Alternative and Conventional Agricultural Paradigms: Evidence From Farming in Southwest Saskatchewan
Sociology and Criminal Justice
Agricultural analysts have suggested that the emergence of an alternative agriculture system represents more than changes in practices; it is also thought to represent a shift in environmental beliefs, values, attitudes, and norms. This means that conventional and alternative systems of agriculture represent distinct paradigms which are informed by two contradictory worldviews. Insofar as this claim is correct, it is possible to delineate, target, and promote one paradigm, depending on the system of agriculture that policy makers wish to encourage. In this paper we seek to clarify the practical application of the two agricultural paradigms by examining the practices, beliefs, values, norms, and attitudes of farmers in southwest Saskatchewan, part of the semi-arid section of the North American Great Plains. Findings support the view that different farming systems correspond to different worldviews. Strong confidence in the market, however, is not limited to conventional farmers, as suggested by the literature.
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