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Participatory organic certification in Mexico: an alternative approach to maintaining the integrity of the organic label


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  • Erin Nelson


  • Laura Gómez Tovar
  • Rita Schwentesius Rindermann
  • Manuel Gómez Cruz
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    Over the past two decades the growth of the organic sector has been accompanied by a shift away from first party, or peer review, systems of certification and towards third party certification, in which a disinterested party is responsible for the development of organic standards and the verification of producer compliance. This paper explores some of the limitations of the third party certification model and presents the case of Mexico as an example of how an alternative form of participatory certification has emerged. The paper suggests that participatory guarantee systems (PGS) are reflective of the growing “beyond organic” movement, which focuses on reconstructing the local and re-embedding food systems into their socio-ecological contexts. It argues that PGS offers a number of benefits for producers and consumers, particularly in the South, but that it faces a number of challenges as well, such as a lack of formal recognition, social conflicts and dependence on donated resources. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Agriculture and Human Values.

    Volume (Year): 27 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 2 (June)
    Pages: 227-237

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    Handle: RePEc:spr:agrhuv:v:27:y:2010:i:2:p:227-237

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    Keywords: Certification; Mexico; Organic agriculture; Participatory guarantee systems;


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    1. Harriet Friedmann, 2007. "Scaling up: Bringing public institutions and food service corporations into the project for a local, sustainable food system in Ontario," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 389-398, September.
    2. Timothy Vos, 2000. "Visions of the middle landscape: Organic farming and the politics of nature," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 245-256, September.
    3. Patricia Allen & Martin Kovach, 2000. "The capitalist composition of organic: The potential of markets in fulfilling the promise of organic agriculture," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 221-232, September.
    4. David Goodman, 2000. "Organic and conventional agriculture: Materializing discourse and agro-ecological managerialism," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 215-219, September.
    5. Laura Raynolds, 2000. "Re-embedding global agriculture: The international organic and fair trade movements," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 297-309, September.
    6. Tad Mutersbaugh, 2005. "Fighting standards with standards: harmonization, rents, and social accountability in certified agrofood networks," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 37(11), pages 2033-2051, November.
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