Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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p. vii

Illustrations

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p. viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xii

My interest in agriculture goes back to my childhood. I’m from Kansas. I love the open space of the plains, the endless sky, and the power of nature that is so obvious there. You hear a lot about farm foreclosures and smaller farmers “going under ”when you live in an agricultural state. With these roots,...

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1. Organic Farming and Geography

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pp. 1-39

Geography is geo (earth) and graphy (to describe). This is a “geography” of organic farming because geography can best explain our complex world. Through words and graphics, geography can map the interrelated factors – both social (policy, culture, and economics) and ecological (climate, soil, water, and vegetation) – that influence our relationship to the earth. Specifically, a holistic approach...

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2. The Science of Organic Farming

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pp. 40-69

Early studies of organic farming faced the obstacle of definition: since organic certification was not readily available, it was difficult to identify organic farms. This meant that it was impossible to obtain a list of organic farmers to study; so researchers had to use less formal means to identify them. As recently as the early...

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3. The Social Context of Organic Farming

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pp. 70-90

According to one recent survey, 70 percent of Americans have purchased an organic food product at least once, with 32 percent buying occasionally and 16 percent buying organic every time they shop (Gardyn 2002). Sales of organic products are booming, and consumer interest in organic items shows no signs of slowing. While...

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4. Organic Farmers on the Ground

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pp. 91-149

Organic agriculture has, to some extent, attained a new level of recognition that propels it beyond much of the previous literature. Trying to link past research findings to current organic farmers is a challenge because many studies are tangential to the complex on-the-ground actions that determine whether a farmer...

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5. Making It Work

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pp. 150-182

Farmers teach us a great deal about the complexity of organic farming in the United States. Steve, Mary and Rob, Joel, Phil, and Cliff, Naioma, and Allen represent various geographic regions, manage very different types of farms, and describe things in distinctive ways that relate to their individual farms. Organic farmers are not all alike,...

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6. Organic Farming in Our Future Landscape

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pp. 183-203

Organic farming provides ecological and social benefits, and innovative organic farmers can be successful in agriculture today. “The fact that organic agriculture has become competitive with conventional agriculture in so many different situations, in spite of its relatively depauperate research and extension infrastructure, is a testament to its potential”...

Appendix: Information Links

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pp. 205-212

References

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pp. 213-237

Index

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pp. 239-250