As an international centre of research excellence, the CCRI seminar series aims to encourage and welcome speakers from a broad range of academic, policy and stakeholder backgrounds. The series, which has become an integral component of CCRI, is open to all, and is a flexible vehicle for the dissemination of research and discussion of policy and practice in a broad range of topics such as agriculture, society, food and environmental issues. It offers the individual an opportunity to present their work in a friendly setting, amongst academics that have a genuine passion and interest in the furthering of knowledge.

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The future of organic agriculture is participation: charting the waves of the global organic movement

16/05/2019 at 12:15 - 13:15

In 1970 the President of the Soil Association, Fritz Schumacher, signalled a shift in strategy in the movement’s strategy from scientific proofs towards standards and consumer-driven change.   Over 40 years later the International Federation of Organic Movements (IFOAM) a body in part-founded by the Soil Association, signalled another shift in strategy with the ‘Organic 3.0’ document.   The Organic 3.0 paper was the product of a global discussion within a federation of movements bringing towards organic agriculture even higher ambitions for social justice, environmental and climate change goals.

Recently elements of the organic movement have been re-imagined by some in the term ‘agro-ecology’, whilst in urban agriculture, for many practitioners organic methods are the default, although they are often only loosely linked with the burgeoning rural organic farming sector and new industries such as cosmetics and textiles have risen with only limited scholarly attention.   Nearly two decades ago many social science scholars had dismissed the oppositional potential of this cultural movement.  But currently, we find it prominent in campaigns to ban pesticides across the EU, defending animal production against the arguments of vegans, encouraging farmer-led scientific innovations, shortening food chains and adding new areas of debate such as textiles to its scope of concern.  Often it is doing so not by advancing consumer but forms of participation with the products of agriculture that open new possibilities of citizenship.

This paper sets out to explore the ‘waves’ of the organic movement, starting from its emergence in the late nineteenth century through to its latest configuration around the ‘Organic 3.0’ document.  In doing so, it starts with an account of how scholars have understood the development of social movements, including periods of repeated mobilisation and contestation.    While there is a consideration of the history of the movement, sufficient to characterise the earlier waves of the movement the focus of this work is on the current wave and how that may develop.


12:15 - 13:15
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