Systems agriculture: A paradigm...
 New publications
 News and notes
 Conferences and newsletters
 FSRE and the extensionist
 In memoriam
 Membership information

Title: Association of Farming Systems Research-Extension newsletter
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Table of Contents
    Systems agriculture: A paradigm for sustainability
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
    New publications
        Page 6
    News and notes
        Page 7
    Conferences and newsletters
        Page 8
    FSRE and the extensionist
        Page 9
        Page 10
    In memoriam
        Page 11
    Membership information
        Page 12
Full Text

ESAR Volume 2,
Number 3, 1991

Association for Farming Systems Research-Extension Newsletter
Association for Farming Systems Research-Extension Newsletter

Systems Agriculture:
A Paradigm for

by N. Sriskandarajah, R.J. Bawden,
and R.G. Packham2

A decade ago, C.R.W. Spedding posited
that "...as agricultural research and
development are generally aimed at the
improvement of systems...success
Depends upon being clear about (1) what
constitutes an improvement; and (2)
exactly which system is being im-
proved" (Spedding 1979). To many
agricultural scientists, these questions
bordered on the irreverent. Surely it was
obvious: for more than a century,
science and technology had enabled
farmers consistently to improve the
productivity of individual crop and
livestock enterprises. Improvements
were therefore unquestionably increases
in productivity, and the focus for such
improvements were specific farm
commodities or farming enterprises.
Improve the performance of the parts
and the whole farm automatically would
To many observers, these assump-
tions have become increasingly open to

1 Paper presented at the Ninth Annual
Farming Systems Research-Extension
Symposium, University of Arkansas,
Fayetteville, October 9-11, 1989.
2 Faculty of Agriculture and Rural Develop-
ment, University of Western Sydney,
Hawkesbury, Richmond, Australia.

question. In the first place, it has
become clear that improving the
component parts of a farming system
does not necessarily result in improve-
ments to the whole system. Further-
more, as systems exist in relationship
with their environment, any systemic
improvements must also be considered
in the higher-order context of the
system/environment complex. This
complex represents a set of dynamic,
interdependent relationships such that
changes in one area will induce changes
in others. And this is as true for rela-
tionships within systems themselves as
between systems and their environment.
In addition to these spatial consider-
ations, there are temporal ones. What
seems to be an improved state of affairs
in the short run may turn out to be less
than desirable in the long run.
A narrow obsession with increased
productivity has obscured the fact that
there has been a high cost to agricultural
progress through the degradation of
rural environments, both biophysical
and sociocultural. This has led in recent
years to an increasingly clamorous call
for multidimensional research to
support the development of farming
systems that are sustainable and equi-
table, as well as stable and productive
(Conway 1985).
This shift in foci brings with it many
new challenges to both our thinking and
our practices as agricultural scientists.
We are being drawn into new worlds
where concepts are no longer neatly
objective and unequivocal. And, as
Douglass (1984) has illustrated, none of

these new notions is more slippery than
that of sustainability.

Sustainability means different things to
different people, depending on a variety
of factors including worldview and
previous experience. Sustainable
agriculture is often synonymous with
low-input agriculture, which involves
maintaining production and profits
without the excessive use of purchased
inputs. To those with an ecological
viewpoint, sustainability refers to the
overall imbalance between the use of
renewable and nonrenewable resources
and the increasing degradation of the
physical environment. This calls for the
stabilization of yields and homeostasis
within agroecosystems. There are also
those who take an even wider, sociologi-

In This Issue...

Systems Agriculture: A Paradigm for
Sustainability, by
N. Sriskandarajah, R.J. Bawden,
and R.G. Packham..................... 1
New Publications.....................6
Call for Reviewers...................... 6
News & Notes...............................7
Conferences................................. 8
FSRE and the Extensionist,
by Thoric Cederstr6m...............9
In Memoriam:
Mark B. Lynham......................11

The Association for Farming Systems Research-Extension is an international society organized to promote the development and dissemination of
methods and results of participatory on-farm systems research and extension. The objective of such research is the development and adoption
through the participation by farm household members-male and female-of improved and appropriate technologies to meet the socioeconomic
needs of farm families; adequately supply global food, feed, and fiber requirements; and utilize resources in a sustainable and efficient manner.

cal viewpoint, envisioning agriculture
not purely as production but as a way of
life for rural people, where sustainability
means the maintenance of stable, self-
reliant rural communities.
To these differing interpretations can
be added the notion that sustainability
may have different foci in differing
contexts. For instance, while the
development of sustainable technologies
to substitute for expensive resource
inputs is the challenge facing agriculture
in the developed world, the growing
demands for agricultural commodities
for food and foreign exchange in
developing economies require new
technologies and practices that both
sustain and enhance productivity
(Ruttan 1988). Such a concept cannot
be confined to the farm. As Altieri
(1988) has argued, if sustainable agricul-
ture is to be truly equitable, it should
consider not only what is produced and
how that production is achieved, but
also who benefits from this production.
Sustainable agriculture must also take
into account the environment and its
systems, which are subject to both
continuous and discontinuous change.
Thus there are many different
interpretations of what sustainability
means to agriculturalists. It can be
argued that if it is to be a useful unifying
concept, one that will guide better
agricultural practice in a global sense,
sustainability should accommodate all
of the above viewpoints.
Or is this asking too much? Perhaps
there needs to be a different way of
thinking about what constitutes im-
provements in the long-term relation-
ships between people and their environ-
ment. This new thinking needs to
transcend the idea of farms as homeo-
static entities-systems that are capable
of restoring their own balance following
both short-term perturbations and long-
term disruptions. What if the focus is
shifted from farms as agricultural
systems that are constant victims of
adverse environmental forces and that
in turn threaten the integrity of those
environments, to farms as learning
systems in constant coevolution with
their environments? Like their organis-
mic analogs, such organizations would

then be seen as autopoietic (Maturana
and Varela 1979), self-organizing and
dynamic systems (Prigogine 1980),
rather than as constantly threatened,
homeostatic systems.
Central to this understanding is the
concept of farmers as people constantly
engaged in learning more about the
characteristics of the environment in
which they operate, building and
maintaining enduring relationships with
other people and with the world around
them. From this perspective, it makes
more sense to think of sustainability as a
measure of the persistence of individual
farmers or farm families as learners and
"coevolvers" who continuously try to
improve the quality of their ecological
relationships. "Quality" here is not
something that can be judged indepen-
dently against fixed standards. It is seen
as a systemic property emerging from
the socio-historical context of the
system and judged against ever-chang-
ing norms (Checkland and Casar 1986).
Thus sustainability as a persistent and
intrinsic property of the farm vested in
the farmer contrasts with the conven-
tional approach, which presents
sustainability as a criterion of an
external designer attempting to work
out technologies for farms that are both
productive and environmentally benign.

