Sociological Perspectives of Organic Agriculture by G. A. Holt, M. Reed

By G. A. Holt, M. Reed

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Policy and issue networks are of particular note for this chapter as much of the later discussion traverses the territory between a policy network and an issue network as well as the interaction between these and a social movement. Following Marsh, Smith and Toke this chapter adopts the model of understanding policy networks using a decentred, dialectical approach and in doing so draws a distinction between such arrangements and issue networks (Marsh and Smith, 2000; Toke, 2000). 1 the institutional differences between the two networks are set out with the policy network being obviously more closely bound, more likely to share a common culture and to be based on collaboration rather than conflict.

Overall therefore, private markets are first, food markets and only second, farmers ' markets. Participatory farmers' markets More recently again, participatory farmers' markets have been established throughout rural Ireland, some of which are supported by the public sector and local authorities. This source of funding implies the need for negotiation and arbitration but there are fewer doubts about the concentration of power than in privately run markets. Interviewees 29 and 35 promote rural development and initiatives to support low-income farmers, and have set up a producer-run farmers' market.

They abandoned urban European cities, and were young, university-educated environmentalists. They were in fact the first post-organic farmers. Unlike the previous group, they settled on small holdings in the poorest places, as regards both soil and standard-of-living. They were also politically motivated towards homesteading and alternative living. The practitioners who began in the 1980s were different again. Commercial-scale organic farming along with the emergence of native-born Irish organic farmers defined this era.

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