Research review: Keeping the wineglass full
What exactly do farmers practicing sustainable agriculture seek to sustain? This is the broad question I sought to find insight into when conducting my MS thesis as a rural sociology and sustainable agriculture student at Iowa State University. The objective of this study was to identify the underlying and culturally embedded motivations for participation in sustainability programs and for achieving the greater goal of agricultural sustainability. The thesis is now available as a brief report, and is attached to this blog posting.
This study shows that generational succession of the family farm enterprise and preserving the family’s agricultural legacy is the core motivation for Lodi winegrape growers to participate in local sustainability programs and sustainability efforts more broadly. In the academic and viticulture industry discourse about sustainability, culture is often placed in the background or exists only as an implicit assumption, while more concrete drivers such as economic returns to growers, environmental implications, or pest management draw attention. This report aims to bring culture to the forefront.