To move from a production focus that
essentially ignores people except as
objective components to one that
recognizes people and their relationships
with the environment as the central
concern of agricultural development
requires a major shift in the worldview
of farmers and of the professionals who
help them. Indeed, this is a call for a
new type of professional agriculturist,
who will in turn need a new style of
education-a new paradigm. Techno-
logical thinking, often characterized by a
reductionist, mechanical perspective,
has to be complemented by an ecologi-
cal, relational, systemic one (Capra
1982). We are arguing for a different
ecology and a different type of system-

ization from the conventional. We are
arguing for an approach where "ecol-
ogy" includes the human actors and
where the system is in their minds
(Bateson 1972). This is a call for a new
social ecology for agricultural and rural
development that brings with it the
need for a new paradigm of inquiry.
Conventional approaches to agricul-
tural education, research, and extension
that reduce and subdivide knowledge
into neat compartments and disciplines
and then treat such knowledge as a
dispersible commodity will need to be
modified. The new generation of
agricultural professionals will be con-
cerned as much with new, systemic ways
of knowing and learning-for-action, as
with new knowledge and novel tech-
nologies. The focus will not be on the
external development of new technolo-
gies for more sustainable farming
systems per se, but on helping farmers
and rural people to create new learning
systems-new ways for them to learn
how to create new sets of persistent
relationships between themselves and
the biophysical and sociocultural
environments that surround them. The
practices needed for designing new
learning systems that will encourage
colearning relationships between
professional agriculturists and their
farmer "colleagues" are not capable of
recipe; they have to be learned experien-
tially, for each relationship will be
There is much to be gained from
shifting the focus of analysis from "real"
farming systems to an epistemological
approach to generating improvements
in relationships. Under these circum-
stances, education, research, and
extension become different facets of a
single learning process. Knowledge is
not a commodity for transfer from the
informed to the uninformed, but the
outcome of a dynamic, collaborative
process between colearners. This is not
to deny the importance of scientific
inquiry for the investigation of the
biology, economy, sociology, or ecology
of the farm. These are vital ways of
knowing that generate important new
knowledge. But if the knowledge and
the ways by which it was generated

remain the province of the scientist,
then the notion of sustainability as a
learning function of the farmer remains
The emphasis on the learning process
as the key focus for rural and agricultural
development is central to the emerging
new paradigm that we have termed
"Systems Agriculture."

Following Reason and Rowan (1981) we
have found it useful to distinguish
between three ways of learning: proposi-
tional (learning for knowing), practical
(learning for doing), and experiential
(learning for being). An effective learner
is one who is able to use all three modes.
Unfortunately, our academic heritage is
often such that we emphasize only the
first two while virtually ignoring the
third. Ironically, it is this latter mode
that is most commonly used by farmers
as they struggle to make sense of those
things that are actually happening to
them day by day.
Experiential learning concerns the
way we perceive the world and how that
*perception determines how we behave
in the world. In other words, what we
experience in the world, how we
perceive these experiences, and what
meanings, values, and theories we
attribute to them will determine what
actions we take (Kolb 1984). Learning
can be seen as the dynamic process
whereby there is a flux between sensory
experiences of the world and the mental
abstraction of them-between experi-
encing and making meaning of these
experiences. Both are highly personal
and idiosyncratic.
Experiential learning is triggered
when the learner becomes immersed in
a concrete experience, in a situation that
is "real" and problematic. In trying to
obtain a clear picture of the situation,
the learner goes through a divergent
process of data-gathering by making
careful observations across a range of
issues and reflecting on them. This is
followed by a stage of mentally assimi-
lating divergent knowledge into familiar
*patterns and framing them into abstract
concepts. The generalizations and

insights gained are transformed into
models to be tested when the learner
reaches the stage of active experimenta-
tion. Finally, the learner has to accom-
modate the outcome of action with the
reality of the experience. This iterative
cycle, in which experiences are trans-
formed into knowledge for action,
highlights the synthesis of the concrete
with the abstract and reflection with
action into what we might term a
learning system. In other words, the
learner and the issues being investigated
are "coupled" (Maturana and Varela
1988) through a vigorous process,
combining a number of different, but
critically interrelated, learning
To deal with the complex issues of
contemporary agriculture and rural
development and to focus on the inter-
relationships between people and their
natural and sociocultural environments,
we need methods of inquiry that can
accommodate the totality of the issues
being investigated. A holistic or sys-
temic approach contrasts with the
conventional approaches in agricultural
science based on reductionism, in which
a single crop or crop enterprise is seen to
determine the nature of the entire
system. Yet these reductionist method-
ologies can be usefully brought to bear
once the overall systemic context has
been established and investigated.

