Families on Small Farms: Case Studies in Human Ecology

Families on Small Farms: Case Studies in Human Ecology

Families on Small Farms: Case Studies in Human Ecology

Families on Small Farms: Case Studies in Human Ecology

Synopsis

Extensive and detailed case studies of two families who began operating small farms in Michigan in the 1980s not only provide information about how human and agricultural systems interact, but also demonstrate the principles and methodologies of human ecology at a level useful to graduate or undergraduate students. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc.,

Excerpt

The publication of these studies in the human ecology of families on small Michigan farms is both timely and highly relevant to the evolving concept of sustainable agriculture. As is almost universally the case among colleagues in sustainable agriculture, my own work has focused on the biological rather than the human dimensions of integration. As I read the manuscript, often I found myself sharing much of the vision, the values, the satisfaction, and sometimes the pain of these families. Above all, I gained an expanded, professional understanding of the complexity of the human dimension of farm ecology.

The setting for these farms is the extended landscape environment of a university-owned experiment station. Equally important is its location in a transitional farming area within a broad development corridor in Michigan-- between the more intensive fruit and vegetable area to the west and the more favorable soil and water conditions for field crops to the east. Agriculture is a major economic and ecological element of the local landscape, but it has long since lost a position of local political dominance as is still seen in some major corn-belt communities. On the other hand, agriculture in the area has not reached the true, minority-enterprise status that it has in the New England states, where it is increasingly valued for its management of an "open landscape" and the provision of fresh produce and services. These are especially important to the success of small farm enterprises in terms of their "fit" to time and place.

It is equally important that during the time of this study (the mid 1980s) there was strong debate in Michigan over the role as well as the future of small farms. From an economic and business perspective, most felt that small farms were an anachronism to be swept aside by the more efficient, increasingly global, food system. Some still do. Today, the more common view is . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.