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Knowledge and precaution. On organic farmers' assessment of new technology

Lassen, Jesper and Oelofse, Myles (2015) Knowledge and precaution. On organic farmers' assessment of new technology. Sociologia Ruralis. [Submitted]

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To avoid the risks of conventionalisation and becoming a modified version of conventional farming, organic farming is under a continuous pressure to reinvent itself by adopting new technologies. This article examines the role of precaution in organic farmers’ assessment of potential new technologies, and how farmer’s assessment draws on different types of knowledge. The article further explores how knowledge type compares to the role of knowledge and precaution set forth in the principles of organic farming by the organic movement (IFOAM). Results from a case study of the introduction of sewage sludge as an alternative – and controversial - source of nutrients in organic agriculture are presented. Empirically, this case study builds on the analysis of five focus groups with Danish organic farmers. While some farmers called for precaution often backed by an observation of lacking knowledge, others trusted the authorities and accepted sewage sludge, provided it is approved for organic use by the authorities. Our analysis suggests that there is a mismatch between the kind of knowledge used by organic farmers when assessing the new technology, drawing heavily on scientific knowledge, and IFOAMs principles, also hailing experiential knowledge.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Agrovoc keywords:
EnglishOrganic agriculturehttp://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_15911
Subjects:"Organics" in general
Knowledge management
Research affiliation: Denmark > Organic RDD 1 > RoCo
Denmark > KU - University of Copenhagen
Deposited By: Lassen, Dr Jesper
ID Code:28537
Deposited On:18 Nov 2015 09:33
Last Modified:07 May 2018 13:49
Document Language:English
Refereed:Submitted for peer-review but not yet accepted

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