Disaggregating local knowledge: The effects of gendered farming practices on soil fertility and soil reaction in SW Hungary
Researchers in conservation agriculture have realized that inclusion of local knowledge of natural resources is an important part of developing a community-based conservation plan. Furthermore, because men and women have different roles in farming, gendered local knowledge has also become valuable. Drawing upon these concepts, this article discusses differences and similarities in gendered soil knowledge in SW Hungary. The goal of the research was to document gendered knowledge of soil and soil use. Research was conducted in 1998-1999 in a smallholder agriculture-dominated region of Hungary, which included 25 plots in seven villages. Research methods included soil sampling, interviews, and land analysis. It should be noted that researchers met with men and women at different times. Results indicated that men and women both manage and describe soils differently; analysis showed gendered differences in pH, texture, and color. In addition, men described soils based on technical training and production of economic-based crops. Women, on the other hand, describe soils based on traditional knowledge, nutritional value, and for production of garden vegetables. Findings also show that men, because of their technical training in high-nutrient crops, were placing too much fertilizer on women's crops, making them invaluable. The authors conclude that their findings show women and men's access to and control of soils differ because of gender roles and economic purposes.