Researching is learning with the special
intention of adding to public knowl-
edge. In doing research, one attempts to
understand the nature of the world and
to share one's propositions, thus adding
to knowledge. Whether in solving
problems or improving human situa-
tions through the natural or social
sciences, research processes can be seen
as a variation in method on the basic
theme of experiential learning.
The integration of the learning
process along a continuum stretching
from holism to reductionism offers us a
"hierarchy" of interconnected methods
of inquiry. The choice of "level" of
inquiry and appropriate methodology

by the researcher-learner will be contin-
gent upon the nature of the problematic
situation. Exploration of "soft" systems
issues (e.g., the management of conflict)
may be the entry point of the inquiry,
or, at a lower hierarchical level, the
concern may be a "hard" systems issue
(e.g., the optimization of resource
allocation). Further down the scale, the
issues may be of a more technical
nature, calling for puzzle-solving
methodologies of technology and
science. The model (Figure 1) depicts at
least four levels appropriate to inquiring
into a range of issues of decreasing
complexity and uncertainty, from
paradoxes to performances to puzzles,
that may confront those investigating
the complex psychosocial and biophysi-
cal issues associated with farms existing
in coevolution with their environments.
Each level of inquiry provides a
perspective and a clearer focus on intent
for the subsequent level and each lower
level provides insights for the higher
levels. By focusing as much on the
process of learning and the different
methods of inquiry as on the content
and context of the issues, personal
learning styles can be markedly en-
hanced. And just as our students learn
to master these new ways of knowing, so
too do they learn to share them with
their farmer collaborators. In this way,
working with faculty as well as with field
practitioners, students will help to create
whole new networks of learners that link
academia, rural industries, and rural
communities. Each is crucial for the
development of the other, but none is
primary. The open-ended nature of the
model indicates possibilities for new
approaches to learning as this dynamic
praxis generates new needs.
The similarity of the underlying
learning processes in research methods
taken from opposing ends of the spiral
are illustrated in Figure 2, which com-
pares and contrasts a method employed
in a reductionist, scientific experiment
with a systemic, participative, action-
research method. If, for example, the
problem in the former case was low
yields of a crop that had signs of
nutrient deficiency while the issue in
the latter case was sustainability of the

Conceptual world

Themes and roots
A------ Identified _
Root definitionsdentified

Conceptual models AC AE
\ -CE

Real world

Causal Primary
relationships observations
hypothesized made
Concept AC CE Pro
modelled rec

P Problem
Experimentation explalne,
planned .. Hypothesls....t-d

Figure 1. Nested hierarchy of interconnected learning subsystems. Key: CE--Concrete Experience;
RO-Reflective Observation; AC-Abstract Conceptualization; and AE-Active Experimentation.
Source: Bawden and Ison 1988; Kolb et al 1983.

future of a rural community, in both
cases the inquiry would start with the
experience of a problem situation. This
would lead to observations being made,
concepts drawn, and action taken. The
process moves from the real world into
the conceptual world and emerges back
in the real world in the action phase.
The reductionist experiment must be
conducted under controlled conditions,
and the researcher often must make
observations away from the site of the
real problem. On the other hand, the
method of the researcher who wants to
actively explore the rural community
necessarily would be participative and
systemic. The outcomes of the two
methods would be learning and knowl-
edge on the one hand and improvement
in the problem situation on the other.
The nature of reality and the way it is
organized and the nature of knowledge
and knowing are profoundly different
between the two methods. The purpose
of research, the impact of its outcomes,
and the worldview of the researchers
using the respective methods will also be

If the mission is to help people to
become persistent learners as a basis for
more successful coevolution with their
environments-to create sustainable
learning systems-then there is a need
to be explicit in sharing different ways
of "seeing" the world as a prelude to
"doing" new things in it. Ways of
researching need to be developed that
combine "finding out" about complex
and dynamic situations with "taking
action" to improve them, in such a way
that the actors and beneficiaries of the
"action research" are intimately in-
volved as participants in the whole
process. Given that this aims to be a
collaborative and democratic process, we
must learn how to learn from each
other. This means more than just
respecting "indigenous knowledge"
(Chambers 1983), but actually sharing
our respective ways of knowing. This is
the essence of what is being termed
participatory development: of research-
ing in active ways with farmers and

Figure 2. Two research methods compared. Source: Bawden 1989a.

others in rural communities, rather than
for them or on them (Levi and Litwin
There is an important distinction to
be made here between researching with
farmers on issues that were identified as
important through a participative
* process and performing research that the
researcher considers important and
which the researcher happens to
conduct on the farmers' fields. These
two approaches reflect very significant
differences in beliefs about the nature
and purpose of research as well as
fundamental epistemological differences
concerning the nature of knowing and
of knowledge (Bawden 1989a,b).


Farmer participatory research has been
proposed by Farrington and Martin
(1988) as an approach that complements
farming systems research in the process
of technology development for resource-
poor farmers. The partnership between
researchers and farmers is seen as the
critical component of participation that
enables cost-effective design and
implementation and dissemination of
technology and that builds on indig-
enous technical knowledge-new
* technology-developing systems. What
we are suggesting through our paradigm

of Systems Agriculture is a further shift
towards the creation of new learning
systems. Here, agricultural professionals
will be engaged in the process of
collaborative inquiry with farmers, in
action-oriented research towards the
establishment of sustainable relation-
ships between people and their environ-
ment. Given the understandings
presented in this paper, new learning
systems offer an important perspective
on sustainable agricultural or rural

Altieri, M.A. 1988. Agroecology: A new
research and development paradigm for
world agriculture. Paper presented at the
International Symposium on Agricultural
Ecology and Environment, University of
Padova, Italy, April.
Bateson, G. 1972. Steps to an ecology of mind.
N.Y.: Ballantine.
Bawden, RJ. 1989a. Systems agriculture:
Learning to deal with complexity. N.Y.:
Bawden, RJ. 1989b. Towards action
researching systems. In Proceedings of the
First International Action-Research Symposium,
Bardon, Queensland, Australia, March.
Capra, F. 1982. The turningpoint. N.Y.:
Simon and Schuster.
Chambers, R. 1983. Rural development:
Putting the last first. United Kingdom:
Checkland, P.B., and A. Casar. 1986. Vicker's
concept of an appreciative system: A
systemic account. Journal of Applied

