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Organic FuturesStruggling for Sustainability on the Small Farm$
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Connor J Fitzmaurice and Brian J. Gareau

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300199451

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300199451.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM YALE SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.yale.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Yale University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in YSO for personal use.date: 23 October 2019

Why Supermarket Organic Matters

Why Supermarket Organic Matters

Chapter:
(p.62) Three Why Supermarket Organic Matters
Source:
Organic Futures
Author(s):

Connor J. Fitzmaurice

Brian J. Gareau

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300199451.003.0004

In 2000, a radical shift occurred in the organic food system: the majority of organic food in the United States began to be sold in ordinary supermarkets. This chapter examines how the regulatory focus on chemical inputs facilitated the fragmentation and homogenization of organic farming, yielding a conventionalized organic industry capable of delivering food at a supermarket-sized scale. It also examines how these processes limit organic agriculture’s potential to represent a sustainable solution to the problems of modern food systems. This chapter begins with a discussion of what environmental, social, and economic sustainability in the food system would entail. It then examines the concentration of industrial influence in the organic sector in the wake of the federal organic standards, and looks critically at whether industrial organic practices can meet the challenges of sustainability. Finally, the chapter points to theories of bifurcation, which examine structural positions within capitalist agriculture that may offer spaces for alternative farming practices, particularly in places like New England. This chapter also notes, however, that such approaches focus on the political economy of agriculture, leaving the relational strategies alternative farmers use to take advantage of such structural holes unexplored.

Keywords:   Supermarket, Conventionalization, Fragmentation, Homogenization, Sustainability, Industry Concentration, Bifurcation

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