The social, cultural & technological impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic in family farming: the case of Washington State

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated transformations that we were expecting to happen in decades. The so-called "new normal" gave way to a covidianity characterized by structural instability affecting daily life, the fragility of economic systems and political cycles, speeding up technical shifts, and the dematerialization of human activity, caused by the increasing virtualization of a wide diversity of duties and processes. Even when the agricultural economic outlook illuminates some positive scenarios, farming is familiar with the whirlwind of uncertainties and challenges that have exponentially expanded by the dynamics emerging from the pandemic.

Digital technologies catalyze the complex process settled by the pandemic, with cultural, social and technological implications in family farming that this research aims to capture.

The main objective of the project is to identify the impacts of digital acceleration emerging from the pandemic in family farming and its specific challenges and opportunities for agrarian youth. The research followed a qualitative methodological approach, based on semi-structured interviews conducted with agricultors and organizations linked to family farming, living in rural, urban and/or peri-urban areas.

This report presents the main findings of the field work implemented in two selected regions of Washington State, between September-November 2021. As part of the field work, a total of 20 interviews were conducted with small farmers, local markets associations, farming related non-governmental organizations (NGO), libraries, educators and public bodies at the County, State and Federal level.

Recommended Citation

Centeno, M. & Garrido, M. (2022). The social, cultural & technological impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic in family farming: the case of Washington State. Technology & Social Change Group, University of Washington Information School.

Keywords

ict, family farming, youth, covid19, digital transformation, rural