Systems Analysis 13:3-17.
Conway, G.C. 1985. Agricultural ecology
and farming systems research. In J.V.
Remenyi, ed., Agricultural systems research
for developing countries. ACIAR Proceedings
No. 11. Australian Centre for Intera-
tional Agricultural Research, Canberra.
Douglass, G.K. 1984. Agricultural
sustainability in a changing world order.
Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press.
Farrington, J., and A. Martin. 1988. Farmer
participation in agricultural research: A review
of concepts and practices. ODI Occasional
Paper No. 9. Overseas Development
Institute, London.
Kolb, D.A. 1984. Experiential learning:
Experience as a source of learning and
development. NJ.: Prentice Hall.
Levi, Y., and H. Litwin. 1986. Community
and cooperatives in participatory development.
Vermont: Gower.
Maturana, H.R., and FJ. Varela. 1979.
Autopoeisis and cognition-The realization of
the living. Boston: Reidel.
Maturana, H.R., and FJ. Varela. 1988. The
tree ofknowledge. London: Shambhala.
Prigogine, I. 1980. From being to becoming.
N.Y.: Freeman
Reason, P., andJ. Rowan. 1981. Human
inquiry: A sourcebook of new paradigm
research. N.Y.:John Wiley.
Ruttan, V. 1988. Sustainability is not
enough. American Journal ofAlternative
Agriculture 32&3:128.
Spedding, C.R.W. 1979. An introduction to
agricultural systems. London: Academic

Themes & roots
identified Rich picture

Causal relationships observations
hypothesized RO N made

Root definitions r' AC CE New problem
generated Concept Proe situation
modeled dAE reduced e end

Active experimentation explained
Conceptual models Changs implemented
Models compared
with situation


Raising and Sustaining
Productivity of Smallholder
Farming Systems in the
by Willem C. Beets
This book brings together relevant
knowledge on various tropical farming
systems. The approach is multi-
disciplinary, and emphasis is placed on
the interactions between agrotechnical,
environmental, economic, sociological,
institutional, and political aspects.
Information on climate, soils, and plant
breeding institutions is given when
these factors are crucial in the context of
overall development.
The purpose of the book is to provide
a framework for agricultural develop-
ment in the tropics with an emphasis on
raising the overall productivity of
farming systems in a sustainable man-
ner. The author advocates consideration
of the farmer's point of view and
development within existing systems as
opposed to recommending the adoption
of Western-style systems heavily
dependent on fossil energy, good
communication systems, and institu-
tions. Self-reliance and self-sufficiency
are recommended over dependence on
external inputs, and environmentally
balanced farming systems are empha-
sized over quick profits and spectacular
but unsustainable production gains. The
book would be useful to students,
research workers, and professionals in
agricultural development, as well as
government officials at the policy-
making and implementation level.
Raising and Sustaining Productivity of
Smallholder Farming Systems in the Tropics
is available from AgBe Publishing for
US$65.00 (hardback) or US$39.00
(paperback). For more information
about ordering this book, please contact
AgBe Publishing, P.O. Box 9125, 1800
GC, Alkmaar, Holland; telephone: (31)
72-642648; FAX: (31) 72-624858.

Savoirs Paysans et
Ddveloppement (Farming
Knowledge and Development)
Edited by Georges Dupre
In spite of the impact and range of
research on indigenous farming skills,
local knowledge and local practices are
still not integrated as necessary criteria
within development programs. The
highly variable success of development
activities over the last 25 years would
suggest that it is now necessary to
achieve some kind of connection
between the results of pure research
efforts and development programs. This
524-page collection of papers, in both
English and French, aims at furthering
this goal.
Savoirs Paysans et Developpement is
available for 180 Francs per copy (which
includes postage) from Editions
KARTHALA, Bd Arago 75013, Paris,
France; telephone: 43 31 15 59; FAX: 45
35 27 05. Please pay by postal cheque or
bancaire in France, or by international
money-order addressed to KARTHALA.

Food in China: A Cultural
and Historical Inquiry
by FrederickJ. Simoons
A study of Chinese food from a
cultural and historical perspective, this
volume focuses on traditional China
before the establishment of the People's
Republic. It identifies and provides
comprehensive information on a broad
range of Chinese food plants and
animals for general readers, as well as for
specialists whose interests have led them
to questions relating to the food of
China. The book discusses the origins,
periods, and diffusion of plants and
animals to and from China. It is written
with a focus on Canton and the south-
east, but embraces all of China and is
directed towards people unfamiliar with
Chinese agriculture.
Food in China is available for
US$49.95 (U.S.) or US$59.95 (interna-
tional) from CRC Press Inc., 2000
Corporate Blvd., N.W., Boca Raton,
Florida 33431, USA.

Sedentarization and No-
madization: Food System
Cycles at Hesban and Vicinity
in Transjordan
by Oystein Sakala LaBianca
Inhabitants of the Arab Middle East
are noted for their ability to provide for
their food security despite fluctuating
regional economic and political condi-
tions. The key to their success in this
regard is their flexibility in adapting to
changing circumstances. Sedentarization
and Nomadization documents and
analyzes this flexibility with reference to
the Hesban region in Central
Transjordan. Using ethnographic,
historical, and archaeological evidence,
the author examines why people have
been forced to live primarily in tents and
caves during some periods, and why
they have been able to settle down in
villages and towns during others.
Sedentarization and Nomadization, the
first of a 14-volume series on the Hesban
region, is available for US$49.95 from
Andrews University Press, Andrews
University, Berrien Springs, MI 49104.

Journal Reviewers Needed
The success of the review process for
the Journal for Farming Systems
Research-Extension is reflected in the
high quality of the papers published
in the past year. In anticipation of
the large volume of papers that the
1991 AFSRE Symposium will gener-
ate, we are seeking to expand our
pool of reviewers for the Journal.
If you are interested in serving as
a Journal reviewer, please send a brief
letter that outlines your areas of
interest and your academic and
research accomplishments to:
Timothy R. Frankenberger, Editor,
Journal for Farming Systems Research-
Extension, Office of Arid Lands
Studies, The University of Arizona,
845 N. Park Ave., Tucson, AZ 85719.
Please include your complete
mailing address and a FAX number.
Persons from developing countries
are especially encouraged to apply.

