SAC # 40: The moral economy of growing: orchardists/farmers interaction with their land



23 August 2007, 4- 5:30pm


Seminar Room, Centre for Innovation, 87 St. David St.


Lesley Hunt, AERU, Lincoln University


Producing food from ?nature? via the taming and domestication of wild plants and animals is a moral process, not only in its practice but in the way people make meaning of it.
This paper examines the moral imperatives which induce orchardists/farmers to manage their land in the way that they do and situates this understanding within a theoretical and international context. There is a considerable amount of literature on this topic but it tends to focus on landscape, the environment and ecological issues. Less has been written on the meanings people give to their land management practices and the implications these meanings have for sustainable land management. In particular this has not been examined using in depth, qualitative research in the New Zealand context.
Drawing on the data collected in qualitative interviews with orchardists and farmers participating in the Agriculture Research Group on Sustainability (ARGOS) project this paper compares and contrasts the theoretical frameworks and farmer classifications developed by other writers to construct a theoretical framework which better fits New Zealand?s primary producers.
Understanding the ?morality? involved in an orcharding or a farming household?s interaction with their land assists in understanding compliance (and audit culture) and may be a future marketing tool to support the sale of New Zealand?s primary products overseas, hence supporting the social ?sustainability of New Zealand?s rural households and communities? through the creation and/or understanding of new audit frameworks in which the international agri-food system works.
The ARGOS programme is transdisciplinary, incorporating farm management, environmental/ecological, economic, social and Maori objectives to compare organic, integrated and conventional land management practices.

About the Speaker

Lesley Hunt is a Research Officer in the AERU at Lincoln University. Her PhD, 'Compliance at work: protecting identity and science practice under corporatisation', a study of scientists in a CRI, was in the sociology of work. She works as a social scientist in the ARGOS and Constructive Conversations (University of Canterbury), FRST-funded research programmes. Her main interest is in how people live meaningful lives.