Sustainable agriculture has historically primarily been investigated through an environmental scientific lens to investigate the impact of agriculture on the environment. Jane’s project takes a more humanistic view through critically exploring visual representations. Jane’s project examines a wider notion of sustainability to include economic and social as well as environmental.
Jane’s project investigates how (sustainable) agriculture is represented in wider society through different forms of visual media. Jane has a particular focus on broadcast television and critically analyses the context of these programmes. Through critically assessing these representations, Jane aims to explore how media could affect people’s views on sustainable agriculture.
Jane aims to highlight how the public explores notions of sustainability in agriculture and food production and how media engages with the public on issues surrounding sustainable agriculture.
Jane’s work contributes to the growing interest in how multi discourse is constructed by actors and their representatives, and assimilated to the public through text and visuals (in this case television). Jane aims to analyse this media to comprehensively understand and legitimatise responses or practices in relation to sustainable agriculture and other aspects of farming.
Jane has begun to examine television programmes ranging from repeats of This Farming Life, A year on the farm, Countryfile, Love in the Countryside, The Family Farm and Spring Time on the farm.
Jane has turned her attention to televised media due to 2017 statistics stating that on average each person watches three hours and 32 minutes of broadcast television per day (Ofcom). This does not include online services such as ‘on demand’.
One of Jane’s initial findings show that country life is often portrayed as ‘a way of life’, meaning that should hard working farmers not earn a fair living wage, this is glossed over in the media to maintain the image of the idyllic country life. She has also found that references to sustainability or responsible businesses focus on the environment, and tend to comment on the negative rather than the positive. There are little references to social elements, such as sustainable livelihood and the fabric of isolated rural communities.