Page 1





Copyright © Field Notes: Journal of the McGill Undergraduate Geography Society, McGill University, Montréal, Canada, 2012. Editorial selection, compilation, and material © by the 2012 Editorial Board of Field Notes and its contributors. Field Notes is an academic journal of McGill University with submissions by undergraduate students. Printed and bound in Canada by Solutions Rubiks Inc. All rights reserved. Except for brief passages quoted and cited from external authors, no part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilized in any way or form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Field Notes is licensed under a Creative Commons AttributionNonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Special thanks to the Arts Undergraduate Society of McGill University, the Science Undergraduate Society of McGill University, and the McGill Geography Undergraduate Society for enabling us to publish this journal. Cover photo by Jeremy Keyzer.

FIELD NOTES J o u r n a l o f t h e M c G i l l U n d e rg r a d u a t e G e o g r a p h y S o c i e t y

EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Jeremy Keyzer & Matthew Shields UNDERGRADUATE EDITORS Courtney Claessens Katie Cundale Joshua Fagen Corey Lesk GRADUATE EDITORS Drew Bush Blanaid Donnelly Sarah Wilson DESIGN EDITORS Joseph Ariwi & Brendan Buchanan Dee


FROM THE EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Your Field Notes are scribbles, seldom worth the Moleskines they are written in. They are both free-flowing and cramped—filling the page and often filling the trash. And yet, your Field Notes are experimental, experiential. They are hard-fought and hard-won. They are sketched in ink, pencil, and dirt. They are grounded and geographic: they question what you encounter in environments both wild and tame. Within these pages are your Field Notes: redacted, scrubbed, and rescribbled. They are ambitious, insightful, and perhaps controversial. They communicate memory and power, morals and ethics, properties and processes: all mapped and considered within this idea we call space. They show your dedication and creativity abroad and at home. And although they are personal, they are also collaborative: marked by colleagues, instructors, professors, and staff, all who have encouraged and expected you to write— to understand. So, our dear collaborators, enjoy what follows and never stop scribbling. Jeremy Keyzer and Matthew Shields Editors-in-Chief


FIELD NOTES, VOLUME II The Dying Breed of Dive Bars: A Search for Urban Authenticity in the Montreal Nightscape SHARPE ZAYAS................................................................................................. 6

Reaching the Unreached Farmer: An Analysis of the Tamil Nadu Agricultural Extension System AUSTIN........................................................................................................... 14

Not a Scheduling Error: the Ethos of Patriotic Sacrifice as the Driving Force behind the Deliberate Juxtaposition of Israeli Remembrance Day and Independence Day GOLDSTEIN..................................................................................................... 32

Erosion Rates of Retrogressive Thaw Slumps, Herschel Island, Yukon Territories SIMPSON......................................................................................................... 44

Empowerment through Partnerships in International Development: A Case Study of Kibera, Kenya MELO.............................................................................................................. 52

Feeding a City: Urban Agriculture in MontrĂŠal HABERMAN, CANTER, CLERCQ, DREYER, GILLIES, PANCRAZI, RINNER, MARTELLOZZO............................................................................................... 68 OUR CONTRIBUTORS..................................................................................... 82

The Dying Breed of Dive Bars: A Search for Urban Authenticity in the Montreal Nightscape

MERCEDES SHARPE ZAYAS I Clutching the rickety banister, I warily climbed the worn, floral-carpeted stairs to the heart of Plage Montenegro. Tainted with a haze of smoke, the second-floor cove offered a warm sense of escape from the scantily clad crowds of St-Laurent. Splashes of bright blue paint across the ceilings starkly contrasted with the untouched dĂŠcor of decades past. Blue and red tube lights illuminated shelves of trinkets and liquors behind the bar. A lone multi-colored strobe light danced across the pool table, tucked away in the corner. A small, elevated platform hosted a chaotic ensemble of wooden tables and patent-leather chairs. Paintings of white sandy beaches and palm trees added a tacky touch to the nostalgic air. Entertained by the lone middle-aged bartender shaking his glossed curls and shouting along to the echoing sounds of 13th Floor Elevators, I approached the bar. With only two options for beer on tap, my decision was made easy. I engaged in a conversation with Soki, the character behind the bar, who lived up to his infamous reputation for pouring free drinks to young women while romanticizing his European roots. At the mention of my name, he began reminiscing on his travels in Frankfurt and the multitude of cars he wished to have owned. As he passed this discussion on with a group of young gents, I took a look around to observe the patrons of the bar. Breaking away from the typical club-centric clientele of the strip, Plage Montenegro was filled with an eclectic array of individuals brought together by cheap drinks. This study was completed in partial fulfillment of the course requirements of GEOG 331 Urban Social Geography.


A trendy French couple exchanged whispers of sweet nothings at the end of the wooden bar while group of clean-cut students played a round of pool. A solitary man sat in a back corner, haphazardly flipping his gaunt fingers through the pages of a weathered book. Following the lead of a curious figure in a beige trench coat, I entered the smoking room adjacent to the bar. The low ceilings and dim lighting immediately hit me with a pang of nostalgia for an unspoken history that I could not grasp. Glancing across the room, a collection of alternative styles caught my eye: a high bun of blonde dreadlocks and loose shawls of black fabric. Edgy ensembles were dulled to mere normative trends amongst the hip crowd, as clouds of smoke from separate tables melded into one. Greeted by the tender hum of friendly laughter, I struck up a few conversations of my own. I was taken aback by the ease with which customers would reveal their life stories. The term ‘liquid courage’ sprang to life as the man in the trench coat, Phil, discussed his contempt towards a recently married friend who was getting spun into a web of lies by a black widow. A down-and-out man exchanged a few poorly delivered jokes and mused over the olden days. A squeegee punk discussed the failures of his recent underground band. After my fill of banter and a wave of goodbyes, I gathered my belongings and descended the creaky stairs. II


he concept of urban authenticity is often misconstrued in the postmodern nightscape as a replicable aesthetic as opposed to a process of representation (Vannini & Williams, 2009). Over the past three decades, the social and economic restructuring of Montreal has been driven by the corporate guise of the cultural economy, followed by intercepting waves of gentrification (Leslie & Rantisi, 2006). As a result, a redefinition of the urban landscape has translated the nighttime economy into a dialogue of branded advertisements and a vernacular of exclusivity. One of the few drinking institutions that has managed to evade the hegemonic advances of mainstream commercial development is none other than the age-old dive bar. For some, these drinking establishments are seen as archa-

ic in contrast to the veneer of gentrified “brandscapes” (Chatterton & Hollands, 2003). For others, these misconceptions of blight are folded into a portrait of urban authenticity, inspiring nostalgia for an unspoken history. For the purpose of this paper, the latter opinion will be examined to reveal the role of neighbourhood dives as public locales of urban authenticity within Andy Merrifield’s (2002) postmodern, dystopian framework. Through an examination of four Montreal dive bars, this paper will explore how an authentic role is maintained in the postmodern nightscape using Oldenburg’s (1989) concept of the ‘third place’, along with the relationship between the historical strongholds of representational space and their subculture followings as forms of urban resistance. FIELD NOTES | VOL II | 7


Many traditional drinking institutions became susceptible to capitalist citybranding techniques wearing the guise of ‘culture’ during the budding trend of gentrification in the late twentieth century (Lloyd, 2006). In his ethnographic study of Wicker Park in Chicago, Richard Lloyd (2006) exposed how the pursuit of urban authenticity turned elements of the metropolitan experience that would normally be considered as aesthetic blight into “symbols of the desire to master an environment characterized by marginality and social instability” (Lloyd, 2006, p. 90). Montreal’s spaces for creative production and cultural consumption have moved towards the glorification of the gritty urban street, as can be seen in the spread of quasi-legal loft venues in Griffintown and the Mile End (Evans, 2009, p. 1031). The perception of ‘grit as glamour’, as developed by Lloyd (2006), has shifted representations of stagnant decay from fearful images of repulsion to ones of curiosity and desire. This “perverse allure of urban hell” (Merrifield, 2002, p. 102) is central to Merrifield’s discussion of dystopian urbanism, a concept that pertains to the paradoxical appeal of disorder in the city. Gentrification capitalizes on dystopian urbanites through the commodification of their attraction to seedy areas, creating “aesthetic representations that evoke that glamour of urban instability, available to be consumed at a safe distance” (Lloyd, 2006, p. 100). Although a dystopian paradox conforms with the metamorphosis of Montreal’s nightscape, it retains a single caveat: that the gentrified remodeling of old buildings and businesses in the name of authenticity must not be mistaken with genuine artifacts of the city’s past. Authenticity is not so much a state of being as it is the cultural “objectifica-


tion of a process of representation” (Vannini & Wiliams, 2009, p. 3), referring to a set of qualities that are ideologically determined as they develop over time. Therefore, authenticity cannot merely be replicated and distributed in the fashion of mass-production. When authenticity is branded, it becomes “a hook employed either to sell products and services, or a hegemonic discourse through which various ideologies are articulated” (Ibid., p. 10). As revealed in the opening vignette, the placement of Plage Montenegro along the gentrified brandscape of Boulevard StLaurent throws the question of branded authenticity and true authenticity into stark contrast. True authenticity arises when a relationship between culture and place is invoked “through discourse of cultural-spatial specificity and resurgence of the real” (Degirmency, 2011, p. 3). This evasion of postmodern capitalistic pursuits in the name of authenticity is a central characteristic of dive bars, as will be revealed in the subsequent descriptions of local Montreal dives, including Primetime, Le Black Jack, Aux Verres Stérilisés, and the aforementioned Plage Montenegro. Chatterton and Hollands (2003) regard these bars as “residual spaces [that have] counter-hegemonic, resistant ideologies committed to identity and community” (p. 204). While dive bars are spaces of consumption, which Chatterton and Hollands (2003) accuse of being potential components of social exclusion, the dive’s central aim is to create an environment of inclusivity as opposed to the “excessive hedonism and forceful consumer power” (p. 175) prevalent in the corporate nightlife. Therefore, dive bars stand out among the night scene not only due to their laid-back atmosphere and cheap beer, but also due to a perceived sense of community for all walks of society.


Oldenburg (1989) defines the third place as a neutral space available to the public as an alternative to the first place (home) and the second place (work). These alternatives “provide the dynamics necessary to produce an engaging informal public life” (Oldenburg, 1989, p. 14), thereby offering a solution to the problem of urban isolation in North American cities. Historically, pubs and taverns were gendered spaces that “served as [a] centre for conviviality, political discussion and the rituals of drinking through which men affirmed in shared communion a collective identity” (Chatterton & Hollands, 2003, p. 179) Today, although dive bars are no longer central nodes of community discourse, they continue to act as unconventional public spheres of local vitality and inclusivity. Beyond the discursive potential of contemporary third places, “a transformation must occur as one passes through the portals of a third place... in order that all within may be equals” (Oldenburg, 1989, p. 25). By creating a space of sociality and reciprocity, Montreal dive bars foster the development of a neighbourhood identity that is accessible to all members, regardless of income or political beliefs. During a cool winter’s night out at Bar Primetime, located on the corner of Parc and Saint-Joseph, I sat along the worn wooden bar next to a well-dressed man by the name of Marco, who claimed to be a “secret partner” of the business. “It’s the politics of dive bars that give them their character,” he explained, “these face to face interactions between the patron and the owner create authenticity.” Jared Anderson (personal communication, November 12, 2012), a burlap-clad young construction worker from Regina who recently became a regular at Primetime, discusses the

merit of these neutral grounds: You see, a dive bar doesn’t necessarily mean a shitty bar – it means a place where there’s a community, where the regulars come back day-by-day to catch up. People’s interpretations of these bars all have to do with perceptions. If you take it at face value, and see these old men who come back every day, it might seem kind of sad. But if you really engage in the spirit and the politics of the place and get to hear their stories, you realize that it’s a rare treasure. When I ventured out to St. Henri, a similar trend towards neighbourhood identity was taking place. The waitress at Le Black Jack Bar would go back and forth between answering my questions and fact checking with the regulars. The uninhibited dialogues, though trivial in nature, created an unconventional sense of community.


