The idea of multifunctionality in agriculture started appearing at the beginning of the 1990s, spearheaded by certain countries opposed to the liberalization of agricultural markets. These countries shared a belief that, in addition to food production, agriculture serves a variety of other purposes (economic, social, and environmental) that are important to acknowledge. 

In Quebec, a further argument was advanced regarding the multifunctional character of territories. Proponents of this idea sought to highlight the numerous expectations and land uses associated with the development of rural spaces.   

 

The purpose of these debates was to address the problem of “monofunctionality” in territories stemming from agricultural specialization. They also encouraged a broader reflection on the different ways that agriculture can support territorial development, which can be achieved if the economic, social, and environmental resources that are present and “activated” locally are accounted for.