, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 143-150

The cultural model of “the good farmer” and the environmental question in Finland

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Abstract

Farmers' relationship with nature isdetermined by the significance of agriculturefor human beings. When agriculture is definedas human activity that uses renewable naturalresources and aims to produce usable food andfiber products, agriculture is explicitlydefined as production. Farmers' relationshipwith nature is based on the principle ofproduction. This article discusses thecontradiction between the peasant values ofprotection of nature that many farmers inFinland still have and the environmental harmtheir production-oriented farming style causes.When farmers interpret their farming practicesas harmonious co-operation with nature, it isdifficult for them to see the polluting effectsof their work. Paul B. Thompson's suggestionthat three religious–philosophical doctrines(hard work, the doctrine of grace, and the mythof garden) have made it easy for farmers toadopt productionist farming strategy is used asa framework to interpret farmers' narrativesconcerning their relationship with nature. Theresearch is qualitative and biographical. Thedata include life stories and biographicaltexts farmers wrote for a competition in1997.