News & Notes

SPosition Available at UCSC
The Environmental Studies Board at the
University of California, Santa Cruz, is
recruiting for an assistant professor in
the area of rural environmental issues,
with a specialization in Third World
societies. Fields of expertise and re-
search might include relationships
between social organization, public
policy, and the sustainable use and
conservation of natural resources, or the
interactions between land-use manage-
ment and the sustainability of regional
ecosystems. Familiarity with food-
production systems, cultural factors,
rural development policy, and sustain-
able natural resource use is critical.
Candidates must show evidence of
excellence in teaching and research,
must have a Ph.D. or equivalent in
anthropology, rural sociology, geogra-
phy, development studies, or a related
field, and have been published in at least
one of the above research areas. A letter
of application, curriculum vitae, and
names, addresses, and phone numbers
of at least three references should be
sent to: Michael Soule, Environmental
Studies Board, University of California,
Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA. Please refer
to 187-889 in your reply. Position
contingent upon availability of funds.
UCSC is an Affirmative Action/Equal
Opportunity employer.

Latin American and
Caribbean Economics

On April 6, 1991, a group of about 50
economists with direct interest in Latin
American issues met in Washington,
D.C., at a session of the Latin American
Studies Association's XVI International
Congress. They discussed forming an
association, which was then tentatively
named the Latin American and Carib-
bean Economics Association. A small
organizing committee was created,
which will attempt to draft by-laws, to
identify a potential Board of Directors
with breadth and balance, and to press

for incorporation of the group within
the Allied Social Science Association.
For membership information, contact
Professor Michael E. Conroy, Depart-
ment of Economics, University of Texas,
Austin, TX 78712, USA; telephone: (512)
471-1724; FAX: (512) 471-3510.

English-Language Project
Seeks Materials

The Centre National d'Etudes
Agronomiques des Regions Chaudes
(CNEARC), part of the school of agricul-
ture in Montpellier, France, is in need of
audio-visual materials on both special-
ized and general topics in agricultural
development. The school runs English-
language training programs for students
preparing for careers as agricultural
engineers and technicians in English-
speaking countries. Program sponsors
are willing to pay for any charges
incurred in acquiring these materials.
Please contact Angela Kent at
CNEARC, 27 rue du Petit Tinal, Maurin,
34970 Lattes, Montpellier, France.

Management Methods for
International Health

Boston University School of Public
Health is offering its fourth annual
course on Management Methods for
International Health. This 12-week
intensive training program is intended
primarily for professionals from or
individuals planning to work in develop-
ing countries who currently have or
anticipate having management or
supervisory responsibilities in the public
or private health sectors.
The course will offer in-depth
coverage of a range of topics, including
health-planning techniques, human
resource management, organizational
behavior, operations management,
management informations systems,
marketing, and related issues. The
faculty, drawn from universities,
international agencies, and international
consulting firms, all have relevant,
current experience in developing
Address applications and inquiries to
Michael Devlin, Course Manager, or

William J. Bicknell, Assistant Vice
President for International Health
Programs, Boston University School of
Public Health, Center for International
Health, 80 East Concord Street, A-310,
Boston, MA 02118-2394, USA; tele-
phone: (617) 638-5234; telex: 200191
BU UR; FAX: (617) 638-4476.

Apprenticeship in Ecological

The Agroecology Program at the Univer-
sity of California, Santa Cruz, offers a
six-month residential Apprenticeship in
Ecological Horticulture, from April 6 to
October 2, 1992. The program empha-
sizes hands-on learning with instruction
in organic horticultural methods (soil
fertility, cultivation, composting,
propagation, irrigation, greenhouse),
cultivar requirements (vegetables, herbs,
flowers, fruits), pest and disease consid-
erations, and marketing. Both garden
and field-scale production are included.
The application deadline is December 5,
1991; tuition is US$1500.00. Two
tuition waivers are offered annually to
minority/systematically disadvantaged
individuals. For further information,
contact Apprenticeship, Box A,
Agroecology Program, University of
California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA;
telephone: (408) 459-2321.

Introducing...Honey Bee

Honey Bee is an informal newsletter
published in India that focuses on
creativity, innovation, and experimenta-
tion of farmers, laborers, and artisans.
The newsletter should be of interest to
anthropologists and rural sociologists
studying indigenous knowledge in
agrarian life and the development of
appropriate institutions for rural
development in India and other
developing countries.
Honey Bee is edited and published by
Anil K. Gupta, who encourages contribu-
tions about farmers' knowledge and
practices from all over the world.
Professor Gupta may be contacted at:
Centre for Management in Agriculture,
Indian Institute of Management,
Vastrapur, Ahmedabad-380 015, India.


Association for Women in
Development (AWID), Fifth
International Forum

The theme of thel991 International
Forum is "Learning Together/Working
Together: A South-North Dialogue." The
Forum has three main emphases: to
highlight the unique experience and
learning of practitioners, those who are
involved in the day-to-day front-line
struggle to transform women's lives; to
connect women from the Southern and
Northern hemispheres working on
similar issues; and to encourage interna-
tional organizing around these issues.
AWID has a continuing commitment to
promoting a trialogue between practitio-

ners, scholars, and policymakers.
The Forum will be held at the Omni
Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.,
from November 21 to 24, 1991. Early
registration is advised. For more
information, contact AWID Registration,
Kansas State University, 141 College
Court Building, Manhattan, KS 66506-
6015, USA; telephone: (913) 532-5569;
FAX: (913) 532-5637.

Agronomy/Crop Science/
Soil Science Meetings

The American Society of Agronomy
(ASA), the Crop Science Society of
America (CSSA), and the Soil Science
Society of America (SSSA) will hold their
annual meetings in Denver, Colorado,
from October 27 to November 1, 1991.
In addition to the professional meetings,
a number of social functions, career

workshops, exhibits, and outings in the
Denver area are planned. To register,
write to ASA, CSSA, SSSA, Attn: 1991
Annual Meetings, 677 S. Segoe Road,
Madison, WI 53711-1086, USA.

