Smallholders, Householders In America?

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Robert Nettings book, Smallholders, Householders: Farm Families and the Ecology of Intensive, Sustainable Agriculture, is a seminal work based on a broad collection of research and analysis by anthropologists, geographers, economists, agronomists, and historians. Utilizing the frameworks of Ester Boserups’ theory of agrarian change and Julian Stewards’ concept of cultural ecology as situated knowledge, Netting argues that intensive agriculture practices are rational adaptations in response to population growth and provide greater environmental protections than the energy- and chemical-dependent practices of industrial agriculture as well. After spending an entire book discussing case studies of smallholder, householder cultures in Africa, China, India, Indonesia and Switzerland, Netting finishes with the suggestion that smallholder, householder intensive practices can be utilized here in the United States. This project seeks to carry on that thought by exploring the possibility of an American smallholder lifestyle.

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