Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationWyoming, U. of
Grant numberGr. 9645
Approve DateApril 16, 2018
Project TitleJones, Bradley M., Washington U., St. Louis, MO - To aid research on 'Cultivating Skill, Growing Knowledge: A Comparative Study of Skilling Institutions in U.S. Alternative Agriculture,' supervised by Dr. Glenn D. Stone
BRADLEY M. JONES, then a graduate student at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, was awarded a grant in April 2018 to aid research on “Cultivating Skill, Growing Knowledge: A Comparative Study of Skilling Institutions in U.S. Alternative Agriculture,” supervised by Dr. Glenn D. Stone. This research ethnographically examined how U.S. alternative farmers develop, exchange, and apply agricultural knowledge in their efforts to cultivate alternative agrarian futures. Alternative farmers — rarely raised on farms or trained in agricultural colleges — frequently find that a lack of knowledge and farm management skill is an enormous obstacle to running a sustainable operation. As such, an extraordinary variety of institutions are emerging to meet skilling needs. Funding supported a comparative study of knowledge infrastructures in Central Appalachia and the Hudson Valley of New York that examined questions related to how alternative farmers construct and engage with institutions to acquire agricultural skill, how power relations impact the skilling process, and what forms of technical and cultural knowledge are mediated through these infrastructures, with what effects. Research findings offer important theoretical contributions on the dynamics of agricultural knowledge, the social relations of expertise, and the anthropology of apprenticeship while also offering significant practical contributions to the burgeoning alternative agricultural sector and movements for food sovereignty. Research shows that while U.S. alternative farmers routinely struggle in the face of myriad obstacles, emerging skilling infrastructures facilitate the reproduction of agricultural labor and knowledge, influencing processes of repeasantization and agrarian change while also impacting smallholder viability and human/environmental relations.