Agricultural Research and
Education Conference

The Agricultural Research Institute of
the College of Agriculture, University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is hosting
a conference on Participatory On-Farm
Research and Education for Agricultural
Sustainability. The meeting will be held
in Champaign, Illinois, from July 30 to
August 1, 1992. For more information,
contact Dr. John M. Gerber, Assistant
Director, UI Agricultural Experiment
Station, 211 Mumford Hall, 1301 W.
Gregory Dr., Urbana, IL 61801, USA;
telephone: (217) 244-4232.


The following is a list of newsletters that
are of potential interest to AFSRE
members. Addresses and prices are
included where available.
Alterative Agriculture News. Monthly.
Published by the Institute for Alternative
Agriculture, Inc., 9200 Edmonston Rd.,
Suite 117, Greenbelt, MD 20770, USA.
US$15.00 (tax-deductible).
ARINewsletter. Monthly. Published
by the Agricultural Research Institute,
9650 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD
20814, USA.
ASEAN Food Handling Newsletter.
Published by the ASEAN Food Handling
Bureau for the Food Handling Project,
initiated by the ASEAN-Australia
Economic Cooperation Program, Level
3, G15 & G15, Damansara Town Centre,
50490 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Centerpoint. Twice year. Published by
the Asian Vegetable Research and
Development Center (AVRDC), Office of
Publications and Communications, P.O.
Box 205, Taipei 10099, Taiwan.
CIKARD News. Quarterly. Published
by the Center for Indigenous Knowledge
for Agriculture and Rural Development
(CIKARD), Technology and Social
Change Program, Iowa State University,
318 Curtiss Hall, Ames, IA 50011, USA.

CommuNicAtor. Twice a year. Pub-
lished by the Council on Nutritional
Anthropology (CNA) of the American
Anthropological Association, 1703 New
Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington,
D.C. 20009, USA. US$10.00.
Culture and Agriculture. Three times
per year. Published by the Culture and
Agriculture Group of the American
Anthropology Association in coopera-
tion with the Office of Arid Lands
Studies, The University of Arizona, 845
N. Park Ave., Tucson, AZ 85719, USA.
US$10.00 for individual subscriptions.
The DESFIL Newsletter. Quarterly.
Published by the Development Strategies
for Fragile Lands (DESFIL) Project, 624
Ninth Street NW, Sixth Floor, Washing-
ton, D.C. 20001, USA.
FMIS Newsletter of the Farmer Managed
Irrigation Systems Network. Quarterly.
Published by the International Irrigation
Management Institute, P.O. Box 2075,
Colombo, Sri Lanka.
ILEIA Newsletter. Quarterly. Published
by the Information Centre for Low-
External-Input and Sustainable Agricul-
ture (ILEIA), Kastanjelaan 5, P.O. Box 64,
3830 AB Leusden, The Netherlands.
US$12.50 for students and those in

developing countries; US$25.00 for all
On-Farm Research Notes. Published by
the Farm and Resource Management W
Institute, Visayas State College of
Agriculture, 6521-A Baybay, Leyte,
Organic Farmer: The Digest ofSustain-
able Agriculture. Quarterly. Published by
Rural Vermont, 15 Barre Street, Montpe-
lier, VT 05602, USA. US$10.00.
Seedhead News. Quarterly. Published
by Native Seeds/SEARCH, 2509 North
Campbell Avenue #325, Tucson, AZ
85719, USA. US$10.00.
Sustainable Agriculture News. Quar-
terly. Published by the Sustainable
Agriculture Research and Education
Program, University of California, Davis,
CA 95616, USA.
The Tiller's Report. Quarterly. Pub-
lished by Tiller's International, 5239
South 24th Street, Kalamazoo, MI
49002-2109, USA. US$10.00 for US
subscriptions; US$15.00 for other
Upward. Published by the User's
Perspective with Agricultural Research
and Development (UPWARD), Interna-
tional Potato Center (CIP), P.O. Box 933,
Manila, Philippines. Free of charge.

FSRE and the

*Two Examples From
the Dominican Republic

by Thoric Cederstr6m'

Since its inception, FSRE has paid
particularly close attention to the
constraints facing small-scale farmers
and has capitalized on their inherent
strengths. Small-scale managers
throughout the developing world face
precarious ecological conditions,
undercapitalized produce and credit
markets, inadequate infrastructural
development, and intermittent technical
assistance. On the other hand, these
same farmers draw upon a virtual
treasure-house of resources that are
often not available to large-scale com-
mercial producers. Intimate knowledge
of the local agroecosystem, stores of
pest-resistant seeds genetically adapted
throughout the centuries, time-tested
management strategies, and reciprocal
labor exchanges allow these farmers to
survive and sometimes even to prosper
in otherwise marginalized regions.
Over the past two decades, propo-
nents of FSRE methodology have
championed the cause of building upon
and within existing farming systems.
New technologies and management
strategies are developed and tested
within the context of the farming
household. Extensive studies of farming
strategies are advocated prior to the
introduction of exotic inputs
(Frankenberger 1991). Likewise, farming
systems researchers must be culturally
sensitive to local tastes and customs.
While such successes must be recognized
and applauded, I wish to address an
equally important variable in the
agricultural development process-the
Extensionists are the men and
women in the trenches of agricultural
development, struggling to implement
national policy mandates to increase

Bureau of Applied Research in Anthro-
pology, The University of Arizona, Tucson.

production under conditions of limited
budgets, understaffed programs, and, in
some cases, short-sighted administrators.
Through their years of first-hand
experience, they have acquired in-depth
knowledge of local problems and
potentials. Local farmers know and trust
them. Often times, extensionists have
already conducted extensive field trials
of various cultivars and know which are
locally adapted, pest-resistant, and most
productive. In this situation, local-level
extensionists are a "natural" resource for
any agricultural development project.
Unfortunately, many international
development projects fail to recognize
the local extensionists as an invaluable
and integral component of long-term
success. The following examples from a
garden project in the Dominican
Republic illustrate this point.

