Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 441–456 | Cite as

Drawing lines in the cornfield: an analysis of discourse and identity relations across agri-food networks

  • Sarah RotzEmail author


In this article, I analyze discourse and identity relations within so-called ‘conventional’ agri-food networks as well as how the conventional sphere perceives, constructs and responds to alternative food movements in Canada. The paper is structured around three primary research questions: (1) How are conventional actors understanding conditions, changes, and challenges within conventional networks? (2) How do conventional actors apply this understanding in advancing conventional interests and discourses, and defending conventional networks? (3) How do conventional actors and discourse construct AFMs? For this research, I draw from survey, focus group, and in-depth interview data alongside text analysis from online sources. I elucidate the interests and motivations behind the identities, stories and messages emerging from the conventional sphere. I conclude that relationship building and communication between diverse agri-food actors may help to expand the range of agricultural knowledge, philosophies and solutions available to farmers, especially those whom are currently quite divided.


Agri-food networks Power Discourse Identity Conventional agriculture Alternative food movements (AFM) 



Alternative food movement


Decision support systems


Genetically modified organism


Farm Credit Canada


Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs



Thank you to the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions. As well, thank you to all of the research participants. This work is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships program (Grant No. CGV-SSHRC-00433).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada

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