The work that work does: how intrinsic and instrumental values are transformed into relational values through active work participation in Swiss community supported agriculture.

Published online
12 Oct 2023
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
People and Nature

Geissberger, S. & Chapman, M.
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Community supported agriculture (CSA) is an alternative food network that aims to enable sustainable and just food production by bringing consumers and producers together. One version of CSA (Solidarische Landwirtschaft in German or Solidarity Agriculture) requires active labour participation of members as part of the subscription price. This paper uses a relational values approach to explore what motivates members to join and participate in solidarity agriculture cooperatives and how the experience of participation changes their values and behaviour. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 21 members of three co-operatives and analysed using a grounded theory approach. Specifically, we applied the Syntax of Environmental Values Framework, developed by Deplazes-Zemp and Chapman. Results show that members typically hold strong intrinsic values regarding fair compensation for farmer's work and local environmental sustainability and instrumental values regarding food quality and healthy eating. We found that participation and work practices at the cooperative added to and changed values and behaviour through new relational connections to food, farmers and to nature via the agricultural landscape. These findings provide new insight into the ways that relational values can be adopted and more broadly on the relationship between values and behaviour. This paper concludes that values, especially relational values, can form and change through lived experiences. Our results can help guide programs aiming to foster pro-environmental values in a local population by highlighting one possible mechanism to do so.

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