Keywords: organic farming, environmental awareness, organic farmers, Poland, motivation
Motivations for organic farming among farmers from Malopolska Province, Poland
Poor condition of Polish agriculture, clean soil environment and extensive methods of production make Poland particularly suitable for developing environmentally friendly forms of farming. In the last decade the number of people who have decided to convert from old, conventional farms to new, environmentally friendly ones, has markedly increased. The objective of this study was to find out what motivates farmers to convert to, or establish organic farms. We were particularly interested in the environmental aspect of their decisions. The study was conducted in the form of a questionnaire among organic farmers – compliance certificate holders – in the Malopolska Province, Poland. The results show that organic farmers' environmental knowledge is selective and focuses only on some areas of farming. Respondents' knowledge and environmental awareness and their education, age or sex were not related, however, their knowledge about nature goes hand-in-hand with their environmental awareness. The prevailing majority of organic farmers know the basic mechanisms of nature that are significant for agricultural production; they are also aware of threats from conventional farming and understand the need to propagate organic farming as its alternative. In their activity, organic farmers attain several objectives simultaneously, but their main motivation is not environmental.