Inderscience Publishers

Goals and standards in Swedish organic farming: trading off between desirables

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Organic farming is an explicitly value-based movement working towards a set of goals. The standards of organic farming serve the purpose of telling organic producers what they need to do, to be certified organic, but they are also as a means to steer them towards the goals of organic production. Both standards and goals are dynamic and subject to change. While goals can be broad and idealistic, standards need to be technically and economically feasible, measurable and possible to inspect. Some authors claim that the use of a regulation in organic farming accelerates the process towards conventionalisation while others see standards as a prerequisite for the success of organic farming. This paper analyses some of the conflicts inherent in the organic goals and the gaps that appear between goals and standards in organic farming in Sweden. For example, the goal of minimising use of fossil fuels is at odds with some of the other goals of organic farming. A way to accommodate the gaps is to develop intermediate goals that can be closer connected to the standards than the overall goals.

Keywords: alternative agriculture, organic regulation, European Union, organic farming principles, organic standards, Sweden, organic agriculture

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