The work of women on organic farms: A gendered analysis

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MacEachern, Alexandra Bryn

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University of Guelph


The literature focused on the lives of conventional farm families is extensive. However, with the exception of one comprehensive study, there is minimal academic literature dedicated to the lives of organic farm families. This research focuses on gender relations on organic farms. The research question is: do men and women on organic farms have an equitable and non-traditional gendered division of labour and do they share equally in the decision making process? I conducted fourteen in-depth interviews with organic farm women in heterosexual relationships. Patriarchy, the exchange bargaining model, and the subsistence perspective were utilized as my frameworks. This research found that organic farm families follow a traditional division of labour, however, spouses share equally in all farm related decisions. Examining gender relations on organic farms will determine if organic farms are socially beneficial which in turn can be promoted alongside the environmental benefits to increase the well-being of Canadians.



organic farm families, gender relations, organic farms, decision making process, division of labour