Looking beyond the welcoming atmosphere of dive bars, a new story emerges regarding the physical role of these institutions on the street within the postmodern wave of trendy shops and cafes. In their attempt to remain true to the working-class roots of the neighbourhood, rustic dive bars have become unconventional historical artifacts, scattering obscured chronicles of drinking cultures across the city. For instance, the bartender at Aux Verres Stérilisés described how the advent of advanced dishware sanitation in the early twentieth century was a major attraction for drinking establishments in Montreal. Taverns in the 1930s and 1940s would hang large billboards boasting “Verres Stérilisés” to all who walked FIELD NOTES | VOL II | 9

the streets. Yet as the years moved on and industrial capitalism faded, these working class taverns were torn down, one by one, until only the façade of “Aux Verres Stérilisés” remained on the corner of St. Hubert and Rachel. “This bar has been open since the 1940s, passed down from grandfather to father to son,” the bartender explained in broken English, “People are gathering from the neighbourhood, they’re drawn by the conversations and the cheap drinks” (personal communication, November 12, 2012). Using Lefebvre’s (1974) theory of social space, the representational space of a dive bar anchors its roots in the neighbourhood history, thereby resisting postmodern representations of space. Richard Lloyd (2006) describes the phenomenon as “collective cultural construction of ‘the city of feeling’ that interacts with the historically shifting ‘city of fact’” (p. 84). The symbolic development of authenticity, therefore, seeps into perceived space and gives it meaning, as can be seen in the heart of the Montreal Plateau. The St-Laurent strip used to home various European immigrant communities. The original owner of Plage Montenegro explained that the bar was originally opened under the name Dalmatian Restaurant in 1969, acting as a major social hub for Croatian immigrants. Not only was the original owner married on the premises when he opened the bar, but he passed the ownership onto a friend when he divorced in 1981. Although an eclectic clientele now occupies the bar, the nostalgic character of the floral-carpeted, second-floor cove remains strong, perhaps associated with the tragically romantic tale attached to the ownership. A similar trend of immigrant displacement took place on Parc Avenue, as explained by Primetime patron Neal Wilder, who took a break from his game of pool to give me a brief history of the street, “All of 10 | SHARPE ZAYAS

Parc used to be owned by the Greeks, with parts of it being bought out by the Jewish communities. It wasn’t until the past 10 or 15 years, though, that you began to notice a real change (personal communication, November 12, 2012). He recalled how a wave of traditional shops closed down, as the rents were driven up and storeowners could no longer afford their units. Primetime was one of the few bars that managed to resist the push of gentrification. How do these dive bars manage to retain a foothold in the changing urban landscape? The answer brings us back to the concept of dystopian urbanism and the irrevocably blurred boundaries between virtue and vice in the postmodern city. The limited profits accrued from video lottery terminals, jukeboxes, pool matches, and inexpensive drinks suggest alternative means of income to sustain business, often treading into illegal territories. “It’s a controlled environment, but it’s corrupt,” Wilder hinted. Fortunately for the dives, dystopian representations of the urban city often entice the younger crowds in search for a cheap thrill.


A common trend amongst dive bars is the dichotomy between the clientele – the combination of the alternative youth culture and older downtrodden men creates a sense of authenticity. When asked about the clientele at Le Black Jack Bar in St. Henri, the waitress replied with a smirk, “Mostly weird and lonely.” After serving a couple of drinks, she came back with an anticipated remark, “There’s also a regular McGill crowd – the two groups usually strike up an odd but lively conversation, and it brightens up the place” (personal communication, November 12, 2012). Although dive bars were created to meet

the leisure needs of the working classes, these residual nightlife spaces continue to play a vital role in terms of meeting the entertainment and leisure of younger crowds, “especially as alternative, deviant and counter-cultural fashions are commodified and the underground is pushed overground” (Chatterton & Hollands, 2003, p. 203). Dive bars and gritty chic hangouts tend to be the breeding ground of emerging subcultures, such as Lloyd’s (2006) contemporary neo-bohemian emergence. In my own experience, I have attended several poetry readings and writing group meetings in the grimy smoking room of Plage Montenegro. With its low ceilings and dim lighting, the hazy den evokes an image of beatnik jazz clubs of the 1960s or the Parisian cafés of the lost generation. The younger, artistic clientele often seek out urban grittiness as a source of inspiration, united by their consumption of authenticity. The main concern with this trend is that “alternative consumption becomes a means of excluding others from their space” (Zukin, 2008, p. 745). This exclusionary process would drive out the older clientele, tarnish the authenticity of the dive bar, and threaten its position as a third place. As Marco warned, “The real problem arises when you reach a certain carrying capacity. If too many students started coming to Primetime, it would no longer be true to itself. It would kill the spirit” (personal communication, November 12, 2012). As a result, these holes-in-the-wall must limit their advertising schemes to word of mouth and unassuming awnings. It’s a strategic game of survival, maintained by an age-old cautionary tale: With any public declaration of authenticity, an obituary is soon to follow.


With its quintessential image of rustic grit, the neighbourhood dive can be perceived as either appealing or appalling; but what puts these dives on the “cuttingedge” of the fast-paced, post-industrial bar-scene is, ironically enough, their resistance to the forefront of change. These alternative nightlife spaces are not the work of designers or expert mixologists. Rather, they are socially constructed and collectively imagined by a marginal voice – those members of the community who may elsewhere feel isolated, but here feel at home – evoking a strong sense of place beyond their gritty façades. Without the eclectic clientele, the aesthetic of urban authenticity would be lost and lead to submission towards gentrification. Without these third places, the historical roots of a community would be lost and no longer able to tell a tale. Therefore, the rustic dive bar contributes to the diversity of a neighbourhood by preventing homogenization, providing an unorthodox sense of inclusion, and establishing a framework for the construction of authenticity.

REFERENCES Chatterton, P., & Hollands, R. (2003). Urban nightscapes: youth cultures, pleasure spaces and corporate power. London: Routledge. Degirmenci, K. (2011). Urban Aesthetics and Postmodernity – The Quest for Authenticity and the Search for the ‘Real’ in Urban Spaces. Kayseri, Turkey: Erciyes University. Evans, G. (2009). Creative Cities, Creative Spaces and Urban Policy. Urban Studies, 46, 1003-1040. Lefebvre, H. (1974). The Production of Space. Oxford, UK: Blackwell. Leslie, D., & Rantisi, N. (2006). Governing the design economy in Montréal, Canada. Urban Affairs Review, 41(3), 309-337.


Lloyd, R. (2006). Neo-bohemia: Art and commerce in the postindustrial city. New York: Routledge. Merrifield, A. (2002). Dialectical urbanism: social struggles in the capitalist city. New York: Monthly Review Press. Oldenburg, R. (1989). The great good place: Cafes, coffee shops, community centers, beauty parlors, general stores, bars, hangouts, and how they get you through the day. New York: Paragon House. Vannini, P., & Williams, J. (2009). Authenticity in culture, self, and society. Farnham, UK: Ashgate. Zukin, S. (2008). Consuming Authenticity Cultural Studies, 22(5), 724-748.



Reaching the Unreached Farmer: An Analysis of the Tamil Nadu Agricultural Extension System STEPHANIE AUSTIN Farmers in Tamil Nadu, India, work in a challenging context of water shortages, power shortages and labour shortages. In order to reduce poverty and vulnerability among rural populations, farmers need a strong government agricultural extension system to provide information, training and subsidies. The focus of this paper is the disconnect between Tamil Nadu farmers and the agricultural extension system. Data was collected in June and July of 2012 by an NGO the Association for India’s Development (AID India) in the Tiruchirappalli district of Tamil Nadu, then statistically analyzed using ordered logit regression models, logit regression models and Chi-square analysis. Results of the statistical analysis show that farmers who have more education and larger farms are being better reached by the agricultural extension system and that contact with the agricultural extension system does not vary significantly by village. Farmers who have more education and larger farms are more likely to be reached by the extension system because they are easier to access, more able to take advantage of extension services, and they are less risk averse than small and marginal farmers. To bridge the disconnect between unreached farmers, who have less formal education and smaller farms, and the agricultural extension system, the extension system must develop to become pluralistic, demand driven, and to implement high quality schemes. Improving disadvantaged farmers’ livelihoods will have positive impacts on rural development through broader linkages with education, health, and rural poverty reduction.


This study was completed in partial fulfillment of the course requirements of INTD 499 Internship: International Development.



overnment agricultural extension systems are designed to disseminate information to farmers, guide farmers in decision making, improve farmers’ capacity and ability to access information and more broadly, to stimulate agricultural development (Sulaiman & Holt, 2002; Anderson & Feder, 2004). In India, the agricultural extension system is implemented at the state level. Extension personnel work at the district and block level (a block is the administrative level between district and village) within the state to locally provide services and support to farmers (Glendenning, Babu & Asenso-Okyere, 2010). In the last few decades, the Indian agricultural extension system has reformed from the World Bank supported Training and Visit system in the 1980s, to a more decentralized system striving for a participatory and demanddriven structure (Sulaiman & Holt, 2002; Birner & Anderson, 2007; Glendenning et al., 2010). Despite these changes, the extension system is still heavily criticized, for poor outreach, low budgets, insufficient staff, and for not incorporating farmer feedback. All of these factors lead to a disconnect between the services and information provided, and what is needed (Glendenning et al., 2010). This study was conducted in the Tiruchirappalli district, located in central Tamil Nadu and one of its 22 districts (Figure 1). The district’s population is 2.4 million people, and is also commonly known as Trichy and Tiruchi (Government of India, 2001). Farmers in this district face three main problems: labour shortages, water shortages and power shortages. Hired agricultural labourers are leaving the fields to seek better-paying, locally available, jobs like carpentry and plumbing. This is driven by permanent stable employment opportunities elsewhere and perceptions that agricultural

labour is a low-esteem occupation. They are leaving because they want more permanent and steady employment than seasonal agricultural work, and because of the common perception that agricultural labour is a low-esteem occupation (Prabakar et al., 2011). Tiruchirappalli district is subject to seasonally severe water shortages caused by restrictions from the Krishna Raja Sagar dam on the Cauvery River in Karnataka state (Bosu, 1995). In addition, the entire state is characterized by extreme power shortages and where electricity is unavailable for up to 12 hours a day (Ramakrishnan, 2012). Many farmers in Tamil Nadu use borewells for irrigation. However, without power, the motors that drive the irrigation systems are useless. The irregular timing of power cuts may mean that irrigation is only available at inappropriate times such as late at night or during the hottest part of the day. The direct water shortages from the dam and the indirect water shortages

Figure 1. Map of India. Tamil Nadu state highlighted in red, Tiruchirappalli district highlighted in yellow (source: Wikimedia/PlaneMad, 2008; edited by author) FIELD NOTES | VOL II | 15

from the power cuts can be detrimental for both agricultural livelihoods and productivity. Economic liberalization, implemented in India in 1991, opened India’s economy to foreign investment and promoted increased imports and exports (Chamarbagwala, 2006). As a result, farmers are faced with increased rural market penetration, stricter product quality requirements and price volatility. Under these circumstances, farmers increasingly need a strong agricultural extension system to help them adapt and thrive in face of domestically and internationally induced challenges. In this paper I aim to analyze the disconnect between farmers and agricultural extension system by answering the following four research questions: 1. Who is and who is not being reached by agricultural extension system? 2. Does contact with the agricultural extension office vary by village? 3. Where differences exist, why are some farmers and villages being reached better by the extension system than others? 4. How can underserved farmers be targeted better by the extension system? In this paper I will give an overview of the origins and current approaches of the Indian agricultural extension system, farmers’ sources of information, farmers’ need for extension services, and criticisms of the system. I will then present the methodology and results closing with a discussion of the results, policy implications, and limitations of the study. 16 | AUSTIN

LITERATURE REVIEW Origins of the Indian agricultural extension system

Prior to Indian Independence in 1947, efforts to create a new extension system were mostly local. Little progress was made until the 1960s when several new extension programs were formed and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) became involved with the extension system (Sulaiman & Holt, 2002). Around the same time, the government began using mass media such as radio stations to disseminate information to farmers (ibid.). In the 1980s, most state agricultural extension systems adopted the World Bank funded Training and Visit system, which became instrumental in disseminating Green Revolution technology (Sulaiman & Holt, 2002; Birner & Anderson, 2007). The main components of the Training and Visit system were fortnightly training sessions and bi-weekly meetings with a set list of farmer contacts, who in turn were meant to spread the information to fellow farmers (Feder & Slade, 1986; Anderson, Feder & Ganguly, 2006). This approach brought about regionally mixed results for productivity, and often did not benefit those in rainfed areas (Birner & Anderson, 2007). Ultimately, the Training and Visit extension system was deemed unsustainable, largely due to its high costs (Anderson et al., 2006; Glendenning et al., 2010). Moore (1984), a staunch critic of the World Bank, argues that the Training and Visit program did not produce any positive results and that it is another example of the World Bank employing ineffective ‘one size fits all’ capital-intensive projects. By the 1990s, funding was no longer available for the Training and Visit system and many states decentralized by giving extension responsibilities to local elected bodies. After market liberalization, the state

began decreasing public-sector services, and experimenting with new ways to deliver agricultural extension (Sulaiman & Holt, 2002). Current approaches to agricultural extension services

Following global trends in extension system reforms, the current approach of the Indian system focuses on decentralization, contracting, privatization, and involvement of NGOs and farmer-based organizations. It aims to be more participatory and demand-driven (Birner & Anderson, 2007; Raabe, 2008; Glendenning et al., 2010). Rather than limiting extension services to on-farm only, agricultural extension is now made up of all the organizations that are designed to help farmers solve problems, access markets, get information, acquire skills, adopt technology and improve livelihoods. The goal of the extension system is to not only to improve production through technology transfer, but also to improve human capital, such as education, skills and health (Ellis, 2000; Glendenning et al., 2010). In 2000, the Extension Division of the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation of the Ministry of Agriculture released a draft of the Policy Framework for Agricultural Extension, which emphasized a move toward pluralistic agricultural extension, demand-driven services and farmer accountability (Government of India, 2000). This Policy Framework is the basis for India’s extension policy, and guides the state extension systems (Birner & Anderson, 2007). Increasingly, private extension organizations (profit and nonprofit) are providing extension and support to farmers (Sulaiman & Holt, 2002).

