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E. Challenging Consumer Assumptions about Organic Farming

Narrator: This is Science Today. A University of California study has found that, with the exception of reduced exposure to pesticides, the growth in organic agriculture has not resulted in better working conditions for farmworkers. This is contrary to some consumer assumptions that organic producers get more benefit from organic production than conventional agriculture. Another study, conducted by Julie Guthman, a community studies professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz , also challenged popular assumptions about organic farming.

Guthman: Even at its best, organic farming never looked like the imaginary that people impose on it because California never had a class of family farmers who grew for the market with their own family labor. I mean California agriculture has been based on migrant wage labor since we moved into specialty production actually, before then in the 19 th Century. So, I think if we're concerned about ecological farming and social justice in farming, we need to create new imaginaries and not go back to a past that never was.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.