Cultivated in the past: historical legacies of agricultural practices and policies aims to promote a dialogue about the past and present of agricultural systems by convening and stimulating the deepening of knowledge on the history of practices and agriculture in Portugal in order to contribute to the fulfilment of the mission and objectives of the CULTIVAR programme in its commitment to the future.
The research project focuses on various subjects in the field of agricultural practices, having as time limits the end of the 19th century, approximately from the year 1890, and the accession of Portugal to the EEC in 1986, these time barriers not being insurmountable.
The first phase will proceed to the identification and characterisation of bibliography and documentary funds available for the period in question, with a view to drawing up a bibliographical guide and sources. The libraries of the Instituto Superior de Agronomia (ISA) and of the Direcção Geral da Agricultura e Desenvolvimento Rural (DGADR) will be the main bases for this survey, together with some private libraries that belonged to “former” farmers/owners and are currently in the possession of their descendants. This survey of agricultural publications in private libraries ends up allowing the identification of protagonists and the history associated with the sector.
We will also take into account the public policies – characterizing them – that have determined agronomic choices and local interlocutors, considering the national and municipal legislative plan, as well as the models of governance, implementation and training. It is in this sense that the integration and role of regional agricultural schools are important to understand the affirmation of the horticultural sector, as well as the practices associated with land use, irrigation systems, agrochemicals, and the role of producer organizations themselves.
A series of interviews will also be carried out, recording the personal and family memories of some of the protagonists, with the aim not only of raising awareness of the aid of memory in the dissemination of knowledge, but also of contributing to the development of the project and the publication of results in the context of all this research associated with the history of production systems, with emphasis on the origin of the ranks that are now consolidated in the region and their protagonists.