Sources of information for farmers

In a survey of 51,770 farmer households conducted by the Government of

India’s National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO, 2005), nearly 60% of respondents had not accessed any sources for information on modern agricultural technology. 16.7% got their information from other progressive farmers, 13.1% from input dealers (such as shopkeepers), 13.0% from the radio, 9.3% from television, 7.0% from newspapers, and only 5.7% went to extension workers for information on modern agricultural technology. They also found a relationship between farm size and information source. Small and marginal farmers most often got their information from other farmers, shopkeepers and the radio, while medium and large farmers got their information from the television and newspapers (NSSO, 2005; Adhiguru, Birthal & Ganesh Kumar, 2009). Farmers’ need for agricultural extension services Agricultural extension services are necessary to help farmers face modern-day challenges and to reduce rural poverty, however farmer needs can vary significantly both geographically and socioeconomically (Sulaiman & Holt, 2002; Birner & Anderson, 2007; Glendenning et al., 2010). To surmount the challenges of rural market penetration, rigid product quality requirements and price volatility posed by economic liberalization, farmers need access to prompt and reliable information and support. Further, farmers need information to benefit from increased food prices (Glendenning et al., 2010). A once common perception was that agricultural food production must be increased in order to reduce rural poverty and to improve food security (Birner & Anderson, 2007; Glendenning et al., 2010). In the 1990s, policy focus shifted to reducing poverty levels because, as Sulaiman & Holt (2002) found, some districts have both high productivity and high poverty levels, indicating that increasing agricultural productivFIELD NOTES | VOL II | 17

ity alone is not enough to reduce poverty. Additionally, technologies must be suited to the region and to the farmers’ level of risk aversion (Glendenning et al., 2010). Given the array of challenges faced by farmers and the need for more than agricultural productivity to decrease poverty, extension support must now include a broader range of services including: appropriate choice of technology (relative to available capital, labour, land and knowledge); management of technologies; decisions about how and when to change agricultural practices; assessing international and domestic market demands and product quality criteria; locating reputable input suppliers and forging relationships with them; facilitating cooperation between small farmers; and examining possibilities for off-farm and non-farm labour. Often productivity can only be increased to a certain level until necessary institutions, such as the extension system, are strengthened for access to information, inputs and services (Sulaiman & Holt, 2002). In summary, Birner & Anderson argue that “[f ]armers need to be supported with information, knowledge, and the skills to adopt improved technologies that result in improved farming with characteristics that are productivity enhancing, vulnerability reducing, and employment creating” (2007, p. 16). Weaknesses of the current approach The agricultural extension system is

criticized for overburdening extension officers, being poorly organized structurally, not incorporating farmers’ feedback and being biased towards certain regions or groups of farmers (Adhiguru et al., 2009; Glendenning et al., 2010). Extension workers are overburdened, and must attempt to adapt both central and state agricultural schemes to local contexts. Most extension officers do not want to work in remote posts, seen as ‘punishment postings,’ so these posts are left vacant or employed by unskilled personnel who are not well suited to the position. In the extension system, most of the budget is allocated to paying salaries, which leaves insufficient funds for operational costs and training. The Department of Agriculture cannot afford to visit farmers’ fields anymore. One estimate suggests there are 100 000 extension workers working where there should be 1.3 to 1.5 million. Consequently, the extension system is known for its poor outreach and low access levels. Despite the broader range of services needed by farmers and advertised in its policy frameworks, the extension system continues to be criticized for focusing almost exclusively on on-farm information and training and activities, without providing support and information on broader farmer issues such as accessing the market (Glendenning et al., 2010). The link is weak between the state Department of Agriculture, who gives

Figure 2. Information flow in the extension activities of the state Departments of Agriculture (adapted from Glendenning et al., 2010) 18 | AUSTIN

information to district level extension officers (Figure 2), and the Indian council for Agricultural Research (ICAR), where the Department of Agriculture receives its information, which leads to a lack of coordination (Adhiguru, Birthal & Kumar, 2009; Glendenning et al., 2010). The extension system is also criticized for its one directional, top-down information flow and for not incorporating stakeholder perspectives (Figure 2). This arrangement places all the importance on the research of scientists who have little field exposure, and makes the farmers, the natural agricultural experts, passive actors who are unable to give feedback. Extension workers have no accountability to farmers. In spite of the emphasis on a shift toward demand-driven extension in the Policy Framework for Agricultural Extension, in reality information is given based on supply, not need. Farmers often complain about the poor quality and reliability of information given (Glendenning et al., 2010). The NSSO Situation Assessment Survey of Farmers (2005) found low levels of adoption of technology, indicating either a disconnect between the services and information provided and what is actually needed by the farmers, or inadequate contact between farmers and the extension office, or both (Glendenning et al., 2010). As previously mentioned, the extension system is the main source of information for only 5.7% of households in the NSSO sample (2005). Adhiguru, Birthal & Kumar (2009) argue this percentage may be so low because the extension workforce is too small, the bodies within the extension system function under operational autonomy, and from competition from other sources of information such as input dealers and other farmers. Government policies, including the extension system, also sometimes neglect certain geographic areas relative to others, although disparities

in benefits may be a consequence of weak implementation rather than selective policies (Sulaiman & Holt, 2002). Finally, the Indian extension system is criticized for being biased against small farmers since more large farmers get information from extension workers more than small or medium farmers (NSSO, 2005; Adhiguru et al., 2009). The extension system’s main weaknesses are its overburdened extension officers, structural inefficiency, lack of farmers’ feedback in planning and its bias towards certain regions or groups of farmers (Adhiguru et al., 2009; Glendenning et al., 2010).

METHODOLOGY Data summary

The data used in this study was collected during June and July of 2012 by the Association for India’s Development (AID India) in the Tiruchirappalli district of Tamil Nadu in Southern India. Four villages were included from the Lalgudi block (highlighted in blue on Figure 3)

Figure 3. Map of Tiruchirrappalli District (source: Tiruchirappalli District Government; edited by author) FIELD NOTES | VOL II | 19

in Tiruchirapalli District, and 114 farmers were interviewed in total. The data was collected through face-to-face interviews using an 86 question survey by three interns from McGill University, Canada, including the author of this paper, supervised by the AID India’s Director of Livelihoods. The survey was quantitative, where responses were either multiple choice or numerical, with the exception of two short answer questions. The survey was designed to examine the farmer’s background, their general agricultural practices, how they accesses equipment and farm inputs, their knowledge of government agricultural schemes and whether he or she has benefitted from them, his or her level of contact with the government agricultural extension office, and to understand what they believe are the main problems in agriculture and with the government agricultural schemes. Systematic sampling was used to select households. Every second, third or fifth household was selected depending on the size of the village, so that the total number of respondents from each of the four villages would be approximately 30 farmers. If a household selected did not own or rent land or were not home, that household was skipped. Measures Three dependent variables are used to answer the question “who is and who is not being reached by the agricultural extension system?. First, the number of times the farmer visited the agricultural extension office in the last year (“office visit”), coded as “0”. “1 to 2”. “3 to 4”. “5 to 6” and “7 or more”. The second variable is a dichotomous variable with a positive outcome associated with an extension officer having visited the farm in the past year (“farm visit”), and finally, the last dependent variable is also a dichotomous variable, with a positive outcome associated with the farmer having contact 20 | AUSTIN

with the agricultural extension officer in the last year (“extension officer contact”). Contact with the with the agricultural extension office may be by telephone, at the agricultural extension office, at a demonstration or training session, at the farmer’s farm, at a village meeting, or through a family member who works at the extension office. “Do not know” and “did not answer” responses were removed from the outcome variables for analysis. Three independent variables are used in this study. first, education level attained, coded as “no schooling to 4th standard1”, “5th to 8th standard”, “9th to 12th standard” and “post-secondary”. second, farm size, coded as marginal (less than 2 acres), small (2 to 5 acres), medium (5 to 10 acres), and large (more than 10 acres). finally, caste, coded as a dichotomous variables due to the small number of samples in each category. The castes are coded as “scheduled caste (SC)/scheduled tribe(ST)/most backward caste (MBC)” and “backward caste (BC)/forward caste (FC),” categories typically used by the Government of Tamil Nadu (Government of Tamil Nadu, 2006). Coding it as an ordinal variable for analysis would imply that there is a ranked hierarchy among the castes, and that one is inherently “better” than another. Membership in a farmers’ group, farmer’s cooperative or farmers’ interest group is also controlled for as a potential moderator, since some government agricultural schemes require membership to be eligible for the scheme, and farmers’ groups are sometimes formed through the agricultural extension office. A final categorical variable to be used only in the Chi-square test is number of In India, the school grades or levels are called standards. For example 8th grade in Canada is 8th standard in India, thus 12th standard is high school graduation. The term standard will be used throughout this paper.


respondents in each of the four villages against the dichotomous “extension officer contact” variable, to determine if the level of contact with the agricultural extension officers varied by village. Analytic strategy Ordered logit regression models and logit regression models were used to test the strength of each of the independent variables for predicting the dependent variables, and the Chi-Square test to examine the differences in level of contact with the agricultural extension office by village. Ordered logit regression models were used were used for the first dependent variable, “office visit,” since it is an ordinal variable, meaning it has ranked values, while logit regression models were used for the two dichotomous dependent variables “farm visit” and “extension officer contact.. Logit averages the coefficients for the independent variables across all possible cumulative logit so all of the information in the dependent ordered data gets used. The logit models, with odds ratio results, determine the odds of an increase in the dependent variable for every unit of increase of each of the independent variables. Chi-square analysis was used to test whether contact with the agricultural extension office (“extension officer contact”) is independent of residence in a particular village. All analysis was conducted using the STATA 11.2 statistical package. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the farmers’ opinions of the problems with the government agricultural schemes. Ethics and positionality Issues of power and positionality must be considered in this paper. One of the interns from McGill University, Malavika, was born in Tamil Nadu and raised in the Middle East, while the other McGill intern, Rebecca, and I were born in Canada. Malavika speaks Tamil and translated all of the interviews. As foreigners and guests,

we were treated with great hospitality and respect, and were in a position of power relative to many of the illiterate, poor farmers. Despite our assurance that households were not obligated to participate in our survey, they may have felt obliged to do so. Though the role of a researcher as insider or outsider should be considered a spectrum rather than a binary, we were on the outsider end of the spectrum (Valentine, 2002). Many of the respondents identified with Malavika through their common heritage; however Rebecca and I had few points of shared identity with the respondents, except for gender when interviewing female farmers. In several villages, locals asked us for financial assistance. Under such circumstances it is possible interview biased caused subjects altered their responses to be what they thought we wanted to hear, or to make us more likely to assist them. Had the interviewers been three Tamil men from AID India instead of three (mostly) foreign female students the results would likely have varied. Furthermore, from our own cultural upbringings and perspectives, we may have misinterpreted some responses and/or taken them out of context inadvertently. Jayaram Venkatesan, Director of Livelihoods at AID India, gave his permission for the data collected to be used for this paper. Ethics approval for secondary data analysis of the data collected by AID India was also received for this project through the McGill Research Ethics Board. Limitations

The main limitations in this study were the small sample size, the lack of nuance in quantitative analysis, the inability to examine the role of social networks and gender in this paper, and the lack of literature. The small sample size creates challenges for generalizing the results to FIELD NOTES | VOL II | 21

a larger population, however given time restraints we were unable to extend data collection. Due to the nature of quantitative data and analysis, it is difficult to explore the reasons why some farmers are in contact with the agricultural extension system while others are not. To answer the question “Why are some farmers better reached by the agricultural extension system than others?” we must rely on speculation, sparse literature and previous quantitative studies. From the data and literature available I was unable to explore the role of social networks and gender in this paper. Social connections may be an important factor in who is in contact with the agricultural extension system; however there was only a brief discussion of it in one article about the Training and Visit approach (Feder & Slade, 1986). There Feder & Slade comment on the inevitability that contact farmers may selected at times by extension workers based on personal preferences and social connection (1986). With the exception of Sulaiman & Hall’s reference (2002) to Section 3.3.7 of the Policy Framework for Agricultural Extension, titled “Mainstreaming Women in Agriculture,” there is no mention of gender in the literature on the Indian agriculture extension experience. This section of the Framework highlights the male bias in the extension system and the need to target women, however their policy suggestions, such as “appropriate training/ sensitization of extension personnel towards the role of women in the total agriculture system” (Government of India, 2000: Section 3.37), are unlikely to be effective in the Indian male-dominated society without changing broader societal perspectives on gender. Many gaps exist in the Indian agricultural extension system literature, including social networks, gender, and a more nuanced perspective of who is being reached by the extension 22 | AUSTIN

system and why. The articles and reports that are available on the agricultural extension system are predominantly gray literature from the World Bank and the International Food Policy Research Institute. It is potentially problematic that a vast amount of the literature on the World Bank funded Training and Visit system is coming from the World Bank itself (Feder & Slade, 1986; Anderson & Feder, 2004; Anderson et al., 2006). Future studies should attempt to bridge these gaps in the literature and also embark upon qualitative research or mixed methods approaches to better understand the processes behind the disconnect between farmers and the extension system, as well as to examine the experiences of both farmers and extension workers (Creswell, 2002).

