Roots of History, Seeds of Change: Women Organic Farmers & Environmental Health in Jamaica

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Harris, Laila Zahra
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University of Guelph

This research seeks to address the gap in the literature on women, health, and environments by exploring the factors that motivate Jamaican women farmers to practice organic agriculture and how these might relate to their understandings of environment and health. The experiences and decisions of women farmers are also positioned within wider historical contexts of colonialism and agricultural change. Integrating a variety of theoretical frameworks, including public issues anthropology, ethnoecology, rural sociology, and feminist political ecology, my own scholarly analysis is merged with the perspectives of the women farmers interviewed in this qualitative study. This research found that women organic farmers in Jamaica were motivated by various factors related to environment and health and impacted by the island’s legacy of slavery and industrialization. The findings of this thesis can be used to encourage the practice of organic agriculture and to improve human health and environmental wellbeing in Jamaica and beyond.

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