My Perspective on Agroecology

I am an activist scholar in the field of agroecology. Activist scholarship is “the production of knowledge and pedagogical practices through active engagements with, and in the service of, progressive social movements”.1 A commitment to action means that knowledge is “embodied rather than discursive,” and that scholars offer outside knowledge to activists who are already experts in particular realms of knowledge.2 Bridging the worlds of scholars and activists offer unique opportunities for the production of “emancipatory knowledge and pedagogy.” 3

Research Areas

Cropping and farming systems: My scholarship on farming systems takes a holistic approach, and balances theory, history, and practice. Monitoring resilience to climatic variability: Farmers who practice agroecology are developing ways to monitor their progress in designing more climate-resilient systems. Regenerative soil management strategies for urban agriculture: I am part of a research team from UC Berkeley funded by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research to study issues facing urban agriculture in the Bay Area from production to marketing and distribution.

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Institutional Affiliation, Investment, and Location

Journal: Sustainability
Authors: J Arnold and P Rogé
Year: 2018

As urban agriculture (UA) continues to expand in the United States, many practitioners question its continuation in cities with high property values and increased economic incentives for development. Based on surveys with over 56 urban farm managers in California, we identify possible indicators of land tenure insecurity for urban farms. Our analysis finds that urban farms with greater land security have more financial and institutional support, and are located in census tracts with higher economic opportunity.

Possibility or pipedream?

Journal: Experimental Agriculture
Authors: S Snapp, P Rogé, P Okori, R Chikowo, B Peter, and J Messina
Year: 2018

Through review of the literature we find that a substantial number of farmers persist in ‘perennializing’ pigeon pea systems through ratoon management, and sorghum ratoons are widely practiced in Ethiopia. Agronomists and extension recommendations do not acknowledge the existence of ratooning as a management option, nor do crop scientists select for longer-duration growth habit or perennial traits in pigeon pea or in sorghum. Research priorities are the exact opposite.

Dance practice as metaphor for participatory action research

Journal: ACME
Author: P Rogé
Year: 2018

I define improvisatory activist scholarship as attempts to disrupt commonly-held meanings in research through the skilled negotiation of unexpected circumstances and through attention to the circulation of power among collaborators. Metaphors from the dancing of contact improvisation serve as a bridge to highlight improvisational aspects of participatory action research (PAR).

Cajete Maize and Seasonal Maize in San Miguel Huautla

Journal: Agroecología
Authors: P Rogé, AC Ríos, SV Ruiz, P Sánchez, F Mora, MA Altieri, and M Astier
Year: 2017 for a 2016 special edition

To evaluate the sustainability, resilience, and adaptability of farming systems in this region, field visits and participatory workshops were conducted in the territory of San Miguel Huautla in the Mixteca Alta Oaxaqueña. In addition, in-depth interviews and soil samples were made in 10 family units.

Perspectives from agroecology and gendered spaces

Journal: International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability
Authors: P Rogé, T Diarisso, F Diallo, Y Boiré, D Goïta, B Peter, M Macalou, E Weltzien, and S Snapp
Year: 2017

We study the future possibility of integrating perennial grains into Malian farming systems from the perspective of agroecology, and more specifically using a gendered space approach. We interviewed 72 farmers across the sorghum-growing region of Mali.

Journal: Sustainability
Authors: AM Pérez-Marin, P Rogé, MA Altieri, LF Ulloa Forer, L Silveira, VM Oliveira, and BE Domingues-Leiva
Year: 2017

This article explores whether a shift in development paradigm resulted in coexistence with semi-aridity for residents of the Semi-Arid region of Brazil (SAB). If so, which strategies contributed and which conditions facilitated it? We conducted a comparative analysis of the transformations that occurred in 10 territories of the SAB during two time periods: PI (1973–2001) when “development” policies almost exclusively aimed to “combat drought and its effects”; and PII (2002–2016) when a concept of coexistence with semi-aridity informed policy making.

A Review

Journal: Agronomy for Sustainable Development
Authors: P Rogé, S Snapp, MN Kakwera, L Mungai, I Jambo, and B Peter
Year: 2016

Here we review ratooning, as well as the historic role of perennial staple crops in Malawi. Ratooning is a method of harvesting a crop which leaves the roots and the lower parts of the plant uncut to give the ratoon or the stubble crop. This review is completed with interviews with Malawian farmers.

Journal: PLOS ONE
Authors: DA Kane, P Rogé, and S Snapp
Year: 2016

In this review, we compare the development of research on perennial staple crops, including wheat, rice, rye, sorghum, and pigeon pea. We utilized the advanced search capabilities of Web of Science, Scopus, ScienceDirect, and Agricola to gather a library of 914 articles published from 1930 to the present. We analyzed the metadata in the entire library and in collections of literature on each crop to understand trends in research and publishing. In addition, we applied topic modeling to the article abstracts, a type of text analysis that identifies frequently co-occurring terms and latent topics.

Cajete Maize and the Rainfed Farming Systems of Oaxaca, Mexico

Journal: Human Ecology
Authors: P Rogé and M Astier
Year: 2015

We interviewed small farmers to inquire about the dynamics of abandonment and persistence of a traditional management system known as cajete maize. The previous generation had sown cajete maize more extensively across the landscape, but farmers increasingly relegated it to high elevation, frost prone agricultural environments that were less suited for seasonal maize.

A Case Study from the Mixteca Alta Region of Oaxaca, Mexico

Journal: Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems
Authors: P Rogé, AR Friedman, M Astier, and MA Altieri
Year: 2014

This study describes an interdisciplinary methodology for helping small farmers prepare for climatic variability. We facilitated workshops in the Mixteca Alta region of Oaxaca, Mexico, in which groups of small farmers described how they had adapted to and prepared for past climate challenges.