RESULTS Ordinal logistic regression model for office visits

The odds ratio of caste is 0.81 (confidence interval (CI) 0.28-2.37, p-value 0.697), indicating that a one level increase in caste category (therefore being a member of a BC or FC caste instead of a SC, ST or MBC caste) is associated, on average, with a 0.81 increase in the odds of visiting the extension office, adjusting for education, farm size and membership in a farmers’ group. A one level increase in education level (for example from the 9th to 12th standard category to postsecondary education) is associated, on average, with a 3.01 increase (CI 1.50-6.06, p-value 0.002) in the odds of visiting the extension office, adjusting for caste, farm size and membership in a farmers’ group. A one level increase in farm size (for example from marginal farmer to small farmer) is associated, on average, with a 2.40 increase in the odds of visiting the extension office, adjusting for caste, education and membership in a farmers’ group. The odds ratio of membership in a farmers’ group is

0.68 (CI 0.17-2.66, p-value 0.575), indicating that a one level increase in membership in a farmers’ group (thus being a member of a farmers’ group rather than not) is associated, on average, with a 0.67 decrease in the odds of visiting the extension office but this value is non-significant. The p-values of education and farm size are less than 0.05 and their confidence intervals do not cross one, indicating that these two variables are significant predictors of visiting the agricultural extension office. Meanwhile, the p-values of caste and membership in a farmers’ group are above 0.05 and their confidence intervals cross one, indicating that they are not significant predictors of visiting the agricultural extension office. The p-value for the overall model is less than 0.001, which is less than 0.05, indicating that the model as a whole is significant in predicting who visits the agricultural extension office. The results of this ordinal logistic regression model are shown in Table 1. Logistic regression model for field visits A one level increase in caste category is associated, on average, with a 0.87 decrease in the odds of an extension officer visiting

the farmer’s field (CI 0.23-3.31, p-value 0.843), a non-significant result suggesting there is no relationship between caste and being visited by an agricultural extension officer. A one level increase in education attained is associated, on average, with a non-significant 1.99 increase in the odds of an extension officer visiting the farmer’ field (CI 0.88-4.51, p-value 0.098). The odds ratio of farm size is 2.29 (CI 1.234.25, p-value 0.08), indicating that a one level increase in farm size category is associated, on average, with a significant 2.29 increase in the odds of an extension officer visiting the farmer’s field. Finally, a one level increase in farmers’ group membership is associated, on average, with a nonsignificant 1.09 increase in the odds of an extension officer visiting the farmer’s field (CI 0.21-5.76, p-value 0.916). The p-value of farm size is the only variable with a p-value below 0.05 and with a confidence interval that does not cross one, indicating that it is the only independent variable in this model that is a significant predictor for an extension officer visiting a farmer’s field. The variables caste, education and farmers’ group membership all have p-

Table 1. Ordinal Logistic Regression of caste, education, farm size and farmers’ group membership on frequency of visits to the agricultural extension office in the last year. Variable

Odds Ratio


95% Confidence Interval




.275143 - 2.368866




1.495009 - 6.064751

Farm Size



1.432236 - 4.033708

Membership in a Farmers’ Group



4.74369 - 9.665122

* P-value < 0.05 FIELD NOTES | VOL II | 23

values above 0.05 and confidence intervals that cross one, indicating that they are not significant predictors. The model is significant at the 95% level indicating that the overall model is significant in predicting whose fields the agricultural extension officer is visiting. The results of this logistic regression model are shown in Table 2. Logistic regression model for contact with the agricultural extension office A one level increase in caste category is associated, on average, with a 1.32 increase in the odds of being in contact with the agricultural extension office (CI 0.44-3.99, p-value 0.623) thus there is no association between caste and being in contact with the extension office. The odds ratio of education level attained is 2.46 (CI 1.26-4.80, p-value 0.008), indicating that a one level increase in education is associated, on average, with a 2.46 increase in the odds of being in contact with the agricultural extension office. A one level increase in farm size is associated, on average, with a 2.21 increase in the odds of being in contact with the agricultural extension office (CI 1.26-3.86, p-value 0.005). Lastly, a one level increase

in farmers’ group membership is associated on average with a 0.47 decrease in the odds of being in contact with the agricultural extension office (CI 0.13-1.70, p-value -.249), therefore farmers group membership is not a predictor of contact with the extension office. The p-values of education and farm size are both below 0.05 and their confidence intervals do not cross one, indicating that they are both significant predictors of having any form of contact with the agricultural extension office. On the contrary, the p-values of caste and farmers’ group membership are both above 0.05 and have confidence intervals that cross one, indicating that they are not significant predictors of being in contact with the agricultural extension office. The p-value for the overall model is less than 0.001, which is less than 0.05, indicating that the model as a whole is significant in predicting who is in contact (in any form) with the agricultural extension office. The results of this logistic regression model are shown in Table 3. Chi-Square test for village level analysis A Chi-Square Test was run to test the relationship between contact with the

Table 2. Logistic Regression of caste, education, farm size and farmers’ group membership on frequency of visits by the agricultural extension officer to a farmer’s field in the last year. Variable

Odds Ratio


95% Confidence Interval




.2308291 - 3.310017




.8800716 - 4.514334

Farm Size



1.239641 - 4.252156

Membership in a Farmers’ Group



.2075882 - 5.75942

* P-value < 0.05 24 | AUSTIN

agricultural extension office and the four study villages (a categorical variable). The null hypothesis states that contact with the agricultural extension office is independent of village of residence, while the alternative hypothesis states that contact with the agricultural extension office depends on the village of residence. Chi square analysis indicates that contact with the agricultural extension office is independent of village of residence, or in other words, contact with the agricultural extension office is not significantly different between the four villages included in the study (p = 0.84).

DISCUSSION Who is and is not being reached by the agricultural extension system?

Farm size is a significant predictor for number of visits to the agricultural extension office, whether the farmer has been visited at their farm by an extension officer, and whether the farmer has been in contact, in any form, with the agricultural extension office. Education, meanwhile, is only a significant predictor for visiting the office and having any contact with the extension office, and neither caste

nor membership in a farmers’ group are significant for any of the three dependent variables. For every level of increase in farm size category, the odds of visiting the agricultural extension office more often increases by 140%, the odds of having an agricultural extension officer visit your farm increases by 130% and the odds of being in contact with the agricultural extension office, in any form, increase by 120%. For example, the odds of a large farmer (more than 10 acres) having an agricultural extension officer visit his or her farm is 130% larger than the odds for a medium farmer (5 to 10 acres). For every level of increase in education level, the odds of visiting the agricultural extension office more frequently increases by 200%, and the odds of being in contact with the agricultural extension office at all increases by 150%. For instance, the odds of a farmer who reached 9th to 12th standard having any contact with the agricultural extension office is 150% higher than a farmer who reached 5th to 8th standard. The results indicate that farmers who have more education and larger farms are being better reached by the agricultural extension system than farmers who have less

Table 3. Logistic Regression of caste, education, farm size and farmers’ group membership on having any form of contact with the agricultural extension office in the last year. Variable

Odds Ratio


95% Confidence Interval




.4368144 - 3.990119




1.261606 - 4.8036

Farm Size



1.26593 - 3.859432

Membership in a Farmers’ Group



.1294689 - 1.698557

* P-value < 0.05 FIELD NOTES | VOL II | 25

formal education and smaller farms. This finding is congruent with the studies done by Adhiguru, Birthal & Kumar (2009) and Feder & Slade (1986) which showed that the extension system is biased towards large farmers. There is presently no literature to confirm or dispute this studyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s findings on the role of caste and education level in contact with the agricultural extension system. There is also no literature to suggest whether the extension system is reaching women and men equally. Does contact with the agricultural extension vary by village? Following the results of the ChiSquare test, being in contact with the agricultural extension office is independent of the village where farmers reside. Approximately the same percentage of farmers has been in contact with the agricultural extension office in some form in the last year in each of the four villages included in this study. Other studies have found severe regional disparities in extension system services, reach and associated benefits (Glendenning et al., 2010), however no other studies have tested for disparities at such a small scale. It is possible that contact with the extension office would vary more at the block or district level. Why are some farmers better reached by the extension system than others? According to the literature, educated, large farmers may be more likely to be reached by the extension system either because they are easier to access and/or because that group is better equipped to take advantage of extension services and they are less risk averse than small and marginal farmers (Feder & Slade, 1986; Swanson, 2008). Small and marginal farmers often have land furthest from the villages, and sometimes even out of reach of infrastructure such as roads and water resources, which makes it more difficult for extension officers to physically reach 26 | AUSTIN

them (Swanson, 2008). This argument for why extension officers are not reaching out to small, uneducated farmers is not sufficiently convincing; however, no other explanations were offered in the literature. Other studies focus more selectively on why small and marginal farmers approach the extension office less than medium and large farmers. Swanson (2008) argues that small, uneducated farmers lack the capacity to take advantage of agricultural innovations and lack the self-confidence to search for new information, thus it is more difficult to communicate with them. He goes on to argue that small and marginal farmers are risk averse in terms of trying new technologies, which fits with Scottâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s (1977) influential argument that the peasantry will seek out sources of income that are more stable rather than experimenting with new technology. Uneducated small and marginal farmers may be disinterested in technology and information offered by the extension system if they believe they may be risky. Meanwhile, medium and large farmers are less risk averse, and have more resources and access to credit. Typically, medium and large farmers also have higher education levels, which indicate they have the capacity needed to take advantage of new technological innovations and management information on crop value and pricing (Swanson, 2008). Though Feder & Slade (1986) found that statistically the extension system is biased towards large farmers, they reason farm size isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t enough to merit concern. Writing from the World Bank at the height of the Training and Visit approach to extension services, an approach heavily endorsed by the same institution, they argue large farmers may simply be investing more energy in information seeking and that large farmers have more marginal gain from knowledge than small farmers do (Feder & Slade, 1984; Feder & Slade, 1986).

In the study conducted by the AID India in the Tiruchirappalli district of Tamil Nadu, farmers were asked what they believed is the main problem with government agricultural schemes. After removing the “do not know answers,” 28% said the main problem is awareness, 16% responded not reaching small farmers, 14% responded implementation. Though it was not one of our original categories, 12% of respondents said farmer disinterest and lack of initiative is the main problem with government agricultural schemes. The response that farmer disinterest and lack of initiative are the biggest problems with government agricultural schemes fits with Swanson’s (2008) argument that it is the farmers who are not approaching the agricultural extension office. At the same time, the large percentage of farmers who said government agricultural schemes are not reaching small farmers indicates that, as suggested in the literature, farmers feel the extension system is biased towards large farmers. Regardless of whether it is the farmers not approaching the extension office, or whether it is the extension office not reaching farmers, that 28% responded awareness is the main problem with the agricultural extension system and 12% responded implementation indicates there are many issues within the current Indian agricultural extension system that must be addressed to bridge the disconnect. How can the unreached farmers be targeted better by the extension system?

