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Nourishing women: toward a feminist political ecology of community supported agriculture in the United States

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Abstract:

This article examines the motivations of women farmers actively involved in community supported agriculture. Drawing from interviews with farmers situated in a metropolitan region of the USA, it argues that these women's motivations are expressive of an ethics of care that defines their work as centered upon nourishing themselves and others. Women came to this work as a conscious choice to change their life-work. These choices are shaped by the urban context of their farming practices and also by their race and middle class status. These motivations and choices express a care ethics centered in self-care. Drawing from Foucault's ethics of self-care, these motivations express a liberatory transformation of self that is also radically responsible to others and expressive of a post-capitalist politics. These ethically informed agricultural practices correspond to the development of a post-capitalist politics that challenges neoliberal subject formation in food production and consumption. Feminist care ethics contributes to feminist political ecology by focusing upon the social relations of caring practice, and also revealing how self-care is ethically embodied and politically transformative in the case of middle class urban farmers active in community supported agriculture.

Keywords: agricultura sustentable; care ethics; ecología política; political ecology; sustainable agriculture; ética del cuidado

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0966369X.2011.565871

Affiliations: Department of Geography,University of Washington, Box 353550Seattle,WA,98118, USA

Publication date: June 1, 2011

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