Topic: Framing of organic farming in Finland
Keywords: organic farming, development, meanings, social actors, framing
In April 1997, in Trondheim Norway, I gave one of my first presentations about organic farming, it’s social actors and construction in Finland. I also explored meanings and definitions of organic farming in agricultural and rural policy. Presentation was based on analysis of articles about organic farming. Results indicated, that there were as many definitions as there were actors in organic farming networks.
In my presentation I will briefly look to pre-1997 situation, but mainly concentrate the post 1997 development of organic farming in Finland. That time has been of a great significance to Finnish organic farming. Earlier, in agriculture and rural development strategies organic farming played a subsidiary role. In 1996, however, the official meaning of organic farming changed significantly. While ten years earlier it was not seen to have noteworthy social importance, in the 2nd national rural policy program organic farming became a rural development strategy and a survival method for farming families. EU agricultural policy was deemed to have eliminated the problem of national overproduction and global competition was believed to have increased. In these circumstances organic farming was viewed as a competitive factor and a goal of the extensive expansion of organic farming was officially set.
But what has happened since those days? Statistically, Finnish organic farming is doing well. The cultivated area is increasing and totals almost 13 %. There are more than 5000 organic farms in Finland and the share of all farms is almost 11 %. Organic farms are large; their average size is about 58 hectares. (Evira 2018.) Considered globally, these figures are high. Finnish organic food has, however, not found its way to consumers’ tables or even grocery shelves, as the market share is about 2%. Why is this the case and what needs to be done? In my presentation I will look behind the statistics. How organic farming has been framed in agricultural, rural and food policy? Is organic farming still framed as rural development strategy, or survival method of Finnish farms? In my presentation I will examine the development and framing of Finnish organic farming, its significance and the problems facing its promotion.