When farmers themselves were asked what could be improved about the extension worker as an information source, 34% said quality and reliability of information, 20% said timeliness of information and 18% said increase in frequency of demonstration (NSSO, 2005; Birner & Anderson, 2007). If part of the disconnect between farmers and the agricultural

extension system is farmers are not reaching out to the extension office, improving the quality and quantity of services to suit farmers’ needs would increase farmers’ utilization of services (as suggested by the demand-driven approach). In order to reach the farmers unreached by the Tamil Nadu extension system (small, uneducated farmers according to the results of this study), the system must be reformed to become more demand-driven and pluralistic, and the implementation of schemes and policies must be of higher quality and quantity, and target disadvantaged groups (Birner & Anderson, 2007; Raabe, 2008; Adhiguru, Birthal & Kumar, 2009; Glendenning et al., 2010). Broader development goals should also aim to provide more education and health opportunities to small, uneducated farmers to increase their capacity to access and take advantage of extension services while simultaneously improving their well-being. Small farmers with low education can be better reached by the extension system by reforming the extension system to become demand-driven rather than supply driven, increasing the role of private extension, implementing targeted and flexible approaches, and finally improving the overall capacity of these farmers (Birner & Anderson, 2007; Raabe, 2008; Glendenning et al., 2010). The extension system is criticized for its top-down, supply-driven structure which does not meet the quantity or quality of services or information needed by farmers (Birner & Anderson, 2007). Raabe (2008) argues the supply and demand aspects must be developed simultaneously to increase effectiveness and efficiency. She suggests the demandside can be improved by increasing participatory planning and implementation, while the role of private organizations in extension and research can be increased on the supply side (ibid.). Many authors FIELD NOTES | VOL II | 27

argue a pluralistic extension system with public-private partnerships is crucial to reach remote farmers more effectively amidst the vast size and complexity of Indian agriculture. The state must then provide incentives for private (profit and non-profit) organizations to provide extension services and research (Raabe, 2008; Glendenning et al., 2010). Unfortunately, private extension may unevenly favour large farmers over small farmers, and if that is the case, the public sector must intervene and implement policies such as income redistribution schemes to improve equity (Raabe, 2008). A committed, transparent, institutionalized political party would be needed to implement such policies, which is unlikely in the current Indian political climate (Kohli, 1987; Raabe, 2008; Kuhonta, 2011). Different users have different needs than other groups, therefore varied approaches and flexibility are necessary to reach them (Swanson, 2008; Adhiguru, Birthal & Kumar, 2009; Glendenning et al., 2010). Policies and schemes must focus on equitable allocation to correct the bias towards large educated farmers, and should assist in diversification of livelihoods in to nonagricultural activities to strengthen and stabilize the incomes of small and marginal farmers (Birner & Anderson, 2007; Raabe, 2008). Two possible strategies to address the unequal access to extension services by medium and large farmers is to facilitate the formation of small farmers’ groups and farmers-based organizations and by incorporating small farmers and women into training programs (Adhiguru et al., 2009). More broadly speaking, the state and private organizations must work together to increase the capacity of small and marginal farmers so they can better access and take advantage of information and services, which Glendenning, Babu & Asenso-Okyere (2010) argue will increase 28 | AUSTIN

agricultural productivity and therefore improve their livelihoods. It follows from this argument that improving farmers’ education and health, especially remote and marginal farmers, are part of broader linkages that will increase the farmers’ overall well-being, including livelihood, and increase their capacity to better access and utilize extension system services.


The results of this study indicate that the Tamil Nadu agricultural extension system is not reaching farmers with less formal education and smaller farms, however caste and membership in a farmers’ group are not significant predictors of contact with the extension system. These findings are congruent with Adhiguru, Birthal & Kumar’s (2009) argument that the extension system is biased towards large farmers. From my results, contact with the agricultural extension office does not significantly vary by village, although other authors have shown variation by region (Glendenning et al., 2010). Small and marginal farmers may be less reached by the agricultural extension system because they are more risk averse than large farmers, do not have as much capacity to take advantage of extension services and are more remote (Scott, 1977; Feder & Slade, 1986; Swanson, 2008). To reach the unreached farmers, the extension system must be pluralistic, demand driven, and implement high quality schemes designed to target disadvantaged groups (Birner & Anderson, 2007; Raabe, 2008; Adhiguru et al., 2009; Glendenning et al., 2010). Broader linkages should also be formed by promoting rural development, education and health, for disadvantaged groups, which will increase farmers’ capacity, which will in turn improve access to the agricultural extension system and decrease rural poverty.


My sincere thanks go to Sarah Turner for her constant support and guidance, the McGill Arts Internship Office for making this internship a reality, Anne Turner for her boundless energy and hard work, and Tania Zouikin for her generous internship award. Rebecca and Malavika, thank you for your partnership in this project, for listening to endless debates on rigour and ethics, and for your wonderful company through heat and exhaustion. To the farmers of Trichy and the amazing staff at AID India – Ajay, Saravanan, Vicky, Dhamu, Raja Pandi, and especially Jayaram – romba nandri! Finally, thank you to my wonderful editors, Blanaid Donnelly and Joshua Fagen.

REFERENCES Adhiguru, P., Birthal, P. S., & Kumar, B. G. (2009). Strengthening Pluralistic Agricultural Information Delivery Systems in India. Agricultural Economics Research Review, 22(1), 71-79. Anderson, J. R., & Feder, G. (2004). Agricultural extension: Good intentions and hard realities. The World Bank Research Observer, 19(1), 41-60. Anderson, J. R., Feder, G., & Ganguly, S. (2006). The Rise and Fall of Training and Visit Extension: An Asian Mini-drama with an African Epilogue World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 3928: World Bank. Birner, R., & Anderson, J. R. (2007). How to Make Agricultural Extension DemandDriven. The Case Of India’s Agricultural Extension Policy: International Food Policy Research Institute. Bosu, S. S. (1995). Sharing of Inter-state River Water Resources: Case Studies of Two Major Irrigation Systems in Tamil Nadu, India. International Journal of Water Resources Development, 11(4), 443-456.

Chamarbagwala, R. (2006). Economic Liberalization and Wage Inequality in India. World Development, 34(12), 1997-2015. Creswell, J. W. (2002). Research Design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. Ellis, F. (2000). A Framework for Livelihoods Analysis Rural Livelihoods and Diversity in Developing Countries (pp. 28-54). New York: Oxford University Press. Feder, G., & Slade, R. (1984). The Acquisition of Information and the Adoption of New Technology. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 66(3), 312-320. Feder, G., & Slade, R. (1986). The Impact of Agricultural Extension: The Training and Visit System in India. The World Bank Research Observer, 1(2), 139-161. Glendenning, C. J., Babu, S., & Asenso-Okyere, K. (2010). Review of Agricultural Extension in India: Are Farmers’ Information Needs Being Met? : International Food Policy Research Institute. Government of India. (2000). Policy Framework for Agricultural Extension. New Delhi: Government of India, Department of Agriculture & Cooperation, and Ministry of Agriculture. Retrieved from http://agricoop. Government of India. (2001). Census of India 2001 District Census Hand Book. Government of Tamil Nadu. (2006). Tamil Nadu Government Gazette: Tamil Nadu Acts and Ordinances Part IV - Section 2. Chennai. Kohli, A. (1987). The state and poverty in India: the politics of reform. Cambridge Univ. Press. Kuhonta, E. M. (2011). The Institutional Imperative: The Politics of Equitable Development in Southeast Asia. Stanford: Stanford University Press.


Moore, M. (1984). Institutional development, the world bank, and Indiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new agricultural extension programme. Journal of Development Studies, 20(4), 303-317. NSSO (National Sample Survey Organisation). (2005). Situation Assessment Survey of Farmers: Access to Modern Technology for Farming. New Delhi: Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India. Prabakar, C., Devi, K. S., & Selvam, S. (2011). Labour Scarcityâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;Its Immensity and Impact on Agriculture. Agricultural Economics Research Review, 24(conf ), 373-380. Raabe, K. (2008). Reforming the Agricultural Extension System in India: What Do We Know About What Works Where and Why? : International Food Policy Research Institute. Ramakrishnan, T. (2012). Power consumers in State seek equitable load shedding, The Hindu. Retrieved from Scott, J. C. (1977). The moral economy of the peasant: Rebellion and subsistence in Southeast Asia. Yale University Press. Sulaiman, R. V. & Holt, G. (2002). Extension, poverty and vulnerability in India: Country study for the Neuchatel Initiative. Overseas Development Institute (ODI). Swanson, B. E. (2008). Global Review of Good Agricultural Extension and Advisory Service Practices. Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Tiruchirappalli District. Blocks Map. Accessed November 24, 2012. Retrieved from http:// Valentine, G. (2002). People Like Us: Negotiating Sameness and Difference in the Research Process. In P. Moss (Ed.), Feminist Geography in Practice: Research and Methods (pp. 116-126). Massachusetts: Blackwell.


Wikimedia/PlaneMad. (2008). India Tamil Nadu Locator Map. Wikimedia. Retrieved from File:India_Tamil_Nadu_locator_map.svg


Not a Scheduling Error: the Ethos of Patriotic Sacrifice as the Driving Force behind the Deliberate Juxtaposition of Israeli Remembrance Day and Independence Day

LISHAI GOLDSTEIN This article explores the reasons underlying the unique juxtaposition of two starkly different Israeli holidays, Remembrance Day (Yom Hazikaron), which is immediately followed by Independence Day (Yom Haâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;atzmaut). It first examines the ways in which the commemorative and celebratory aspects of the respective holidays exist as integral means by which to reinforce the collective identity of the nation-state. Next, it studies precedents for the connection between loss and freedom as it has been set in the Jewish and early Israeli narratives. An account of the rituals and practices that exist on both holidays is included to demonstrate the role of the state in maintaining commemorative vigilance through the juxtaposition of Yom Hazikaron and Yom Haâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;atzmaut, and the spatial elements of this are discussed. It is critical for the state to maintain commemorative vigilance in order to further reinforce the natural association of loss and freedom, ultimately legitimizing the ethos of patriotic sacrifice in Israeli culture and further embedding the institutionalization of bereavement.


This study was completed in partial fulfillment of the course requirements of POLI 432 Memory, Place, and Power, cross-listed as GEOG 420 and PLAI 400.



hatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. And what kills us, makes our mothers stronger” (C. Hochman, personal communication, December 10, 2012), goes a popular Israeli expression. The folk sayings of a society can reveal a great deal about its daily realities, values, concerns, and history. While this adage is widely circulated among civilians, it naturally has its roots in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), pointing to how deeply entangled Israeli civil and military life are with one another. The response to the perceived existential threat to Israel by hostile neighbours and other forces has led to the rise of this relationship, through the legislation of mandatory military conscription for almost the entire Israeli population. In order to cultivate a population that is willing to die on behalf of its country, the state must participate in ‘commemorative vigilance’. This statebuilding practice often manifests itself as a spatial process; elites transform the public space to reflect the collective memory and reinforce particular myths and symbols in order to frame the state’s actions as vitally intertwined with the national identity (Forest & Johnson, 2011). In the Israeli case, commemorative vigilance requires the state to acknowledge and pay tribute to the individual in exchange for the survival of Israel, by concretely ensconcing it in active, living expressions of gratitude on behalf of the state for its fallen soldiers. One of the most distinct ways that this is achieved has been through the establishment of Israeli Remembrance Day (Yom Hazikaron), directly followed by Independence Day (Yom Ha’atzmaut); here, spatial vigilance is maintained through temporal institutions. It is not the existence of the two ceremonial days that is unusual, as they commemorate different things and stand on their own; it is in the juxtaposition of their scheduling that

they are unique, rendering them part of the greater Israeli narrative (Handelman & Katz, 1995). Haaretz journalist Joel Braunold reflects that his experiences during Remembrance Day while living in the United Kingdom, United States, and Israel have all been markedly different, and the way that each one is commemorated gives the observer “a glimpse at a nation’s soul” (Braunold, 2012). Braunold (2012) writes, “Its occurrence before the happiest secular day of the year shows the peaks and troughs of Jewish life: there is no celebration without tragedy, yet no tragedy leads to despair.” Since the 1948 War, over 20,000 Israeli soldiers, both men and women, have been killed (Doron & Lebel, 2004). In an already small country, the death of a soldier reverberates with the powerful sentiment that he could be anyone’s son. In that way, the loss belongs to the entire nation. The deliberate juxtaposition of Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut creates a framework through which collective national identity, the institutionalization of bereavement, and the relationship between loss and freedom are accepted as natural and inexorable partners, further legitimizing the ethos of patriotic sacrifice in Israeli culture. In order to better understand this complex juxtaposition and its origins in the ethos of patriotic sacrifice, I will first explore the theoretical basis for why commemoration occurs, and how a society choses to commemorate, especially focusing on the Israeli and Jewish context. Next, I will look at how some of the more famous symbols of the ethos of patriotic sacrifice have led to the institutionalization of bereavement in Israel. In the following section, the specific commemorative rituals and traditions that occur during Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut will be analyzed. Finally, the importance of their juxtaposition as a symptom of commemoFIELD NOTES | VOL II | 33

rative vigilance will be addressed.


