The Relational Geography of Peri-urban Farmer Adaptation


  • Jill K. Clark Ohio State University
  • Darla K Munroe Ohio State University


Agricultural geographers have long focused on farm adaptation to changing conditions. One frame for examining these adaptations is the modified political economy approach, which attempts to reconcile the conceptual tension between farmers as individual agents found within broader industry structures by focusing on adjustment strategies on the farm which recognize the power farmers can exercise in response to broader economic pressures. We build on this approach by conceptualizing and visualizing the relational geography of four peri-urban farm cases in the United States based off of farm household interviews. We focus on the emergent positioning of peri-urban farmers within the structural conditions of local development pressure and global industrial agricultural markets, and the resultant ability of farmers to adapt in the future. An immediate application of this framework, given the interest in food systems, would be to better target policies and programs in peri-urban areas for the purpose of regional food system development or community-based agricultural economic development. Keywords: farmer adaptation, agriculture, relational economic geography, periurban, political economy