In this critical social research study, the author uncovers the key components necessary to construct a new model for the economically viable small farm that incorporates historically marginalized populations into its lifeblood. The study serves as exploratory research to outline a new economic model for the future. The author used participant observation, informal interviews, structured questionnaires, and document research to collect data in California and Georgia from April - December 2004. Organic farmers, sustainable agriculture practitioners, social activists, and community members participated in the study. The study reveals that participants anticipate a model that will be rooted soundly in the center of community, will involve all stakeholders as decision-makers, and will be place-based. Most participants expect that some form of outside funding will still be required by the farm. The new model will need to utilize local resources, and should allow for broad engagement by diverse, active members of the community. It will require residents to reconsider the conventional acceptance of capitalism as a primary solution to food insecurity, and members to turn to alternative means of engagement - including mutual aid, bartering, and collective ownership - in order to creatively conquer injustice. Striving to achieve community food security can be a catalyst for addressing a number of social ills. The healthy small farm can be a central figure in the effort to promote social change, beginning by planting a seed in the community, and enduring by growing local coalitions that seek to improve the quality of life for all.


Politics and Social Change