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Accepted Paper:

Virtually Mediated Farms: Social Media, Digitalization and Organic Farms in India  
Sohini Bhattacharjee (Jawaharlal Nehru University)

Paper short abstract:

The emergence of social media platforms has contributed to the explosion of digital food cultures. The paper explores this phenomenon from the production-end of an ‘alternative’ to understand how and why organic farms in India use social media platforms to ‘know’ the farm, food and farmer.

Paper long abstract:

Food and media have been intertwined even before the advent of social media. With the emergence of digital media platforms, that emphasise a participatory culture and prosumption of content, however, digital food cultures and their dissemination have become ubiquitous. Digitalization of experiences from the farm to the plate via social media enables sharing them with an interconnected virtual community. Most digital food cultures are focused on the realm of consumption. This paper, nevertheless, engages with the production-end and its entanglement with the digital world by looking at how and why organic farms in India use social media platforms. Organic farming has gained popularity as an ‘alternative’ as the fallacies of chemical-based production system garners criticism. In India, the organic food economy is still in its nascent phase and is largely export-oriented. Yet, some organically managed farms have come to the fore to cater to the domestic populace and engage in short-food supply chains. For these farmers, documenting the life of the farm, the produce and its people particularly through audio-visual content in social media, becomes an important avenue for its promotion and virtually (re)connecting with an audience. By analysing data collected through interviews with organic farmers, this paper, therefore, proposes to explore the digitalisation of organic food production activities, the produce and the farm within social media platforms. Through this exploration, the paper delves into how ‘knowing’ the farm and the farmer, otherwise distant and often invisible, is mediated by social media platforms in the case of alternatives.

Panel P150a
Food and Digitalization: Issues of Visibility, Exploitation and Sustainability [EASA Food Network]
  Session 1 Tuesday 26 July, 2022, -