Productionism, Sustainable Agriculture, and the Sustainable Agriculture Movement in North and South Carolina
Strickler, Paul Ryan
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This paper examines sustainable agriculture as a multi-faceted response to productionism, or the sole focus on ever-increasing yields that anchors the industrial agriculture system; it also explores the depth and breadth of the sustainable agriculture movement in North and South Carolina. After discussing the short history of industrial agriculture (and its deleterious consequences), the paper explains how the productionist ethic informs the political, social, and cultural discourse on agriculture, as well as the epistemological processes that determine what is good farming or food. The paper then defines a sustainable agriculture ideal; the ideal does not abandon the focus on yield, but incorporates ecological, economic, social justice, and cultural considerations as well. Next, a Programmatic Typology for the sustainable agriculture social movement is presented; as opposed to solely focusing on either policy or market solutions, a successful movement must engage in holistic activism. In the following section, the paper discusses the challenges and opportunities for the sustainable agriculture movement in North and South Carolina, presenting ten brief case studies of organizations within the regions movement. The conclusion explores how the organizations profiled can fit within the multifaceted sustainable agriculture ideal, further discusses possibilities and challenges for the sustainable agriculture movement, and offers suggestions for future research.