By Julie Guthman
In an period of escalating foodstuff politics, many think natural farming to be the agrarian solution. during this first accomplished research of natural farming in California, Julie Guthman casts doubt at the present knowledge approximately natural foodstuff and agriculture, no less than because it has developed within the Golden kingdom. Refuting well known portrayals of natural agriculture as a small-scale kinfolk farm pastime against "industrial" agriculture, Guthman explains how natural farming has replicated what it got down to oppose.
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Additional info for Agrarian Dreams: The Paradox of Organic Farming in California (California Studies in Critical Human Geography, 11)
15 Finally, the new agrarianism, like all agrarian populism, is deeply suspicious of state intervention, does not question the individuation of markets, and, most fundamentally, remains a defense of private property (Brass 1997). So, deeply suspect of scientiﬁc and bureaucratic rationality precisely for its effect on the social aspects of farming, the agrarianist social vision could be construed as deeply conservative. Yet, these last qualities are exactly what has made it so attractive to the organic farming movement.
As table 1 shows, average acreage increased considerably. In fact, CCOF’s top ﬁve growers farmed well over ten thousand acres combined in 1995 (CCOF 1995b). The commodities showing the most dramatic increases in acreage at the time were salad mix, wine grapes, and cotton (Klonsky and Tourte 1995), all of which were dominated by a handful of growers. This rapid growth is corroborated by reports of the Natural Food Merchandiser, which reported persistent increases of more than 20 percent in organic sales in the years between 1989 and 1994 (Mergentime and Emerich 1995), although these ﬁgures represent nationwide retail sales, which really is a horse of a different color.
Hoping to capture the superproﬁts associated with high-value crops but stay with something they knew, citrus growers moved into varietals such as blood oranges and Meyer lemons; apple growers, into the new Asian varietals such as Fujis; and rice growers, into exotics such as basmati, arborio, and wild rice (which, of course, is not really rice). So, beginning in the mid-1980s, the quest for higher-value production became the most common motivation for attempting organic production. One grower saw others, as he put it, “pulling the handle,” as if the money to be made were as easy as winning at a slot machine.
Agrarian Dreams: The Paradox of Organic Farming in California (California Studies in Critical Human Geography, 11) by Julie Guthman