The Farmer and the Food Regime: Hegemony and the Free Market Frame in Rural Ontario
This thesis is an investigation into the frames and implicit concepts that drive the current trend of corporate-led agriculture, now known as the Third Food Regime. I consider whether this neoliberal regime is hegemonic in rural Ontario, that is, whether the dominant ideology of the corporate ruling class is reflected in and perpetuated by our farmers, despite it being against their best interests. I employ a critical approach, using mixed methods – participant observation of general farm organizations, content analysis of the farm media in Ontario and in-depth interviews with farmers in Wellington County – and find strong evidence of a free market frame in rural Ontario. This thesis outlines the dimensions and dangers of the existing frame in hopes that alternative agricultural models can again be considered.