Food and the Mid-level Farm : Renewing an Agriculture of the Middle


Food and the Mid-level Farm : Renewing an Agriculture of the Middle


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Edited by Thomas A. Lyson, G.W. Stevenson, and Rick Welsh.

Includes two chapters co-authored by College at Brockport faculty member Amy Guptill: Is relationship marketing an alternative to the corporatization of organics? A case study of OFARM; and: The effect of laws that foster agricultural bargaining : apple growers in Michigan and New York State.

Agriculture in the United States today increasingly operates in two separate spheres: large, corporate-connected commodity production and distribution systems and small-scale farms that market directly to consumers. As a result, midsize family-operated farms find it increasingly difficult to find and reach markets for their products. They are too big to use the direct marketing techniques of small farms but too small to take advantage of corporate marketing and distribution systems. This crisis of the midsize farm results in a rural America with weakened municipal tax bases, job loss, and population flight. Food and the Mid-Level Farm discusses strategies for reviving an "agriculture of the middle" and creating a food system that works for midsize farms and ranches. Activists, practitioners, and scholars from a variety of disciplines, including sociology, political science, and economics, consider ways midsize farms can regain vitality by scaling up aspects of small farms' operations to connect with consumers, organizing together to develop markets for their products, developing food supply chains that preserve farmer identity and are based on fair business agreements, and promoting public policies (at international, federal, state, and community levels) that address agriculture-of-the-middle issues. Food and the Mid-Level Farm makes it clear that the demise of midsize farms and ranches is not a foregone conclusion and that the renewal of an agriculture of the middle will benefit all participants in the food system--from growers to consumers. Thomas A. Lyson was Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor of Development Sociology at Cornell University until his death in 2006. G. W. Stevenson is Senior Scientist with the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems at the University of Wisconsin-- Madison. Rick Welsh is Associate Professor of Sociology at Clarkson University.



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Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, c2008.

xvii, 296 p. : illustrations ; 24 cm.






Located in Drake Library at: HD1476.U6 F66 2008

CONTENTS: Why worry about the agriculture of the middle? / Fred Kirschenmann ... [et al.] -- Pursuing long-term food and agricultural security in the United States: decentralization, diversification, and reduction of resource intensity / Kenneth A. Dalhberg -- Cooperative structure for the middle: mobilizing for power and identity / Thomas W. Gray and G. W. Stevenson -- Is relationship marketing an alternative to the corporatization of organics? A case study of OFARM / Amy Guptill and Rick Welsh -- Contractual integration in agriculture: is there a bright side for agriculture of the middle? / Mary Hendrickson ... [et al.] -- Consumer considerations and the agriculture of the middle / Eileen Brady and Caitlin O'Brady -- Values-based supply chains: strategies for agrifood enterprises of the middle / G. W. Stevenson and Rich Pirog -- Toward a pro-middle farm policy: what will it take to ensure a promising future for family farming? / Daryll E. Ray and Harwood D. Schaffer -- Agriculture of the middle: lessons learned from civic agriculture / Thomas A. Lyson -- The effect of laws that foster agricultural bargaining: apple growers in Michigan and New York state / Shelly Grow, Amy Guptill, Thomsa A. Lyson, Rick Welsh -- Sustaining the middle: the roles of sustainable agriculture and agri-environmental payments / Sandra S. Batie -- The prospects and limits of antitrust and competitive-market strategies / Peter Carstensen -- Appendix: the changing status of farms and ranches of the middle / Mike Duffy.

Food and the Mid-level Farm : Renewing an Agriculture of the Middle