In recent years, there have been an increasing number of new and beginning farmers popping across the United States. This Independent Study focuses on this new and beginning farmers' movement, sometimes referred to as the Greenhorn Movement. In addition to investigating how and why the movement is happening, I provide ethnographic insight into what this movement looks like at the ground level, through the eyes of 20 individual farmers. The academic literature discussed in this study centers around scholarly work on new and beginning farmers, networks and knowledge sharing within farmer communities, and connects them with that of other cross-cultural and transnational agrarian movements. Paired with the literature, I also utilize Emile Durkheim’s theory of mechanical versus organic solidarity as well as the recent theories of new peasantries as described by Jan Douwe van der Ploeg and Philip McMichael to explore how these new farmers are operating in our current globalized agricultural system. The data for this research was gathered through interviews with 20 farmers in Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. It is my hope that this study helps to fill in some gaps in the literature as they relate to this new movement as well as provide perspective on a paradigm shift that is currently occurring in our food system.


Mariola, Matthew


Environmental Studies; Sociology and Anthropology


Rural Sociology | Social and Cultural Anthropology


farms, new farmers, beginning farmers, greenhorns, rural social movements, knowledge, sustainability, alternative agriculture, peasants, new peasantries

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2014 Ellen Baird