The state of Oviedo is in the far western
extreme of the Dominican Republic,
bordering Haiti. Due to its location in
the rain shadow of the central moun-
tains, the area receives little precipita-
tion, and semiarid to arid climatic
conditions prevail. Farming, conse-
quently, is sub-subsistence. Poverty
abounds. Government programs have
attempted to alleviate the more visible
evidence of these miserable conditions
by constructing housing, installing
potable water systems, and providing
basic health services. Improving the
productivity of small-scale farmers,
however, has proven to be more prob-
lematic for government agencies used to
operating on a grander scale.
The immediate objectives of the
garden project were to test vegetable
varieties appropriate to the Oviedo
region and to train rural residents in the
best ways to grow them. The long-term
goals focus on diversifying the local diet
in order to improve the notoriously low
nutrition levels. The Terra Nova
Foundation, a nongovernmental
organization with a great deal of
development experience in the area, and
the Instituto Nacional de Algod6n
(INDA; the National Cotton Institute)
collaborated in project design and
implementation. They assigned

extensionists trained in agronomy at the
national agricultural university to
manage the implementation of the
project. International volunteers with
expertise in arid-lands gardening were
requested through the Farmer-to-Farmer
Program (administered by the Bureau of
Applied Research in Anthropology at the
University of Arizona) to assist in
teaching villagers how to grow veg-
etables, to aid in establishing commu-
nity and school gardens, and to help
with experiments. The interaction of
the project agronomist/extensionists
and the international volunteer consult-
ants illustrates the importance of a
Farming Systems approach, not only at
the farmer level, but also at the
extensionist level.
Two Farmer-to-Farmer volunteers
were sequentially assigned to the
project, each for a three-month period.
Assignments did not overlap. Both were
females, approximately the same age,
reasonably fluent in Spanish, and
experienced in the Third World. Both
volunteers shared a similar agricultural
philosophy of sustainability and a
common academic background in
applied anthropology. Part of their
work in Oviedo included establishing
community and school gardens and
teaching local residents and school
children how to grow vegetables. Their
efforts in this regard were highly
successful, and, according to project
evaluations, local farmers praised them
for their help. Their secondary duties
were to assist local agronomist/
extensionists in vegetable trials at the
experiment station. Here the volunteers
met with completely different results:
one was highly successful in introducing
new, desert-adapted varieties and low-
input cultivation techniques, while the
other had her ideas and efforts rejected
by the project agronomists.
Just as a FSRE methodology stresses
the need to understand how farmers
think and act, so must project managers
understand how extensionists think and
act. In the case of the Oviedo project,
two of the project agronomists were
actually local residents who had gone on
to study at the national university, while
the other came from an urban back-
ground. All had invested years of hard
work in acquiring their advanced

degrees and obviously felt a certain pride
in their accomplishments. Part of their
training involved rigorous instruction
on the identification of appropriate
cultivars through meticulous experimen-
tal trials. These trials were conducted
according to very specific guidelines.
Equally important, years of experience
in the Oviedo region gained from living
and working there gave them an
intimate knowledge of the agro-
ecosystem that few could imitate. As
long-time residents of the area, familial
and social ties with farming households
have created a myriad of relationships
with and responsibilities to local
residents. Into this complex web of
social networks and technological
expertise walked two volunteers,
relatively ignorant of the situation. The
different approaches chosen by each,
however, meant the difference between
acceptance and rejection of their input.
The first volunteer arrived in Oviedo
and immediately set to work organizing
and teaching villagers. In this she was
highly successful. At the experimental
farm, however, she quickly ran into
trouble. The three project agronomists
had been testing different varieties and
cultivation methods for years and felt
fairly certain which crops and tech-
niques worked best. The volunteer,
however, chose to ignore these previous
efforts and concentrated on initiating
new trials with new soil preparation
techniques and new varieties of vege-
tables brought from the United States.
She used the double-digging technique
for bed preparation, which turns the soil
from deep below up to the surface. The
technique proved highly unsuitable for
the soil conditions of the arid region.
Top soil was at most six inches deep.
The double-digging technique merely
turned up the hard, rocky layer and
buried the scarce organic matter beyond
the reach of the roots of the plants. In
fact, the agronomists method of soil
preparation restricted tilling to the top
six inches of the soil formation. This
not only took advantage of the best soil,
but it saved a lot of back-breaking work.
Next, the volunteer tried to convince
the agronomists of the benefits of
composting. She built several large
compost piles of plant debris and liberal

amounts of goat manure. Due to the
lack of rain and scarce water supplies,
moisture in the compost piles was
insufficient for bacterial action to
decompose them. Consequently, the
piles were never utilized as fertilizer
during the volunteer's stay. The
agronomists' technique was to till aged
manured directly into the trial beds. In
this way, both nitrogen and organic
matter were added in sufficient
amounts. Again, the technique proved
to be more efficient and time-saving
than that advocated by the volunteer.
Not surprisingly, the volunteer reported
having a difficult time working with the
agronomists. She felt that they were
unwilling to consider her ideas and
techniques. Relations were not cordial.
The second volunteer, like the first,
had tremendous success with farmers.
Her experience with the agronomists,
however, was very different. Sensitive to
the need to build upon local farming
traditions, the volunteer applied the
same idea to farmers and extensionists
alike. Instead of assuming that the
agronomists' prior research was trivial or
wrong, she spent the first several weeks
of her assignment learning and studying
what these researchers had accom-
plished over the years. Her willingness
to learn placed her in more collegial role
with her national counterparts, which
established rapport and communication.
During the initial period of observation
and learning, she noticed that the modus
operandi of the extensionists centered
around proper experiments. She also
observed many cultivation and soil
preparation techniques that approxi-
mated her own. At this time, she
suggested a series of collaborative
experiments to test different varieties of
new cultivars under varying conditions
of soil preparation, fertilizers, and water
applications. In this way she accom-
plished her agenda with the full support
of the project extensionists.

