Centre for International Environmental Studies
08 September 2020

Book Review: 'Organic sovereignties: struggles over farming in an age of free trade'

Shaila Seshia Galvin, faculty member with the CIES, has written a book review on 'Organic sovereignties: struggles over farming in an age of free trade'.


Organic farming has long spurred agrarian imaginaries of a socionatural habitus different from that afforded by forms of conventional agriculture. In the twenty first century, as the ecological impacts of sustained efforts to modernize and industrialize agriculture become more keenly felt and widely known, organic agriculture has also emerged as a fast-growing sector of expanding market opportunity. At this critical juncture, Guntra Aistara’s Organic Sovereignties deepens and refines understandings of contemporary organic movements positioned within agrarian landscapes undergoing political, economic, and social transformations. Aistara presents a carefully researched and nuanced account of how organic farmers in Latvia and Costa Rica navigate their ideals in tandem with new forms of regulation that have accompanied the former’s accession to the European Union (EU) and the latter’s incorporation into the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Drawing on more than nineteen months of fieldwork, her research makes an original and valuable contribution to a growing body of critical scholarship examining organic farming (Guthman 2004; Flachs 2019; Galvin forthcoming), fair trade (Jaffee 2007; Lyon 2011; Besky 2014), and sustainable agriculture (Sen 2017).

To read the full book review, please follow this link.