A critical race and class analysis of learning in the organic farming movement

Author/s: Catherine Etmanski

Edition: Volume 52, Number 3, November 2012

Summary: The purpose of this paper is to add to a growing body of literature that critiques the whiteness of the organic farming movement and analyse potential ramifications of this if farmers are to be understood as educators. Given that farmers do not necessarily self-identify as educators, it is important to understand that in raising this critique, this paper is as much a challenge the author is extending to herself and other educators interested in food sovereignty as it is to members of the organic farming movement. This paper draws from the author’s personal experiences and interest in the small-scale organic farming movement. It provides a brief overview of this movement, which is followed by a discussion of anti-racist food scholarship that critically assesses the inequities and inconsistencies that have developed as a result of hegemonic whiteness within the movement. It then demonstrates how a movement of Indigenous food sovereignty is emerging parallel to the organic farming movement and how food sovereignty is directly related to empowerment through the reclamation of cultural, spiritual, and linguistic practices. Finally, it discusses the potential benefits of adult educators interested in the organic farming movement linking their efforts to a broader framework of food sovereignty, especially through learning to become better allies with Indigenous populations in different parts of the world.

Keywords: organic, farming, farmers, educators, food scholarship, Indigenous, adult

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This article is part of AJAL, Volume 52_3. The entire volume is available in .pdf for purchase here.

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