When Organic Farmers Reshuffle the Cards with Regard to Farmers’ Representation

Special Report: Representing Farmers
The Institutionalization of Organic Farming in the Alpes-Maritimes Département of France
By Madlyne Samak

Organic farmers have been marginalized by the main farmers unions, for a long time. Their professional representation, based on associations, has been a centrifugal force of the profession from the beginning. In the last couple of years, political injunctions for the development of organic farming in France have increased, and public authorities are inciting the various professional organizations to work together. The field work completed in the Alpes-Maritimes department allows us to analyze the effects of these political changes on the local farmers’ organizations. Although in certain other places, policies that promote organic farming have lead to the absorption of associations by unions, in our region, professional organizations continue their battle (on unequal terms), in order to remain in existence, attract funds and give off the social image of the organic farming profession that they seek to defend.

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