Exploring the Links between Proximity to Markets and Farm Type in Ontario: a Case Study Analysis of the Potential Impacts of Globalization on Farm Sustainability
This study documented how the impacts of globalization are experienced at the individual farm level and explored the potential implications that these experiences may have for on-farm sustainability. I selected 12 farms based on how they were exposed to global markets (determined by the distance from urban markets and whether the farm was oriented towards fresh or processed markets). Using interview and statistical census data, I explored the lived experiences and perceptions of farmers concerning the drivers for, and the nature of ecological, economic and social change amongst vegetable farms in Ontario. Amongst the many individual findings, three dominant themes stand out: (1) how globalization has affected the processing industry (economic sustainability) (2) how globalization affects crop diversity (ecological sustainability) and; (3) how globalization affects farmers’ autonomy (social sustainability). When these themes are viewed together they can be categorized by productivist and post-productivist stages of agriculture. These definitions can help characterize common findings (trends) that will likely influence on-farm management strategies and determine the implications these trends may have on sustainability.