From Standard to Region-specific Monocrops

Localizing Industrial Agriculture through Microbes’ Taste of Place

Keywords: climate change, climate resilient crops, locally adapted crops, microbial seed treatments, plant-microbial interspecies associations, postfordist agriculture

Abstract

Industrial agriculture has promoted the expansion of monocrops around the world, aided by the circulation of highly standardized plant varieties. However, given the adverse environmental effects of this agricultural approach (such as genetic erosion) and the challenges posed by climate change, some biotech companies are trying to complexify industrial agriculture’s relationship to “place”. They are beginning to consider local particularities in the design of seed products. Focusing on the experience of an Argentinian biotech company, this article explores the creation of microbial seed treatments that claim to be “region-specific” and whose production is mediated by novel meta-genomic techniques. Through the notions of association and mediation, the article reflects on the diverse meanings of region-specificity (geographical, environmental, relational) that are mobilized in the creation of these products. In this way, the article highlights the role of computational technologies, plants, and microorganisms in the shaping of scientific and corporate meanings of place.

Author Biography

Diego Silva Garzón, Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy

Diego Silva Garzón is a research associate at the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy. His work is located at the intersection of science and technology studies, economic and legal anthropology, and agrarian studies, and pays special attention to the socio-technical networks and rural conflicts surrounding the deployment of agricultural innovations.

Published
2021-06-30
How to Cite
Silva Garzón, Diego. 2021. “From Standard to Region-Specific Monocrops: Localizing Industrial Agriculture through Microbes’ Taste of Place”. TSANTSA – Journal of the Swiss Anthropological Association 26 (June):18-36. https://doi.org/10.36950/tsantsa.2021.26.6921.