The willingness of the local agronomists
to experiment with the ideas and plants
of the second volunteer can be mainly
attributed to that volunteer's willingness
to assume a learning role in relation to

the agronomists. Such a technique has
proven highly successful for farming
systems research with small-scale
farmers. Consequently, it is not surpris-
ing that extensionists respond equally
well to similar treatment. After all, they
also participate in a complex and
sophisticated farming system. The
ideological framework of the
extensionists' farming system derives
from the university-based education.
This education is often far removed from
the needs of regions isolated from the
nation's capital city. Such a philosophi-
cal orientation often emphasizes proper
procedure over practical results. On the
other hand, the flesh and blood of the
extensionists' farming system is com-
prised of the first-hand knowledge these
agronomists have gained through years
of collaborative research in specific
areas. This experience gives them a
second nature that permits rapid
evaluations of new varieties and tech-
nologies. Project managers and interna-
tional consultants would do well to
consider the strengths and limitations of
these vital project personnel. By
adopting a collaborative approach with
local-level extensionists that seeks their
advice at every stage of the developmentO
process, international projects can be
assured a greater degree of long-term

Frankenberger, T.R. 1991. Anthropology and
farming systems research-extension: An
essential contribution to the promotion of
sustainable agriculture. Anthropology
Newsletter 32(6).


In Memoriam: Mark Barrington Lynham

January 2, 1939 -July 31, 1991

Arid lands researchers have lost a valued
friend and colleague. Mark Lynham,
Research Associate with the Office of
Arid Lands Studies, The University of
Arizona, died this summer in Tucson,
Mr. Lynham was born in Kinshasa,
Zaire, where he received his early
schooling. He later attended Dover
College in England and Ecole Cantonale
d'Agriculture, Grange-Verney, in
Switzerland. Twenty years with the
British American Tobacco Company,
Ltd., in capacities ranging from Junior
Leaf Extension Manager to Regional Leaf
Development Manager, intervened
before he took up his studies anew at
The University of Arizona. He earned a
Bachelor of Science in Agricultural
Economics from the University in 1981,
a Master of Science in the same disci-
pline in 1983, and was a doctoral
candidate in Arid Lands Sciences at the
Time of his death.
Mr. Lynham's work for British
American Tobacco's Leaf Department
took him to the United Kingdom, El

Salvador, Panama, Venezuela, Nigeria,
Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Bangladesh. His
research and consulting work took him
to Venezuela, Mauritania, Senegal, The
Gambia, Burkina Faso, and Madagascar.
As he traveled from post to post, his
advice in matters agricultural was sought
by presidents and their advisers, by
governors and their ministers, and by
local villagers.
In Kenya, Mr. Lynham served on
local and regional committees con-
cerned with watershed management,
irrigation development, and rural and
agricultural development. In
Mauritania, as Chief of Party for an AID-
funded project, he developed a working
strategy and a five-year plan for the
Mauritanian national agronomic
research center (CNRADA) and was
charged with institutionalizing Farming
Systems Research-Extension metho-
dology in that country.
Wherever he traveled, he worked
with local farming communities to
spread the word about sustainable
agricultural methods in arid lands; he

conducted laboratory and on-farm
research, established extension pro-
grams, and organized reforestation
projects. Always, his eye was on the
Somehow, he managed to pursue a
full personal life, too, finding time to
paint, to sculpt, to make photographs,
to talk late into the night of ideas and
On May 19, 1964, he married Glenna
Jean Schuler of St. Paul, Minnesota. She
and their children, Karl and Kirsten,
survive him. They have asked that
anyone wishing to honor Mr. Lynham's
memory in a tangible way contribute to
the Mark Lynham Endowment Fund for
African Students at The University of
Arizona, by making a check payable to
The University of Arizona Foundation/
Agriculture/Lynham Fund.
All contributions should be sent C/O
R.P. Upchurch, College of Agriculture,
The University of Arizona, Forbes 325,
Tucson, AZ 85721, USA.

The AFSRE Newsletter is supported by a U.S. AID-supported grant (58-319R-9-003) from the Office of International
Cooperation and Development, United States Department of Agriculture; the Office of International Programs, Institute
of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida; contributions from AFSRE members; Title XII funding; and the
Office of Arid Lands Studies, The University of Arizona. The editors welcome articles, news items, and publication
announcements for consideration in future issues.

Address comments, contributions, and requests for mailing to:

Timothy R. Frankenberger, Editor
Association of Farming Systems Research-Extension Newsletter
Office of Arid Lands Studies
The University of Arizona
845 N. Park Avenue
Tucson, Arizona 85719, USA
FAX: (602) 621-3816

Associate Editors:
Daniel M. Goldstein and
Nancy Schmidt
Design: Arid Lands Design, 1991

E association for Farming Systems Research-Extension Newsletter
Office of Arid Lands Studies, The University of Arizona
845 North Park Avenue, Tucson, Arizona 85719 USA
Telephone: 602-621-1955, FAX: 602-621-3816

Membership Information

Please send membership fees (US$40 for persons from the United States, Canada, western Europe, Japan, Australia, and New
Zealand; US$20 for students studying in these countries; US$20 for all other persons; and US$10 for associate members from
developing countries) along with the completed form to:

Dr. Timothy J. Finan, Secretary/Treasurer
Department of Anthropology
The University of Arizona
Tucson, Arizona 85721 USA


1. Family name

2. First name and middle name or initial_

3 Female

M alp

A ao

ezitiC nshi

4. Title or position

5. Department

6. Institution

7. Postal mailing address

8. Telephone Fax Telex

9. Primary languages)

10. Other spoken languages (indicate fluent, f, proficient, p, basic, b)

11. Other languages read

12. Highest educational degree Discipline

13. Current professional interests

14. Experience: Name of project, capacity, country

15. Would you like to volunteer to serve as an AFSRE country representative to collect association dues in local currency and
forward them, in US dollars, to the treasurer if you can legally do this in your country of residence?_

a!-g6 _11--.1 ...pE

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