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Organic and Non-Organic Farming: Is Convergence Possible?

Alternative Agrifood Movements: Patterns of Convergence and Divergence

ISBN: 978-1-78441-090-2, eISBN: 978-1-78441-089-6

Publication date: 3 December 2014


In this chapter we discuss the dynamics of convergence-divergence between organic and non-organic farming systems. We are specifically interested in how and in what ways organic systems emerge into a new system that synthesizes the diverse qualities of competing systems. Or, will these systems continue to diverge because of their path dependencies and contradictory, unresolvable logics? Alternatively, are we confronted with conversion? Following a discussion of the origin of organic agriculture and the IFOAM Principles, we explore differentiation of two agricultural paradigms that was developed more than 20 years ago before the rise of GMOs. This comparison identifies the key features of both systems and a first interpretation on the potential of convergence-divergence. Third, we take a macro-look at agro-food chain that offers insights on the convergence-divergence potential in the context of global, economic, market, political, and societal dynamics. Fourth, we discuss convergence-divergence at the production level comparing the four agricultural systems. Finally, we reflect and assess on the explanatory potential of our study for the future development of organic and non-organic agriculture/farming. We conclude that there is more evidence for conversion than for convergence.


Freyer, B. and Bingen, J. (2014), "Organic and Non-Organic Farming: Is Convergence Possible?", Alternative Agrifood Movements: Patterns of Convergence and Divergence (Research in Rural Sociology and Development, Vol. 21), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 281-310.



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