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Socio-cultural processes behind the differential distribution of organic farming in Denmark - a case study

Risgaard, Marie-Louise; Frederiksen, Pia and Kaltoft, Pernille (2007) Socio-cultural processes behind the differential distribution of organic farming in Denmark - a case study. Agriculture and Human Values, 24 (4), pp. 445-459.

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Summary

Conversion to organic farming, along with driving forces and barriers, has been explored intensively during the past decade, while studies on localization and impacts of local socio-cultural processes on conversion to and diffusion of organic farming have been scarce. Concentrations of organic farms in Denmark have been identified at the county level, and moreover there appeared to be large within-county variation in the density of organic farms. The present study explores the local aspects of conversion to organic farming and the factors that may help explain the variations in density and distribution of organic farms within smaller areas. The study is based on nine qualitative interviews with organic farmers from two neighboring areas, referred to as “mainland” and “island”. Three farms were situated in the high-density area (mainland) and the remaining six in the low-density area (island). Furthermore, five advisors with connections to the area provided information on their local experiences and perceptions. Three main issues – to some extent interacting – are discussed: The first is price of land, related to local scarcity of land in the context of structural development and the effects of agricultural policies. The second is distance – both physical and mental. Cooperation and exchange of experiences among organic farmers was frequent on the mainland side, while isolation and lack of interaction was more common for the island farmers. Thirdly, the role of the advisory service and the existence of “champion farmers” are important: pioneer farmers on the mainland have been supported by committed advisors, while lack of organic “champion farmers” and low priority granted to organic farming among advisors, were found on the island.

Summary translation

Casestudiet bekræfter at spredning af økologisk jordbrug i et lokalområde påvirkes af forskellige interagerende faktorer, hvor tilstedeværelsen af forskellige foregangsmænd, naboeffekt og rådgivningen spiller en vigtig rolle. Selv om disse faktorer kan fremstå som lokalt betingede – og derfor bundet til den aktuelle situation i Thy og på Mors – kan nogle af dem betragtes som værende generelt anvendelige for lignende studier. For det første udgør det sociale miljø på omlægningstidspunktet basis for hvorvidt en lokal spredning finder sted eller ej, i og med at sådanne situationer åbner op for om pionerer bliver til foregangsmænd og om ”ildsjæle” rådgiverne har landmænd at opmuntre. Dernæst lader det til at samspillet mellem bedriftstyper spiller en rolle, hvor tilstedeværelsen af forskellige bedriftstyper afstedkommer andre processer end ens eller samarbejdende bedrifter. Således er naboeffekt ikke kun afhængig af den fysiske afstand mellem bedrifter, men måske endnu mere vigtigt af selve bedriftstypen. Og sluttelig kan jordpriser virke som en begrænsende faktor for omlægning og/eller udvidelse af økologiske bedrifter, grundet de strengere harmonikrav og lavere udbytte fra planteproduktion sammenlignet med konventionelt landbrug.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Localization, spatial diffusion, organic farming, socio-cultural processes
Subjects:"Organics" in general
Research affiliation: Denmark > DARCOF II (2000-2005) > III.5 Nature quality in organic farming
Deposited By: Risgaard, Cand.agro. Marie-Louise
ID Code:8520
Deposited On:23 May 2006
Last Modified:09 Aug 2012 12:54
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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