Societies have developed various ways to commemorate the past in order to fulfill certain needs. Funeral rites are one way to maintain connections with the past and our ancestors. According to the French sociologist Émile Durkheim, this is achieved through ceremony (Misztal, 2003). The power of ceremonial rites lies in the ability to foster a collective identity, and subsequently unity and commitment within a group (Misztal, 2003). Building on Durkheim’s work, Misztal (2003) claims: As these rites solely consist of recollecting the past and making it present by means of representation, they ‘act on the mind’ to ‘render the mythical past of the clan present to mind.’ In these ceremonies, the past is ‘represented for mere sake of representing it and fixing it more firmly in the mind’ in order to confirm the group identity and unity. (p. 126) For Durkheim, these performancebased rituals function as mnemonic devices, as through their reenactment of past events and past individuals they transmit memory in a particular way. The message conveyed is further strengthened by the emotions evoked, and the process of shared-emotions creates still more distinct and cohesive memories (Misztal, 2003). As explored further on in reference to the actual practices of Yom Hazikaron ceremonies, the power of commemorative ritual to create a group memory lies in its connection between bringing individuals together to share a common sentiment, in this case, “like mourners” (Slochower, 2011). With commemorative events em-


bodying the sacred history and collective memory of a group, they are used by the modern nation to promote the formation of national identity and patriotism (Brog, 2003). In her discussion of the power of commemorative ritual in the Jewish context, Slochower refers to the historian Josef Yerushalmi’s use of the term “collective memory” as a means to describe the purpose of memorial ritual (2011). According to Slochower, “Yerushalmi under-scored the Jewish injunction to remember history as a religious imperative. He suggested that commemorative ritual re-actualizes memory by fusing past and present” (p. 679). In order to fully appreciate the challenges presented by memorializing in the Israeli case, it is necessary to understand the environment in which these challenges arose. The ongoing climate of violence brought about by the Arab-Israeli conflict and mandatory military conscription for both men and women has created a culture in which the military and the civilian are difficult to delineate. Consequently, military service is considered the ultimate demonstration of patriotism (Sasson-Levy, 2005). This contributes to what SassonLevy (2005) refers to as “a hierarchy of belonging and loyalty to the state” (p. 360). The effect that the military has on Israeli social capital is reflected by the fact that one of the first questions Israelis ask one another is in which unit they served during their IDF service. This is more than a matter of finding common ground; it is considered a reflection of personal character, courage, and intelligence.


The ethos of patriotic sacrifice is far from an exclusively Israeli phenomenon.

According to Zerubavel (2006), “Modern nationalism is intimately linked to the ethos of patriotic sacrifice” (p. 73). Patriotic sacrifice demands certain conditions from the state. Soldiers must be confident that their self-sacrifice is completely necessary for the long-term survival of their nation. The relationship between the state and the individual is complex, where the individual is both the sacrificer and the sacrifice. The state is left indebted to the fallen soldier, and in gratitude commemorates its hero’s memory by turning the soldier’s sacrifice into a national symbol (Zerubavel, 2006). By encapasulating this sacrifice into symbolic form, the state reaps the additional benefit of reinforcing the association between heroism and loss. The importance of symbols lies in the following, according to Mayer (2005), “Every generation must feel a direct commitment to the events that formed the nation, and this commitment must be reinforced by myth, rituals, and symbols that elicit an emotional attachment” (p. 5). Accordingly, symbols, commemorations, and rituals are an important part of any modern nation-state, as they remind members of the current generation that they would not be alive if not for the heroic sacrifices of their predecessors. Mayer arguers that this is particularly relevant in the Israeli case, as existential threats are perceived as never-ending. One of the strongest enduring symbols of the ethos of patriotic sacrifice is the event that unfolded at Tel Hai. The name of a Jewish homestead in what is today the Upper-Galilee, Tel Hai existed in a period where there was much conflict among local Arab groups, Jewish settlers, and the French. In the winter of 1920, several Jewish settlers chose to remain at Tel Hai to defend it against a group of Arabs. Soon one side opened fire, leading to the death of eight of the Jewish settlers.

Among the dead was Joseph Trumpeldor, who Mayer (2005) calls “the most decorated Jewish warrior to date” (p. 18), because of the legacy of his last words. The heroic symbolism lies in the myth that as he lay dying, Trumpledor’s last words were “it is good to die for our land.” (Note that there are differing accounts of whether he actually said this; but once the process of symbolization has been undertaken, the details are rendered largely irrelevant.) Trumpeldor was celebrated as a hero, who embodied the new Jewish nationalist ethos – that to die on behalf of the defense of the country is the ultimate glory for any citizen. Tel Hai’s message became synonymous with patriotism and heroism as it was further ingrained into the foundations of the future state of Israel, with streets, cemeteries, kibbutzim, and schools named after Tel Hai and Trumpeldor. Consequently, this symbol of patriotic sacrifice became even stronger in the consciousness of the Israeli nation (Mayer, 2005). To provide a brief history of the development of the ethos, during the pre1948 period, the rhetoric of sacrifice was considered an essential element for the creation of the state and of secular Israeli culture. The origins for these holidays, as rooted in patriotic sacrifice, originated in the modern context during the 1948 War. Bilu and Witztum (2000) recount: […] depicted in the rhetoric of the period as a deliberate sacrificial act in the prime of life, death in combat was nevertheless exalted as the apotheosis of life – a moral will to preserve the existence of the collective and the individuals constituting it. The moral indebtedness of the nation-state to the heritage of the fallen soldiers entailed, first, a renewed commitment to the Zionist values for which they FIELD NOTES | VOL II | 35

gave their lives and, second, ample commemoration of the dead, which warranted them a symbolic immortality in repayment of their sacrifice. (p. 4) At the time, the ethos was perceived as largely belonging to the transitional statebuilding period. Yet, violence and conflict continued in the few decades following the nation’s birth, further necessitating the willingness of a population to come to arms. The 1967 War was perceived by many Israelis as a clear example of the enduring existential threat presented by Israel’s Arab neighbors, which a united Israel was able to turn into a massive victory in a mere six days, further serving to reinforce the importance of patriotism. Following the 1973 War, signs of doubt surrounding the necessity of sacrifice began to emerge, and continued on into the 1980s and 1990s. The 1982 Lebanon War and First Intifada in 1987 presented challenges to the clear-cut concept of state-on-state wars of survival, which fit so well into the framework of the ethos. In conjunction with mounting political divisions, this period saw more Israelis beginning to question to what ends they were willing to sacrifice their lives (Zerubavel, 2006). Literature has proved to be a popular medium for critique of the Israeli culture of bereavement created by the ethos, with several prominent authors focusing heavily on this in their work (Zerubavel, 2006). A.B. Yehoshua’s novel Friendly Fire revolves around the family members of a fallen soldier, and the various ways in which they have chosen to assume (or reject) the identity of a bereaved family member that is expected of them. The book is meant to reflect not only the tragedy but also the absurdity of a culture conditioned to loss, so highly practiced at dealing with the bereaved that it has taken 36 | GOLDSTEIN

on a sanitized, institutionalized form. In the book, the bereaved family is treated with the utmost respect, and a sense of quiet glory surrounds them (Yehoshua, 2007/2008). Another renowned Israeli author, David Grossman, began writing To the End of the Land during his younger son’s army service, and the novel was nearly complete when his older son was killed during the 2006 Lebanon War. The Hebrew title is quite different, translated as “A Woman Escapes from a Message,” about a woman (Ora) whose son (Ofer) is called for reserve duty. In order to avoid the anticipated news of Ofer’s death and thus succumb to the role of the bereaved parent, Ora makes herself unreachable by going on a hiking trip through the country. An example of Grossman’s (2008/2010) subtle inclusion of the institutionalization of bereavement is as follows; Ofer once told her that when they had their pictures taken sometimes, before they set off on a military campaign, the guys made sure to keep their heads a certain distance from each other, so there’d be room for the red circle that would mark them later, in the newspaper. (p. 70) To the End of the Land is interwoven with the ethos of patriotic sacrifice, and the role that mothers are supposed to play for the sons of the nation. Despite increased criticism of the relationship demanded by patriotic sacrifice between the state and the bereaved family, the ethos has been an important part of Hebrew culture since the beginning of Zionism, and remains central to the Israeli defense ideology (Zerubavel, 2006).


Provided with a basic theoretical understanding of why societies commemorate, and the ideological and historical

background of the ethos of patriotic sacrifice, I can now begin to explore the ways in which Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut are commemorated. Both national holidays are observed in the style of Jewish holidays, commencing at sundown the night before and ending the following sundown (Handelman & Katz, 1995). The first holiday is Yom Hazikaron, which begins with sirens sounded simultaneously throughout the country for exactly one minute after sundown. A second siren sounds for two minutes the morning of Yom Hazikaron. With each sounding, all of Israel stands still, with cars stopping in the middle of the highway, banks freezing mid-transaction, and all citizens pausing in what they are doing. The siren is the same one sounded during wartime, making it impossible to ignore (Handelman & Katz, 1995). Its wail permeates private and public space, subjecting the entire country to collective bereavement. BenAmos (2003) addresses this co-optation of public space: The mournful atmosphere of Remembrance Day was created by a variety of means: visual signs that altered the public space, such as the lowering of the national flag to halfmast in front of official buildings, and adding on top of them a decorative “flame of remembrance”; special programs and reports in the mass media; special prayers in the synagogues; and mass visits to military cemeteries and war monuments. (p. 181) Often these ceremonies are held in front of war monuments, include the reading of the Yizkor (memorial prayer), as well as relevant pieces of literature. While the nuances of the ceremonies might vary slightly by year and location, the structure is largely uniform in order

to maintain the same end goal: that the audience successfully identify with the sacrifice made by the soldiers and their bereaved families, and are able to accept this sacrifice as an inherent and legitimate part of insuring the existence of the state (Ben-Amos, 2003). The somber nature of Yom Hazikaron changes drastically only several hours later at sundown, at the start of Yom Ha’atzmaut. Not dissimilar to Independence Days the world over, it is marked by its celebratory informality of open-air musical performances, parties, bonfires, fireworks, and picnics (Handelman & Katz, 1995). Nevertheless, the militarism embedded in Israeli society is very much present on Yom Ha’atzmaut. Azaryahu (1999) explores the role of the military parade on this day, casting it as a standard political ritual for the modern nation-state. This state-sponsored event is a national ritual that portrays the centrality of the culture of patriotism in Israel, utilizing the public space to remind the Israeli population that they would not be dancing under the fireworks, were it not for the military. The deliberate nature of the decisions governing on which days Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut would take place is a strong indicator of the state’s interests. Handelman and Katz (1995) argue that Yom Ha’atzmaut could have been chosen from a number of days, such as November 29, when the United Nations decided on the partition of Palestine. A day that marked the end of the War of Independence could also have been a viable option. However, the date chosen by the Israeli government was May 15, as independence was declared on May 14, 1948. It is imperative to note here the differences between the Hebrew and Gregorian calendars, which operate independently of one another, as it was also determined FIELD NOTES | VOL II | 37

that Yom Ha’atzmaut would follow the Hebrew calendar. As a result, the actual date of Yom Ha’atzmaut varies by year, but it always falls exactly thirteen days after the end of Passover. The authors argue that the significance of the May 15 choice lies in the connection to Passover, claiming that Passover is the ultimate celebration of freedom. Finally, Bilu and Witztum (2000) write that that the set-up of the days ties in with the larger trajectory of Judaism; “…the national narrative of death and rebirth folded into the two-day sequence resonates well with the rhythm of cultural time in Jewish cosmology and historiography, which always pulsates in an ascending direction: from darkness to light, from catastrophe to redemption” (p. 6). It should also be mentioned that Holocaust Memorial Day (Yom Hashoa’a), occurs seven days before Yom Hazikaron, leading Weiss (1997) to state that “Remembrance is therefore part of a larger narrative leading from destruction (holocaust) via sacrifice (the fallen) to salvation (independence) – a significant narrative…” (p. 92-93). The day selected for Yom Hazikaron also necessitated an arbitrary choice. Memorial ceremonies were originally part of Yom Ha’azmaut, but were decentralized and observed on a local level. Pressure to separate the spirit of celebration from that of mourning came from the Association of Bereaved Parents, resulting in the establishment of Yom Hazikaron (Bilu & Witztum, 2000). The Ministry of Defense had begun experimenting with instituting a separate day solely for commemoration by 1951. The day chosen for Yom Hazikaron could have been any single day of the year, but they deliberately decided upon the day before Yom Ha’atzmaut. Handelman and Katz (1995) write that, “In 1954, the Ministry stated that this linkage and sequencing had not aroused 38 | GOLDSTEIN

controversy; and the Minister of Defense commented that he viewed as ‘organic’ this attachment of Remembrance Day to Independence Day” (p. 80). The fact that the defense establishment drove this juxtaposition is highly representative of the interests of the state in promoting the association between sacrifice and freedom to be accepted as natural.


