Why do some chemical farmers resist a profitable conversion to organic methods? A new study in the Journal of Marketing suggests it may be because making that change feels like switching belief systems.
“The ideological map of American agriculture reveals an unfolding drama between chemical and organic farming,” write authors Melea Press (University of Bath), Eric Arnould (Southern Denmark University), Jeff Murray (University of Arkansas) and Katherine Strand (McGill University). “Chemical farmers argue that to make money, one must follow chemical traditions; when organic farmers make more money, it seems “wrong.”
The authors looked at chemical and organic wheat farmers of the American plains to see which crop production strategies they used, and why. They found that, as predicted, both chemical and organic farmers often gave passionate, belief-based reasons for their choices, and clearly felt that their beliefs were in competition.
Watch it 9pm Tuesday November 18, on the Documentary Channel.
Jesse Sandhu (right) is the scion of a successful South Asian family farm. Unlike typical Indo-Canadian children, Jesse did not lose interest in the farming lifestyle once he was old enough to leave the family home, instead he made the decision to attend Simon Fraser University where he learnt a great deal about business. Jesse’s family now runs a very successful business and the Jind Family Farm will hopefully flourish with generations to come.
In its journey across the majestic Canadian countryside, The Family Farm explores the diverse agricultural pursuits of earnest farm families, and serves as a window into the small-scale food production process that modern day consumers have become estranged from.
The film begins in Nova Scotia with egg farmer, Aaron Hiltz, who was confronted by the provincial egg board and asked to get rid of the majority of his flock. Hiltz’s story highlights the issues many farmers face and the flaws associated with what he considers an outdated system. The Morgan farm crew of Quebec draw attention to another issue, land cost and inaccessibility, that many young, budding farmers encounter and discuss their proposed solutions to these problems. On the other side of the country, organic farming pioneer, Raymond Loo discloses his dream of creating a chemical-free Prince Edward Island, full of clean, organic food and demonstrates how his farm serves as a stepping stone towards realizing this goal. The exploitative side farming is also exposed through Manitoba farmer, Carlyle Jorgensen’s retellings of his experience working with an oil company who dug a well on his prime farmland despite his disapproval.
A season spent shadowing these individuals in addition to other farm families reveals the key role they play in sustaining traditional farm knowledge, promoting environmental stewardship and maintaining food security. As 2014 marks the International Year of Family Farming, The Family Farm focuses on imbuing the importance of understanding where our food comes from and emphasizes the crucial role family farms play in ensuring the survival and well-being of local communities and environments.
Thanks to an Emerald Way sponsorship from The Big Carrot, the Eco-Scholar program, first run in 2004, is back!
If you are a registered student at a high school, community college or university (undergrad or grad), you are strongly encouraged to apply.
The Guelph Organic Conference runs from January 29th to February 1st, 2015, in the Guelph University Centre. Founded in 1982 by students, the Guelph Organic Conference has become Canada’s leading grassroots organic marketing show with a free 2-day Organic Expo featuring over 150 exhibitors. There is also an impressive list of over 60 speakers whose messages are targeted at progressive producers, entrepreneurial processors and motivated consumers.
The deadline for applications to be considered is December 22nd.
For more information please click here.