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New to Farming: Exploring the motivations and experiences of small-scale farmers in Nova Scotia
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The romanticism of rural landscapes was an essential aspect of the 1960s and 1970s back-to-the-land movement. Urbanites flocked to rural spaces as an escape from the plight of humanity in cities. In the contemporary back-to-the-land movement, perceptions of the rural utopian idyll influence the use of rural spaces. Farmers have the unique opportunity to express their conceptions of rural life through farming methods. This study explores the motivations, barriers and challenges of small-scale farming in Nova Scotia. Six neo-farmers, meaning those who do not come from family farming backgrounds, were interviewed about their experiences. Farmers belong to a community of small-scale, alternative producers that rely on markets and community-supported agriculture. There was a clear transition from understanding farming as a lifestyle choice versus farming as source of income. Farmers were predominately motivated by health and environmental concerns. This study also explores farmers’ attitudes toward farming as a political act.