Master of Arts (MA)
Faculty of Science
Changes within agriculture towards an industrialized approach to farming have had detrimental effects on people, communities, and the environment. There is a need for methods of farming that preserve and protect the natural and social ecology. In this thesis, I explored the experiences and stories of a small group of PEI organic farmers, who have an important role in preserving the Island's natural and social ecology. Informed mainly by the narrative theory of Rappaport (1995), I conducted qualitative interviews with seven farmers, in an effort to hear their stories as organic farmers on PEI and leam from their experiences. While there are differences across farmer’s experiences and each farmer has a unique story, based on a theme analysis, major ﬁndings from the group story indicate that most participants struggle to survive as organic farmers within a corporate monoculture farming system, face challenges and lack support, which is needed from government and consumers. The ﬁndings also suggest that a smaller farming approach is beneﬁcial. Some participants also spoke about being examples of success, how their group serves as a support system, as well as future possibilities for organic farming, which is currently in a critical period. In addition to the themes from their individual and group stories and because it is important to know how to sustain organic farming on PEI, I also discuss some of the major lessons that emerged from their stories such as the need for tangible monetary and legal support, technical and marketing assistance and information, an infrastructure, a local market, group building and networking, dialogue amongst groups, and the importance of studying successful examples. Following the lessons, I introduce previous literature and explain how my thesis is a contribution in bringing the stories of PEI organic farmers to the forefront and exploring the possibilities for their survival. I then discuss organic farmers’ experiences of marginality, the importance of embracing small initiatives, and the potential role of organic farmers in social and environmental change. I conclude by emphasizing the critical importance of adopting organic farming within the PEI agriculture arena in efforts to preserve homes, communities, and the earth.
Griffin, Kara L., "Listening to the voices of the land: Stories of Prince Edward Island organic farmers sowing hope in the struggle for survival" (2000). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 701.