Transformations in Agricultural Non-waged Work: From Kinship to Intern and Volunteer Labor: A Research Brief
What is the relationship between unpaid and non-waged work and the survival, and even growth, of small- and medium-scale farms? This research brief examines this question through examining the growth of internships and volunteer positions (non-waged work) on ecologically oriented farms, with a focus on trends in Ontario, Canada. Through reporting on the qualitative and quantitative findings of our research, we track the decline of family labor throughout the broader agriculture sector and the emergence of new forms of non-waged work on ecological farms. We focus on the continuities and changes at play in shifting forms of farm work and discuss the new forms of knowledge exchange occurring on farms, the precarious economic situation of many farms, and the gendering of non-waged work. We conclude the brief by raising several challenging questions regarding the politics and sustainability of farmers' dependency on interns and volunteers.
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