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Exploring the potential benefits and challenges to collaboration between small farmers and veterans

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Title: Exploring the potential benefits and challenges to collaboration between small farmers and veterans
Author: Fusaro, Jennifer Marie
Abstract: Over the past few decades, the decline of small farmers in the United States has resulted in a dramatic loss of traditional farming knowledge. The introduction of industrial farming practices has led to a corporatized food system that makes it difficult for small farming to produce a viable livelihood. Meanwhile, over two million deployed American troops returning home from theaters of combat face significant challenges, including a slow and ineffective Veterans Administration, a limited job market, and a severely depressed economy. Recently, a few organizations such as the Farmer-Veteran Coalition have begun to implement projects that bring together small farmers and Veterans to collaborate in unique ways that address many of the challenges for each group while simultaneously improving their respective communities. In this research, I explored with the participants the potential benefits and challenges of collaboration between small farmers and the Veteran community in Northern California. The research employed advocacy and participatory epistemology and methodologies, thereby offering a central place for the participants in the research. Qualitative interviews offered in depth opportunities to examine the experiences of farmers and Veterans who are (or are not) transformed by collaboration. Using the Farmer-Veteran Coalition as a model of collaboration, the research indicates that interaction between Veterans and small farmers can indeed provide important benefits to both groups. However, significant challenges are common among participating individuals. Organizations focusing on such collaboration must identify and work with the Veteran and small farming communities to remove these barriers to success. The implications of this analysis are timely and potentially far reaching. Immediate improvements are possible in the individual lives of small farmers and Veterans as well as longer term policy changes that simultaneously promote care and support for the Veteran community and improve the fragile United States food system. Suggested specific outcomes are improvements in health care, employment rates, transition programs, and overall well-being for Veterans, in addition to strengthening local food supplies through the preservation of traditional farming knowledge.
Description: Thesis (M.A.)--Humboldt State University, Social Science, 2010
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2148/673
Date: 2010-08

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  • Masters Theses [874]
    A collection of selected Masters Theses in electronic format.

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