Jon Nelson ♦ 2014 Global Scholars Symposium
Title: Bridging the Conventional/Organic Divide
Abstract: The last century saw unprecedented growth in the size and productivity of farms. As issues of sustainability arise, current justifications of that growth have come into question. Farmers serve as the most crucial intermediaries between nature and society. I interviewed a number of organic and conventional farmers to see where they differed on matters of ecological practice and concern. While the organic farmers all held similar views, those farmers I initially termed “conventional” failed to adhere to any one ecological mindset. This suggests that “organic” and “conventional” fail to capture the most important aspects of sustainable agriculture; instead, I propose adopting van der Ploeg’s notion of peasantry as a model for evaluating sustainable agriculture.