Accepted Paper:

Organic farmers in Belgium : challenging the link between food production and food consumption  


Audrey Vankeerberghen (Université de Liège)

Paper short abstract:

Based on ethnographic research in Belgium, this paper aims to give a better understanding of the relation between the professional domain of organic farmers in Belgium and the associated domain of their personal consumption.

Paper long abstract:

While my PhD research initially focused on organic farming as a profession, analyzing its associated practices and meanings, the matter of the personal consumption of the farmers emerged as a significant factor to understand what "being an organic farmer" means. Many organic farmers link their own consumption practices to their professional commitment, but this is far from general. For instance, some organic farmers consume organic food (to various extents) and others do not. In some cases, eating organic might be a criteria used in the building of professional "organic identities" : on the one hand, this criteria might be used in the definition of one's identity as a farmer ; on the other hand, organic farmers might use it to evaluate the professional commitment of other organic farmers. These empirical observations raise several questions I will deal with in this paper : how do farmers link their practices of food production with their food consumption ; through which practices and meanings ? Why and how are these two spheres of practice disconnected in some cases ? The particular case of organic farmers highlights in a very clear way the complexity of the relations between the professional realm and the realm of personal consumption as two separate but closely linked spheres of practices and meanings.

Panel W070
Work and consumption: insurmountable links in uncertain times (EN) (FR)