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How organic farmers view their own practice: results from the Czech Republic

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  • Lukas Zagata

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    Abstract

    This paper addresses the development of organic agriculture in the Czech Republic, which is seen as a success story among post-communist countries. The relatively short history of organic farming and specific contextual factors raises questions about the nature and meaning of Czech organic farming. The goal of this study was to find out how farmers view their own practice, interpret its symbolic value, and construct its content. This empirical study uses Q methodology aimed at the identification of the collectively-shared perspectives belonging engaged actors. Data were gathered through semi-standardized interviews with Czech farmers registered in official organic scheme. The analysis emphasized three components, which are considered as three distinct perspectives possessed by organic farmers; that is, (1) organic farming as a way of life, (2) as an occupation, and (3) as a production of food of an alternative quality compared to conventional food. Each viewpoint entails a different understanding of what organic farming means; each then—when considered together—comprises the meaning of organic agriculture in the Czech Republic. The presented classification of the farmers holding the viewpoints contributes to the ongoing theoretical discussion regarding the nature of the current organic sector, its development and potential conventionalization. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10460-009-9230-9
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    Bibliographic Info

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

    Volume (Year): 27 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 3 (September)
    Pages: 277-290

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    Handle: RePEc:spr:agrhuv:v:27:y:2010:i:3:p:277-290

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    Web page: http://www.springer.com/economics/journal/10460

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    Related research

    Keywords: Conventionalization; Czech Republic; Ecological farming; Motivation; Organic food; Organic movement; Q methodology;

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    1. Henning Best, 2008. "Organic agriculture and the conventionalization hypothesis: A case study from West Germany," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer, vol. 25(1), pages 95-106, January.
    2. Ika Darnhofer & Walter Schneeberger & Bernhard Freyer, 2005. "Converting or not converting to organic farming in Austria:Farmer types and their rationale," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 39-52, 03.
    3. John Fairweather, 1999. "Understanding how farmers choose between organic and conventional production: Results from New Zealand and policy implications," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 51-63, March.
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