versão ISSN 0258-5936
The degrading quality of soils worldwide and an uncertain supply of petroleum-based fertilizers are a threat to global food security. Although research has developed low-input technical solutions to improve soil resource, such technologies are rarely adopted by small farmers in the global south. With the goal of increasing farmer adoption of soil building practices, a case study in the community of San Andrés, Cuba, tested a participatory methodology to explore local knowledge, identify research technologies to meet community needs, and catalyze farmer innovation on the selected technologies. Through qualitative research, the study explored the corpus, praxis, and kosmos that the community held to conceptualize, manage, and make decisions about their soils. Analysis of ethnopedology indicated that although individuals recognized the degrading quality of their soils, and shared a wider goal of long-term land improvement, existing nutrient management strategies were inadequate to satisfy crop needs. Results suggested that introducing new technologies to the community could accelerate the formation of a more appropriate praxis. To satisfy nutrient management needs, green manures, and compost were identified as the technologies best suited to existing production systems. Then, a “soil fertility fair” joined researchers and community members, to experiment with green manures and compost, and evaluate the types most feasible to local conditions. The paper considers the fair as a gateway to sustainable soil management through farmer innovation. To help guide the future design of participatory soil improvement, the paper expounds lessons learned from the research experience with ethnopedology and soil fairs
Palavras-chave : mprovement; community involvement; soil fertility; green manures; compost.