Motivations, Opportunities, and Challenges in a Growing Field: Organic Farmers in Metro Atlanta Público

Cumbie-Drake, Emily Claire (2010)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/8k71nh248?locale=es
Published

Abstract

Motivations, Opportunities, and Challenges in a Growing Field: Organic Farmers in Metro Atlanta
By Emily Cumbie-Drake

The organic food movement is rapidly gaining popularity throughout the United States as many mainstream food consumers realize that organic agriculture promotes human, environmental, and economic health. However, much of this food is produced within the industrial agricultural system, a method of growing food that often opposes the philosophies and ideals of the original organic food movement in the 1960s. Nevertheless, small-scale organic farmers supporting local, sustainable food systems still exist and thrive today. With assistance from Georgia Organics, this thesis explores the life of ten small-scale organic farmers in the metropolitan Atlanta area who have participated in the Georgia Organics Mentoring Program. Through participant observation on farms and semi-structured interviews with farmers, I examine individual's motivations for becoming organic farmers, what situations and opportunities allow them to do so, and challenges they face as farmers. This research reveals that organic farmers comprise a diverse group of passionate individuals who become farmers through a variety of methods. However, there is no single path to follow in order to become a successful organic farmer. The limited supply of organic farmers in the Atlanta area is unable to meet the constant demand for organic produce by hungry consumers. By describing the farmers' high quality of life, ability to make a living, and various paths of entering the profession, this thesis encourages individuals to consider becoming organic farmers in order to meet the increasing demand, while living a fulfilling and sustainable way of life.

Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION...1

Agriculture in the United States...5
Importance of Organic Agriculture...12
Organic Certification...14

CHAPTER 2: PREVIOUS RESEARCH ON ORGANIC FARMERS...16

Characteristics of Organic Farmers...16
Motivations for Becoming an Organic Farmer...17
Challenges...20
Role of Family...21
Success...22
Gaps in Past Research...23

CHAPTER 3: METHODS...25

Research Design...25
Justification...25
Sample...26
Data Collection...27
Definitions...29

CHAPTER 4: THE FARMERS...31

Mentors...31
Mentees...35

CHAPTER 5: FINDINGS...41

Motivations...41
Farming Opportunities...45
Challenges...51
Success...63
Quality of Life...65

CHAPTER 6: GEORGIA ORGANICS MENTORING PROGRAM...69

Non-Farming Mentees...70
Critiques and Suggestions...71

CHAPTER 7: DISCUSSION...73

Motivations...73
Farming Opportunities...75
Challenges...76
Success...80
Quality of Life...81
Limitations of Study...82
Implications...83
Concluding Remarks...84

REFERENCES...86
APPENDIX...90

About this Honors Thesis

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
School
Department
Degree
Submission
Language
  • English
Research field
Palabra Clave
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Committee Members
Última modificación

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files