Supporting the role of small farms in the European regional food systems: What role for the science-policy interface?

Sandra Šūmane*, Dionisio Ortiz Miranda, Teresa Pinto-Correia, Marta Czekaj, Dominic Duckett, Francesca Galli, Mikelis Grivins, Christina Noble, Talis Tisenkopfs, Irina Toma, Theodore Tsiligiridis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
48 Downloads (Pure)


Small farms dominate the European agricultural landscape, but they are much less represented in agricultural decision-making structures than larger farms. The weak political representation of small farms diminishes the degree to which their needs are addressed in public agricultural policies and support measures. This underrepresentation has been constraining small farms' contribution to food and nutrition security and sustainability. This paper explores the science – policy interface as boundary networks between researchers and policy-makers, to generate policies that are better-informed and better tailored to small farms' situations. It gathers researchers' experiences, from the Horizon 2020 project SALSA, through a range of project-generated activities and knowledge, of their engagement in the policy process. From the case studies analyzed, three types of SPI emerge: expert advice, networking platform and collaborative governance. Cooperation between researchers and policy-makers, that is often embedded in broader stakeholders’ networks, generate three kinds of contributions: better-informed policy process; increased social capital and empowerment of participants; and improved participant knowledge and skills.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100433
Number of pages10
JournalGlobal Food Security
Early online date17 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Food system governance
  • Food security
  • Science-policy interface
  • Boundary networks
  • Small farms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Food Science
  • Ecology
  • Safety Research


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  • Actions to strengthen the contribution of small farms and small food businesses to food security in Europe

    Moreno-Pérez, O. M., Arnalte Mur, L., Cerrada-Serra, P., Martinez-Gomez, V., Adamsone-Fiskovica, A., Bjørkhaug, H., Brunori, G., Czekaj, M., Duckett, D., Hernández, P. A., Noble, C., Pinto-Correia, T., Płonka, A., Prosperi, P., Redman, M., Rivera Mendez, M., Šūmane, S. & Ortiz Miranda, D., Feb 2024, In: Food Security. 16, 1, p. 243-259 17 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Open Access
    1 Citation (Scopus)
    31 Downloads (Pure)

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