Connection to MFS and the Sustainable Development Goals

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Background and theoretical connection

In this section, essential information about the context and area of study is presented, in order to produce an explanatory background which facilitates the understanding of the presented results. Concepts that were significant in this field study are also explained and reconnected to later in the following sections, since it creates clarification throughout the study. The theoretical parts accounts for explanations of relevant terms, such as permaculture as a concept and its connection to similar practices. Earlier research is presented in order to produce a picture of the scientific position about the topic and connect its relevance to this study, which is further clarified in the discussion section.

 Definition of concepts and terms


Foreigner is a person who originally is from another country (Utlänning, n.d.). Here, it refers to respondents in the field study who reside in or repeatedly travel to the region of Lake Atitlán in order to establish a living there, therefore focus is not on tourists who makes short visits in the area.

Indigenous Mayans

In this study, indigenous Mayans refers to the majority of people who live around Lake Atitlán, since many of them consider themselves to be indigenous. Originally, Indigenous Mayans, also referred to as Mesoamerican Indians, occupied territory in southern Mexico, Belize and Guatemala where they established their own agriculture system. Contemporary Mayans often live in communities that are organized around central villages, they practice agriculture and especially women wear traditional dresses (Lewis, 2019).

Mayan cosmovision

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Within the Mayan cosmovision, which is the native religion for many Mayans, focus lies on seeing humans as a part of nature instead of separating oneself from it. Mayan cosmovision focuses on developing a way of life that is in balance with nature, in order to enhance the physical, spiritual and physiological well-being of humans (Hegarty, 2015).


Livelihood is a prominent and significant term throughout this field study. Here, the term refers to the assets that are accessible, such as human, physical, financial and natural capital (Fröcklin et al., 2014). The meaning of livelihood to people and what resources that are available to them, differs depending on the specific social and health context in which the livelihood is built (Hanass-Hancock, Misselhorn, Carpenter & Myezwa, 2016).


In order to give a better understanding of permaculture and similar practices, the concept monoculture is described, since it differs from permaculture in practice and methods. When conventional farming is mentioned, it also refers to and include monoculture farming.Practicing monoculture means focusing the production to one single crop, where some common examples are coffee,cocoa and cotton. When different pests live on the actual crop and propagates, the need for chemical pesticides increases (Granström & Häggström, n.d.)

1. Introduction
1.1. Aim and research questions
1.2. Connection to MFS and the Sustainable Development Goals
1.2.1. SDG 2: Zero Hunger
1.2.2. SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production
2. Background and theoretical connection 
2.1. Definition of concepts and terms
2.2. Historical and cultural context
2.3. Study area of Lake Atitlán
2.4. Concepts related to sustainable farming
2.5. Permaculture
2.5.1. Permaculture principles
2.5.2. Permaculture ethics & design principles
2.6. Previous research about permaculture and agroecology
3. Method 
3.1. Semi-structured interviews 
3.2. Ethnographic research and participant observation 
3.3. Data collection and processing
3.3.1. Generation of themes and subthemes
3.4. The roles of the researchers 
3.5. Ethical guidelines 
3.6. Selection process
4. Results 
4.1. Livelihoods
4.1.1. Increased own food production and healthy living
4.1.2. Financial conditions
4.2. Community empowerment
4.2.1 Self-sufficiency
4.2.2. Knowledge sharing
4.3. Ecological development
4.3.1. Methods when practicing permaculture
4.3.2. Improvements in the area
4.4. Limitations and challenges
4.4.1. Social structures and attitudes
4.4.2. Access to resources
5. Discussion
5.1. Social and ecological development
5.2. Different challenges and emerged strategies 
5.3. Our contribution
5.4. Suggestions for future research
6. Conclusion 
Appendix: Interview guide 

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