Theories and methodologiesBy Marie Chizallet, Lorène Prost, Flore Barcellini
Faced with numerous challenges, agriculture needs to change. Agroecology, a way of farming that relies on localized ecological and biological regulations, is a promising option. It requires a transformation of the work of farmers, seen no longer as users of turnkey solutions proposed by R&D actors, but as the actual designers of their production systems. How can this design activity be characterized? This article provides an understanding of the design problems and activity performed by farmers engaged in agroecological transitions and supported by a method called the Chronicle of Change. We provide an overview of the diversity of interrelated and more or less structured design problems facing farmers, showing that agroecological transitions involve a systemic transformation of work. We then analyze at a micro level the farmers’ actual design activity, through navigation in the real, designable and virtual dimensions. Finally, we discuss the means and challenges to be taken up to support such a design activity.