It is ultimately the stark contrast between these two holidays that makes their deliberate set-up within the same fortyeight hours remarkable, and indicates that they reflect a larger narrative. In the words of Handelman and Katz (1995), “These ceremonies are a semiotic set: they make meaning together” (p. 78). The significance of the temporal juxtaposition of Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut is a form of simultaneous commemoration that provides the greatest feeling of unity. Yom Hazikaron allows the country to focus on the loss of the individual soldiers and their bereaved families, while celebrating Israeli independence the following day places it in the context of sacrifice for the nation (Ben-Amos, 2003). The seemingly opposing nature of the two days actually serves to reinforce the necessity of one to the other by their juxtaposition, says Weiss (1997), “The systematic construction and reproduction of the ideological nexus between death and life, sorrow and joy, remembrance and independence, is one of Remembrance Day’s most significant feats” (p. 92-93). The abrupt transition between them is meant to be difficult, as the War of Independence was already playing out when independence was declared. Thus, the foundations of the state of Israel were literally built upon the no-

tion that freedom cannot come without sacrifice (Weiss, 1997). The highly centralized and prescribed format of Yom Hazikaron rituals is a means by which the state can maintain commemorative vigilance. The education system is a key site for the state to elevate the symbolism of patriotic sacrifice through commemorative ceremonies, and allow students to co-opt it through performance and the arts, thus making it their own and further internalizing it (LomskyFeder, 2004). This is a form of the reproduction of the ethos of sacrifice, whereby dominant groups built this ethos into the societal framework (Weiss, 1997). In memorial ceremonies in elite secular high schools, the fallen graduates exist as a symbol that serves to build a mnemonic community as they set out to commemorate the past (Lomsky-Feder, 2004). In reference to the hegemonic nature of the ethos, Lomsky -Feder (2004) claims that: This resource is more readily available to established elite schools populated with students from dominant groups, whose representation in combat units is particularly high due to the strong linkage in Israeli society between military service, masculinity and social status. Thus, the number of fallen is a yardstick against which school prestige is measured. (p. 300) The school-based components of Yom Hazikaron operate to present to Israeli children the correlation between heroic glory and self-sacrifice as natural partners, shaping their conceptions of patriotism and citizenship in the earliest stages. Weiss includes a passage of the official prescribed instructions from the Ministry of Education for commemoration ceremonies on Yom Hazikaron. In addition to the schedule of the sirens, moments of silence,

and flag-raising, a Ministry of Education General Memorandum from 1967 dictates, as explained by Weiss (1997), “The Remembrance Day ceremony should be conducted so as to bridge sorrow and joy, grief and celebration” (p. 93). The aim of reconciling these contradictory emotions is a sample representation of the relationship that the state seeks to build between Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut. The Ministry of Education’s General Memorandum for how to appropriately conduct Yom Hazikaron ceremonies has undergone very few changes, but following the 1967 War, the following passage was added to the 1968 version: Remembrance Day’s meaning will be clearer to the pupils this year. We mourn today the death of our heroes, and feel proud for their heroism and devotion. The champions of Israel went to the battle of freedom with open eyes, and in their death they commanded us to live. (Weiss, 1997, p. 93) The last sentence reappears in a variety of forms throughout the ceremonial texts, and in its very rhetoric renders the notion of unnecessary death impossible, as any sacrifice by a soldier is for the greater survival of the nation. In this way, the drastic transition into Yom Ha’atzmaut is further validated, as celebrating freedom becomes synonymous with proving that the nation’s heroes did not die in vain. The designation of Yom Hazikaron solely for commemorative purposes and expressions of gratitude on behalf of the state, with celebration reserved for the day after, allows the families of the fallen soldiers to play out their designated roles in the framework of patriotic sacrifice. As discussed previously, this role of the bereaved family (and especially, the bereaved FIELD NOTES | VOL II | 39

parent) is necessary for the legitimization of the ethos of patriotic sacrifice. However, on behalf of the bereaved, the nationalization of death meets the purpose of providing them with a support system (Bilu & Witztum, 2000). Bilu and Witztum (2000) are particularly interested in the interplay between individual and collective bereavement, and argue that the “commemorative cult of dead soldiers was expected to assuage personal bereavement by charging the loss with existential significance on the socio-national level” (p. 12). The nationalization of grief as a statebuilding enterprise has taken the form of a reciprocal relationship that requires parents of the fallen to function as channels to reinforce dominant public opinions regarding the culture of military sacrifice. The state fulfills its duties by transforming the fallen soldiers into heroes, and celebrates their memory through commemoration, culture, and education. One of the most important forms of the symbolization of heroes functions by providing a psychological and spiritual outlet for bereaved parents to cope with their individual grief (Doron & Lebel, 2004). Brog (2003) anchors the centrality of the symbolism of soldiers, saying: In a reality characterized by instability, the army became–for the Israeli government, society, and individuals–a cultural symbol representing the values of order, security, determination, and unity. In this cultural context the memory of the fallen soldiers was constructed as having formative significance for Israeli society. (p. 92) In order to maintain commemorative vigilance, it is in the best interest of the state to create a framework for coping that bereaved families can look to for support and reassurance of the honor of their 40 | GOLDSTEIN

child’s memory. Without it, parents are less willing to sacrifice their children on behalf of the state. The ceremonial rituals that characterize Yom Hazikaron continue to reinforce a collective means by which to cope with grief, and the festivities of Yom Ha’atzmaut act as a reminder that their child’s sacrifice was paramount to freedom. In the process, the narrative of patriotic sacrifice is imbedded even further into the Israeli psyche (Lomsky-Feder, 2004).


The memorialization and glorification of the fallen have become central tenets for modern nation-states as a means by which to cement the national narrative and promote a collective identity (Handelman & Katz, 1995). Accordingly, many states have established days to celebrate independence, as well as days to reflect on the sacrifices of fallen soldiers. Israel is no exception to this. The Israeli state understood early on that these two holidays evoke contrasting emotions, but that the difficult transition could be used as a state-building measure. In this way, the decision to pair them alongside one another manifests a distinctly Israeli form of commemoration. With the setting sun on Yom Hazikaron, somber moments of silence are traded for dancing and fireworks. The mood of the public space is transformed entirely, from the speed of movement to the music on the radio. This juxtaposition was deliberately engineered in order to allow the state to maintain commemorative vigilance by presenting the link between sacrifice and freedom as entirely organic. For better and for worse, the Israeli worldview has long been characterized by security and survival. While the regional dynamics and nature of the threats presented to the country have changed since 1948, the fear

of constant existential threat persists. As a result, the military has had a heavy hand in shaping Israeli culture, from Hebrew expressions to social hierarchies. Mandatory military service is a vehicle through which each citizen is touched by the potential of losing a loved one. In order for Israeli parents to be willing to endure this loss, they must be reassured that it is a sacrifice vital to the survival of the state. Through highly centralized forms of commemoration, the promise of their child memorialized as a hero serves as a means of coping with grief. On Yom Hazikaron, an Israeli mother will see her son’s smiling face circled in red on television among his comrades, bow her head as his name is called during a commemoration ceremony at his former high school, and identify with the mournful songs on the radio. After the sun sets and the fireworks mark the dawn of Yom Ha’atzmaut, she will be comforted in the thought that his death allows the rest of Israel to dance in the streets and celebrate their small nation, made great by the patriotism of its children. Through the juxtaposition of Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut, the ethos of patriotic sacrifice endures, and in the mind of the state, it ensures its survival for another generation.

REFERENCES Azaryahu, M. (1999). The Independence Day Military Parade: A Political History of a Patriotic Ritual. In Lomsky-Feder, E. & BenAri, E. (Eds.) The military and militarism in Israeli society. Albany, New York: State University of New York Press. Ben-Amos, A. (2003). War commemoration and the formation of Israeli national identity. Journal of Political and Military Sociology, 31(2), 171-195. Bilu, Y., & Witztum, E. (2000). War-related loss and suffering in Israeli society: An historical perspective. Israel Studies, 5(2), 1-31.

Braunold, J. (2012, November 15). Identifying a nation through its memorial day, Haaretz. Retrieved from: jewish-world/the-jewish-thinker/identifying-a-nation-through-its-memorial-day.premium-1.477660 Brog, M. (2003). Victims and victors: Holocaust and military commemoration in Israel collective memory. Israel Studies, 8(3), 6599. Doron, G., & Lebel, U. (2004). Penetrating the shields of institutional immunity: The political dynamic of bereavement in Israel. Mediterranean Politics, 9(2), 201-220. Forest, B., & Johnson, J. (2011). Monumental Politics: Regime Type and Public Memory in Post-Communist States. Post-Soviet Affairs 27(3), 269-288. Grossman, D. (2010). To the end of the land. (J. Cohen, Trans.). New York, NY: Random House. (Original work published 2008). Handelman, D., & Katz, E. (1995). State Ceremonies of Israel: Remembrance Day and Independence Day. In Dešen, Š.A., Liebman, C.S., & Shokeid, M. (Eds.) Israeli Judaism: The Sociology of Religion in Israel. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. Lomsky‐Feder, E. (2004). The memorial ceremony in Israeli schools: between the State and civil society. British Journal of Sociology & Education, 25(3), 291-305. Mayer, T. (2005). National Symbols in Jewish Israel: Representation and Collective Memory. In Michael E. Geisler (Ed.), National symbols, fractured identities : contesting the national narrative (pp. 3-35). Middlebury, VT: Middlebury College Press. Misztal, Barbara A. (2003). Durkheim on Collective Memory. Journal of Classical Sociology, 3(2), 123-143. Sasson‐Levy, O. (2005). Constructing identities at the margins: Masculinities and citizenship in the Israeli army. The Sociological Quarterly, 43(3), 357-383.


Slochower, J. (2011). Out of the Analytic Shadow: On the Dynamics of Commemorative Ritual. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 21(6), 676-690. Weiss, M. (1997). Bereavement, commemoration, and collective identity in contemporary Israeli society. Anthropological Quarterly, 91-101. Yehoshua, Abraham B. (2008). Friendly fire: a duet. (S. Schoffman, Trans.). Orlando: Harcourt. (Original work published 2007). Zerubavel, Y. (2006). Patriotic sacrifice and the burden of memory in Israeli secular national Hebrew culture. In U. Makdisi & P. A. Silverstein (Eds.), Memory and Violence in the Middle East and North Africa (pp. 73-100). Bloomington, IN.: Indiana University Press.



Erosion Rates of Retrogressive Thaw Slumps, Herschel Island, Yukon Territories

JARED SIMPSON Erosion rates of several retrogressive thaw slumps along the Canadian Arctic Coast are studied between 2004 and 2011. Results show a general reduction in the amount of soil eroded as the thaw slumps retreated farther from the coast and presumably stabilized. A three-dimensional model was created in ArcScene to visualize this decrease in erosion and calculate the volumetric soil loss between each year. Expected soil loss is significant, with over 4000 cubic metres eroding into the Arctic Ocean each year, and creating a very dynamic landscape. The aims of this research are: (1) to create a 3-dimensional model of three retrogressive thaw slumps showing the erosion between 2004 and 2012; and (2) to use the resulting volumetric soil loss values to estimate soil organic carbon (SOC) flux into the Arctic Ocean. Results show a substantial amount of soil loss totalling over 160,000 cubic metres and a subsequent SOC flux of over 13-million kilograms. These findings suggest that retrogressive thaw slumps have significant environmental impacts and that further research is needed to better understand these dynamic landforms.


