Inderscience Publishers

Values of organic producers converting at different times: results of a focus group study in five European countries

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This paper presents the results of a focus group study of the values of organic producers entering the sector at different times in Austria, Italy, the Netherlands, the UK and Switzerland. As well as expressing values widely associated with organic farming, such as food quality, health and environmental protection, they also mentioned professional challenge, fairness in the food chain, and maintaining farm income as important. The reviewed literature includes examples of a theory of conventionalisation, which implies that later converting producers are less committed to core organic values than the previously established ones. The conclusions of this paper do not support this idea. In interpreting the observed differences between the values of established and converting producers, it is argued that these are consistent with some aspects of adoption diffusion model, but changes in external circumstances and the learning experience that conversion represents must also be considered.

Keywords: conventionalisation, adoption, diffusion, conversion process, organic farming, organic agriculture, organic producers, market entry, entry times, Austria, Italy, Netherlands, UK, United Kingdom, Switzerland

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