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Organic agriculture and ecological justice: ethics and practice


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Alrøe, Hugo Fjelsted; Byrne, John and Glover, Leigh (2006) Organic agriculture and ecological justice: ethics and practice. In: Halberg, Niels; Alrøe, Hugo Fjelsted; Knudsen, Marie Trydeman and Kristensen, Erik Steen (Eds.) Global Development of Organic Agriculture: Challenges and Prospects. CABI Publishing, Wallingford, United Kingdom, chapter 3, pp. 75-112.

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Ecological justice is a challenging concept in relation to the current development of agriculture, because it positions social and ecological interests against market liberalism and economic growth. Ecological justice concerns fairness with regard to the common environment based on the idea that environments are fundamen-tally shared. This chapter investigates the role that ecological justice may have in relation to the global challenges of organic agriculture. We perform a philoso-phical analysis of the ethics of ecological justice and the relation to sustainability and globalization. On this basis, we discuss the challenges that this important concept poses to organic agriculture and how it can be put into organic practice. Organic agriculture is in an advanced position with regard to ecological justice, since it aims to interact in a positive way with the environment. But ecological justice also poses significant challenges to organic agriculture. The three main challenges are: the commodification of hitherto commons; external environ-mental and social costs that are not accounted for in the market; and growing distances in form of distant trade and ownership in the organic food systems. We conclude that the ideas of ecological justice can be promoted in three ways by means of organic agriculture: by implementing ecological justice more fully in the organic certification standards through incorporating a measure of ‘nearness’ and developing a fair organic trade; by promoting non-certified agriculture based on the organic principles as an alternative development strategy for local sustain-able communities and food security; and by organic agriculture serving as an alternative example for the broader implementation of ecological justice in agri-culture and society.

EPrint Type:Book chapter
Subjects: Food systems
Values, standards and certification
Research affiliation: Denmark > DARCOF II (2000-2005) > V.1 (SYNERGY) Coordination and synergy
Related Links:http://ecowiki.org/GlobalPerspective
Deposited By: Alrøe, PhD Hugo Fjelsted
ID Code:3877
Deposited On:10 Jan 2007
Last Modified:04 Jun 2013 09:24
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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