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Do inspection practices in organic agriculture serve organic values? A case study from Finland

Seppänen, Laura and Helenius, Juha (2004) Do inspection practices in organic agriculture serve organic values? A case study from Finland. Agriculture and Human Values, 21 (1), pp. 1-13.

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Online at: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023%2FB%3AAHUM.0000014021.76147.7d


In many European countries, organic agriculture has rapidly been transformed from a farmers' movement to an institutionalized part of agricultural policy. In certification, compliance with published organic standards is verified through annual inspections on farms. In Finland, the role of advice in organic inspections has been the subject of debate. Two inspections are used here to show how the term organic was defined and what the role of advice in relation to compliance was. Both compliance and advisory types of interaction between the inspector and the farmer were identified along an axis from “input substitution” to “system redesign.” The findings illustrate the heterogeneity of the processes and definitions of the term organic in connection with inspections. System redesign was less obvious in compliance than items in inspection documents suggest. The physical surroundings and the methods used affect inspection practices. Institutionalization is not merely negative, but may also provide resources for system redesign. Whether advice is part of a new and emerging way of enforcing inspections is considered. The findings suggest that dialogue and negotiation are necessary in promoting system redesign and in enhancing the developmental functions of organic inspections.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Agrovoc keywords:
EnglishOrganic agriculturehttp://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_15911
EnglishAdvisory serviceshttp://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_8631
Englishinstitutional developmenthttp://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_9000085
Subjects: Food systems > Policy environments and social economy
Knowledge management > Education, extension and communication
Values, standards and certification > Regulation
Research affiliation: Finland > Univ. Helsinki
Deposited By: Rasmussen, Ilse Ankjær
ID Code:23330
Deposited On:20 Sep 2013 05:48
Last Modified:20 Sep 2013 05:48
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted
Additional Publishing Information:Online ISSN: 1572-8366

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