Institutionalising Agroecology? Reflections on municipal pastoralism in Spain

Flora Sonkin and Jordan Treakle

In: Urban Agriculture Magazine no 33 - Urban Agroecology, p.58-60 (2017)

The municipality of El Boalo, 60 km north of Spain’s largest city, Madrid, is developing policies and projects that aim to support environmental sustainability and attract young people to work with the land. Using the concept of agroecology, one such project is El Boalo’s municipal goatherd, which is being promoted by the local government as a means to revitalise pastoralist traditions, offer environmental education, promote tourism and foster entrepreneurship. The goal is to boost the local food system and turn the municipality into an example of innovation in environmental sustainability. The initiative is part of the municipality’s local development strategy and new waste management plan. This type of municipal initiative provides valuable insight into the role municipal policy and projects can have in shaping local food systems. But the implementation of this project by a public institution raises several questions, such as: Who is actively involved? Whose interests and needs is the project responding to? And what are the opportunities and challenges of institutionalising agroecology? Through this article, we evaluate this case of institution-led agroecology.


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