The Socioecological Lives of Small-Scale Organic Farmers and Farms: An Exploration of Difference

Hubert, Alyssa
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University of Guelph

Organic farming has often been described as a single unified entity. Further, this unified praxis is often discussed as an alternative approach to agriculture and as a particular social and environmental movement. There has been increasing acknowledgement in academia that there are many different organics, or versions, or knowledges of organic, but what this means to individual farmers and farms remains to be explored. This is the point of departure for this work. This is an interdisciplinary project situated at the intersection of human geography, cultural anthropology, and political science, informed by and engaged with actor-network theory and visual methodologies. My methods include ethnographic participant observation, interviews, and photovoice. For this project I visited 17 small-scale organic farms in southern British Columbia. My findings indicate that different ideas, opinions, and narratives of organic abound, but most importantly that reconciling difference and nostalgia amid vast change was an overwhelming theme for the farmers and farms in this project.

organic, organic movement, British Columbia, actor-network theory, photovoice