018) Mental Models of Soil Management for Food Security in Peri-Urban India. Urban Agriculture & Regional Food Systems, 3 (1). pp. 1-16. ISSN 2575-1220

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Agricultural development during the Green Revolution brought India food sovereignty but food insecurity persists. Increased crop production was promoted without considering the more holistic impact on food security. Scientists, extension agents, and farmers have different perspectives on how soil health relates to food security. Understanding stakeholders’ perspectives is essential to improving extension communication and mitigating consequences. This study uses qualitative interviews to construct mental models of soil health for food security. The study site is a peri-urban watershed, which is currently participating in the Integrated Farmer Participatory Watershed Management Model (IFPWM). Our study details and defines stakeholders’ mental models of soil health, soil nutrient management, soil sodicity, and food security. A triad belief held by farmers shows the strongly perceived causal relationship between soil health, plant health, and human health. Healthy soil produces healthy food and humans that eat such food will be healthy. Scientists only perceive one condition to achieving food security in the community—food quantity. However, all other stakeholders perceived another risk to food security—food quality. Eating poor quality food is perceived as linked to human health problems in the community. This research suggests the importance of including a fifth dimension of food security, cultural acceptability, within agricultural technology development and dissemination.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : Asia
Uncontrolled Keywords: Soil Management, mental models, soil health, food security, soil nutrient management, soil sodicity, plant health, human health, food security, cultural acceptability, agricultural technology, appropriate technology
Subjects: Others > Agriculture
Others > Soil
Others > Watershed Management
Others > Water Resources
Others > Food Security
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 05 Apr 2018 10:47
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2018 10:47
Official URL:
Acknowledgement: Publication of this article was funded in part by the University of Florida Open Access Publishing Fund.
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