Agriculture and Human Values 15 (3):243-252 (1998)

Amongst the environmental and social externalities generated by Australian agriculture are a number of risks both to the health and safety of communities living near sites of agricultural production, and to the end consumers of agricultural products. Responses to these potential risks – and to problems of environmental sustainability more generally – have included a number of programs to variously: define “best-practice” for particular industries; implement “Quality Assurance” procedures; and encourage the formation of self-help community “Landcare” groups. Taken together, these programs appear to deal comprehensively with both the social and environmental risks associated with agricultural production and products. However, these programs may also be interpreted as strategies that actually encourage the further intensification of agriculture, while attempting to reassure consumers that their food is safe and that farmers are doing “all they can” to protect the environment. Investigation of the Australian cotton and beef industries illustrates a number of strategies that have become evident between farmers, agri-science agencies, and the retail sector to manage these risks and define good farming practices in ways that satisfy their own perceived interests. Contrary to the image, therefore, of “green consumption” that is emerging as an integrated concern for “clean” (and thereby “healthy”) and sustainably produced foods, it appears that mainstream agricultural industries have bifurcated these concerns in ways that distract attention from production and processing methods, leaving conflict over on-farm production methods a characteristic only of those industries believed to have direct health impacts on nearby communities
Keywords Australian agriculture  Best-practice  Environment  Knowledge construction  Landcare  Quality assurance  Risk
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DOI 10.1023/A:1007455700259
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Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity.Ulrich Beck, Mark Ritter & Jennifer Brown - 1993 - Environmental Values 2 (4):367-368.
Against Method.P. Feyerabend - 1975 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 26 (4):331-342.

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