Agroecology as a vehicle for contributive justice

Agriculture and Human Values 32 (3):523-538 (2015)

Authors
Cristian Timmermann
University of Chile
Abstract
Agroecology has been criticized for being more labor-intensive than other more industrialized forms of agriculture. We challenge the assertion that labor input in agriculture has to be generally minimized and argue that besides quantity of work one should also consider the quality of work involved in farming. Early assessments on work quality condemned the deskilling of the rural workforce, whereas later criticisms have concentrated around issues related to fair trade and food sovereignty. We bring into the discussion the concept of contributive justice to welcome the added labor-intensity of agroecological farming. Contributive justice demands a work environment where people are stimulated to develop skills and learn to be productive. It also suggests a fairer distribution of meaningful work and tedious tasks. Building on the notion of contributive justice we explore which capabilities and types of social relationships are sustainably promoted and reinforced by agroecological farming practices. We argue that agroecological principles encourage a reconceptualization of farm work. Farmers are continuously stimulated to develop skills and acquire valuable experiential knowledge on local ecosystems and agricultural techniques. Further, generalized ecological studies recognize the significance of the farmer’s observations on natural resources management. This contributes to the development of a number of capabilities and leads to more bargaining power, facilitating self-determination. Hereby farm work is made more attractive to a younger generation, which is an essential factor for safeguarding the continuity of family farms.
Keywords meaningful work  Knowledge-intensive farming  Empowerment  Self-determination  Mutual influence  Peer recognition  Capabilities
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DOI 10.1007/s10460-014-9581-8
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References found in this work BETA

The Idea of Human Rights.Charles R. Beitz - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
Conceptualising Meaningful Work as a Fundamental Human Need.Ruth Yeoman - 2014 - Journal of Business Ethics 125 (2):1-17.
Meaningful Work: Arguments From Autonomy.Beate Roessler - 2012 - Journal of Political Philosophy 20 (1):71-93.

View all 29 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Agrobiodiversity Under Different Property Regimes.Cristian Timmermann & Zoë Robaey - 2016 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 29 (2):285-303.

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