Immigrant farmers, sustainable practices: growing ecological and racial diversity in alternative agrifood spaces

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper looks closely at Latino/an immigrant farming practices, arguing that although many immigrant farmers use practices that are deemed sustainable or ecological by alternative food movement standards, alternative food institutions have not yet recognized immigrant farmers’ increasing contribution to the agroecological knowledge base on U.S. farms. We draw on qualitative and quantitative research, including over one hundred interviews with farmers and organizational staff, comparing five case sites in Virginia, New York, California, Minnesota, and Washington as well as national statistical data from the U.S. Census of Agriculture. Specific practices of Latino/a growers include growing biodiverse fruit and vegetable crops on a small scale, direct sales at farmers’ markets, and maintaining family-based labor. Although they use little or no synthetic inputs, many are not certified organic, and are not tied in to high-end markets, so they do not receive the organic premium. This paper argues for a deeper look into who is included and excluded from alternative farming institutions and spaces and makes a case for the importance of creating new opportunities for immigrant farmers of color as part of these social networks and markets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAgroecology and Sustainable Food Systems
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

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immigration
farmer
immigrant
farmers
Vegetables
Fruits
Agriculture
Farms
Crops
market
Sales
Census of Agriculture
alternative farming
Personnel
farmers' markets
Color
markets
social networks
food
fruit crops

Keywords

  • alternative food
  • Immigrant farming
  • race and food

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Development
  • Agronomy and Crop Science

Cite this

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abstract = "This paper looks closely at Latino/an immigrant farming practices, arguing that although many immigrant farmers use practices that are deemed sustainable or ecological by alternative food movement standards, alternative food institutions have not yet recognized immigrant farmers’ increasing contribution to the agroecological knowledge base on U.S. farms. We draw on qualitative and quantitative research, including over one hundred interviews with farmers and organizational staff, comparing five case sites in Virginia, New York, California, Minnesota, and Washington as well as national statistical data from the U.S. Census of Agriculture. Specific practices of Latino/a growers include growing biodiverse fruit and vegetable crops on a small scale, direct sales at farmers’ markets, and maintaining family-based labor. Although they use little or no synthetic inputs, many are not certified organic, and are not tied in to high-end markets, so they do not receive the organic premium. This paper argues for a deeper look into who is included and excluded from alternative farming institutions and spaces and makes a case for the importance of creating new opportunities for immigrant farmers of color as part of these social networks and markets.",
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