Understanding the roots of a sense of place in farmlands is crucial for stopping rural exodus to urban areas. Farmers’ experiences related to their way of life, peace and quiet, rootedness, pleasure, and inspiration are fundamental components of a sense of place in farmlands. Here, we used the city of Pereira located in the Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia (CCLC) to examine the role of nature’s contributions to people (NCP) in forming meanings and attachments that shape their sense of place to this region. This region has experienced intense agricultural lands abandonment due to rapid urbanization over the last decades. To do so, a mixture of qualitative and quantitative methods was used, including semi-structured interviews, observation, and dialogue, to capture farmers’ perceptions and emotions associated with farmlands, reasons for remaining, and the diversity of NCPs. Results indicated that farmers recognized farmlands as a quiet and safe space that support family cohesion. Results also showed that the characteristics of the farms (e.g., agricultural practices, distance to cities, and gender) play an important role in articulating a farmer’s attachment to farmlands. Finally, farmers identified nonmaterial NCP (e.g., physical and psychological experiences and supportive identities) to be the most important contributions for shaping their sense of place. We call for the need to include robust and transparent deliberative and negotiation mechanisms that are inclusive of all relevant stakeholders, to aim to address unequal power, and to recognize and strengthen communities’ mechanisms of action on the CCLC.
Keywords: socioecological systems, local identity, rural abandonment, agroecology, world heritage site