This study was completed in partial fulfillment of the course requirements of GEOG 307 Socioeconomic Applications of GIS.



ver the past few decades the coasts of the Western Canadian Arctic have been intensely studied as areas where global warming is having significant impacts. Since these coasts are in the continuous permafrost zone, even a small change in temperature can have a dramatic effect on the depth of the active layer of permafrost and the extent of coastal erosion. The change in temperature results in a thawing of perennially frozen soils and massive ice bodies within the soil profile. The soil liquefies and turns to mud, dramatically decreasing the sheer strength (Figure 1). SOC flux values are an important factor within the carbon cycle of the Arctic Ocean. Studies have shown that the organic carbon cycle can have immense impacts on both the local Inuit populations and more far-ranging effects on the ecosystem as a whole. Hundreds of thousands of marine organisms live in or migrate through these waters every year, and an increase in the SOC in the Arctic Ocean would have a negative impact on many species. Increasing SOC values have already disrupted local Inuit lifestyles (Barber et al., 2008). In order to better understand these dynamic landforms, this paper has two main goals: (1) to create a three-dimensional model of three retrogressive thaw slumps

showing erosion between 2004 and 2012; and (2) to use the resulting volumetric soil loss values to estimate SOC flux into the Arctic Ocean. Herschel Island, off the northern coast of the Yukon Territory, is located within the continuous permafrost zone, and thus the effects of climate change create an increasingly dynamic landscape. Permafrost and active layer depths have a direct relation with erosion rates, the melting of permafrost liquefying the surrounding soil and increasing the rate at which soil flows into the ocean. The amount of ground ice and water content in permafrost varies greatly however, with nearly zero percent in dry permafrost to nearly one hundred percent in the case of wide ice wedges, ice lenses, and massive ice sheets (Walker, 1988). By identifying the soil-ice contents of the studied thaw slumps, erosion rates can be better understood and volumetric soil loss can be calculated. As more ice is entrained within the soil profile, the amount of erosion increases due to the increase in liquefied soil. SOC flux values can also be estimated using values from previous studies.


The data layers listed below are used in this study and are in the projected coordinate system WGS_1984_UTM_ Zone_7N.

1) Herschel_2m_DEM

Figure 1. Retrogressive thaw slump and massive ground ice (blue).

The study uses a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) from 2004 with two-metre vertical resolution covering Herschel Island, off the Yukon Territory coast (Lantuit, & Pollard, 2005). The DEM was stitched together from IKONOS satellite photos using the method described by Toutin et al. (2001), and was validated with data collected in the field using the Kinematic Differential Global Positioning FIELD NOTES | VOL II | 45

System (dGPS). 2) dGPS Points

The study also uses several shapefiles of dGPS points around the perimeter of different retrogressive thaw slumps. Heather Cray-Sloan and Jared Simpson of McGill University collected and post processed the data yearly from 2004 to 2012, with elevations in metres above sea level using the H2L geoid model.


To determine the volumetric soil loss between each year, the area between each year’s headwall was calculated using ESRI’s ArcMap program. A polygon was

created by connecting the spot heights of each slump headwall between and to determine the area of loss for each successive year (Figure 2). The polygons created were used as outlines to clip the surface DEM producing raster data files for each year (Figure 2). The raster datasets were then undercut with a high resolution DEM created from hundreds of dGPS points taken in the field during the summer of 2012. This undercut was to give the raster files a base elevation from which to calculate erosion from. The dataset was then transferred to ESRI’s ArcScene program for three-dimensional analysis (Figure 3). Volumetric loss for each raster was calculated using

Figure 2.Volumetric Soil between 2006 and 2007 for slump B. The dGPS points were used to create an outline of the area lost between the two years. This outline was then used to cut the section corresponding to it on the surface DEM in order to get a raster data file with the total volume lost. This process was repeated between each year for each slump. 46 | SIMPSON

3D Spatial Analyst tools and estimated soil-ice (40:60) and soil-SOC (70:30) ratios for the study area were obtained from Couture (2010) and used to calculate a resulting volumetric soil loss and SOC flux. Patterns and trends found were graphed in Excel for a better visual representation of the statistical analysis.

RESULTS Total soil loss over time

Total soil loss over time is shown in Figure 3, with a general decrease over time. It is noteworthy, however, to see that even with a small volumetric loss, there is a substantial SOC flux into the ocean that emphasizes how much soil organic carbon is actually stored in coastal sediments. Within all of the slumps there is a direct correlation between volume, soil, and organic carbon loss. A small increase in the amount of erosion can still be seen from 2008 to 2012, especially over

the last three years. The lowest amount of soil loss (6874m3) was found between 2008 and 2009, while the largest amount (65,319m3) was found between 2006 and 2007. This relatively large amount of volumetric loss is due to the merging of two separate slumps into one large slump (Figure 4). A map of the slumps and their respective volumetric losses is given in Figure 3. Overall the total amounts of both volumetric soil loss and soil organic carbon flux were substantial at 162,000m3 and 13,500,000kg respectively. SOC values were estimated at 86kg/m3 using values taken at the site (Couture, 2010); however, this represents only an average and does not capture spatial and temporal variability. As the volumetric loss estimations are calculated using relatively more reliable high-resolution DEMs and dGPS points, more confidence can be put into their precision.

Figure 3. Three-dimensional models and locational map of soil erosion for slumps A, B, and C between 2004 and 2012. FIELD NOTES | VOL II | 47

Individual slump losses

Slumps A and C have relatively similar characteristics, with an initial high amount of soil loss that decreases to its lowest point between 2008 and 2009, then increases until the present (Figure 5). Slump A is much larger than slump C however, and thus has much higher values. Slump B encompasses a large anomaly, wherein two smaller slumps merged to form one large slump between 2006 and 2007 (Figure 3).

DISCUSSION Findings and overall project

Volumetric soil loss and SOC flux values were found to be much higher than anticipated based on previous studies (Lantuit & Pollard, 2005) emphasizing the importance of this case study. High SOC flux values are particularly worrisome, as soil organic carbon has a large impact on local and global ecosystems. High SOC levels have already degraded

Arctic fisheries, which has a negative impact on Inuit lifestyles. Further changes within the Arctic Circle could lead to the need for significant socio-economic adaptations within these communities (Barber et al., 2008). More far ranging effects could be an increase in the melting of sea ice, and a subsequent increase in coastal erosion (Bockheim et al., 1999). While the initial volumes are significant, without a longer time span of data no trends could be statistically verified. The project still gives valuable insight into the sheer amount of sediment flux into the Arctic Ocean however, and if data is available could be applied to many different regions of the Arctic. The project was also successful in creating a threedimensional model of each year’s erosion. A visual representation was created using a combination of ESRI’s ArcScene and Adobe’s Illustrator program.

Figure 4. Sediment and SOC flux for slumps A, B, and C between 2004 and 2012. The large anomaly in slump B between 2006 and 2007 is due to two smaller slumps merging into one (Figure 3). Notice that even a small slump such as C contributes almost one million kg of SOC over the eight-year period. 48 | SIMPSON

Sources of error

Within this study an assumption was made that the soil-ice ratio and SOC contents are similar for each slump throughout the study period. While these values are relatively similar over time and space (Couture, 2010), Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) and Closed Circuit Resistivity (CCR) transects could be obtained for the slump floors, which would detail the composition of the soil underground and provide a better understanding of how ice-rich each yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sediment was.


Coastal erosion has increased in both frequency and extent in recent years. However small-scale case studies of specific sites are needed to better quantify these events (Lantuit & Pollard, 2005). This study looked at three different retrogressive thaw slumps and successfully modeled volumetric soil loss. Future studies

should include more exact soil-to-ice ratios and a longer time series to allow a statistically significant analysis to be applied. This study finds that 13 million kilograms of soil organic carbon (equivalent to 123 hectares of mature forest) have flowed into the ocean from three slumps during an eight-year period, indicating that coastal erosional processes are potentially large contributors to the Arctic Ocean carbon cycle. Rising concentrations of carbon within the Arctic Ocean can have various effects such as a decrease in Arctic fishery population and subsequent need for change in the Inuit lifestyle. Reducing sea ice extent can, in turn, create a positive feedback and further increase coastal erosional processes, thus destabilizing local and global ecosystems (Barber et al., 2008). The findings thus suggest that attention must be given to the environmental impacts of retrogressive thaw slumps.

Figure 5. Soil erosion over time for each slump. A large erosion spike between 20062007 can be seen in slumps A and B. FIELD NOTES | VOL II | 49

REFERENCES Barber, D.G., Lukovich, J.V., Keogak, J., Baryluk, S., Fortier, L., Henry, G.H.R. (2008). The Changing Climate of the Arctic. ARCTIC, 61, 7-26. Bockheim, J.G., Everett, L.R., Hinkel, K.M., Nelson, F.E., & Brown, J. (1999). Soil organic carbon storage and distribution in arctic soils, Barrow, Alaska. Soil Science Society of America, 63, 934-940. Couture, N. (2010). Fluxes of soil organic carbon from eroding permafrost coasts, Canadian Beaufort Sea. Department of Geography, Ph.D. thesis. Montreal: McGill University. Lantuit, H., & Pollard, W.H. (2005). Temporal stereophotogrammetric analysis of retrogressive thaw slumps on Herschel Island, Yukon Territory. Natural Sciences and Environmental Hazards, 5(3), 413-423. McGillivray, D.G., Agnew, T.A., McKay, G.A., Pilkington, G.R., & Hill, M.C. (1993). Impacts of climate change on the Beaufort sea-ice regime: implications for the arctic petroleum industry. Climate Change Digest, CCD 93-01. Rachold, V., et al. (2003). Modern terrigenous organic carbon input into the Arctic Ocean. In R. Stein and R.W. Macdonald, (Eds.) Organic carbon cycle in the Arctic Ocean: present and past. (p. 33-55). New York: Springer. Toutin, T., Chenier, R., and Charbonneau, Y. (2001). 3D geometric modeling of Ikonos GEO images, Proc. Joint ISPRS Workshop on â&#x20AC;&#x153;High Resolution Mapping from Space 2001â&#x20AC;?. Hannover, 19-21 September, Institute of Photogrammetry & Geoinformation, University of Hannover, 9 (on CD ROM), 2001. Walker, H.J. 1988. Permafrost and coastal processes. In Proceedings, Fifth International Conference on Permafrost, August 1998, Trondheim, Norway, (p. 35-42). Trondheim, Norway: Tapir Press.



Empowerment through Partnerships in International Development: A Case Study of Kibera, Kenya

CARLI MELO Community-based organizations (CBOs) have become increasingly dependent on partnerships with intermediary non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and international donors for funding, personnel, and organizational and operational advising. This state of dependency has in effect degraded the efficacy of community-level development projects. An unhealthy reliance on external actors prevents organizations and their associated projects from progressing on their own and achieving sustainability. How can one break this cycle of dependency and use these fundamental partnerships to facilitate empowerment and sustainable development? It is through the case study of the Vision Sisters, a local Kenyan womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s group in Kibera, that I attempt to highlight some of the predominant conditions that create and maintain dependency. In collaboration with a local NGO and international partners, the Vision Sisters have opened a crisis center with the aim of aiding and empowering women in the slum of Kibera. However, my personal observations in the field identify capacity building, funding, and internal hierarchies as the fundamental conditions complicating the advancement of the crisis center and maintaining a cycle of dependency on external actors. I conclude with the solutions of participatory planning, sustained communication and continuity, and a competent management system to break the cycle and advance the center in the hands of the beneficiariesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the Vision Sisters and the women of Kibera, Kenya.


This research paper was completed in partial fulfillment of the course requirements of INTD 499 Internship: International Development.

52 | MELO


ommunity-based organizations have become increasingly dependent on partnerships with non-governmental organizations and international donors in order to support communitylevel development projects. These partnerships often unintentionally degrade the effectiveness and sustainability of community development initiatives. Dependency is defined as a state of reliance on someone or something else (Oxford Dictionaries, 2013). In this paper, dependency is referred to as reliance on outside assistance for financial and human capital, in other words funding, personnel, and organizational and operational advising. Partnerships among organizations in international development projects that assume a state of dependency generate problematic effects. A community-based organization’s dependence on its external partners can hamper the sustainability of its development project, prevent it from making progress on its own, breed feelings of inadequacy and blind it of the need to solve internal conflicts (Grudens-Schuck, Allen & Hargrove, 2003). This paper begins by introducing the concept of partnerships and the problem of dependency in the context of international development. The second section highlights the predominant conditions that create and maintain a cycle of dependency. The third and fourth sections introduce the case study of the Vision Sisters, a local Kenyan women’s group in Kibera, and analyze the conditions, which maintain the group’s dependency on their external partners. The final section proposes how one can break this cycle of dependency and use these instrumental partnerships to facilitate empowerment and sustainable development.

Partnerships in international development

It is increasingly fashionable for government agencies and organizations in the private and public sectors to form partnerships in international development circles. The term partnership, within the context of development, lacks a clear definition. It warrants further attention to analyze and understand the parameters, opportunities and limitations of partnerships within the international development sphere (Vargas, 2002). Development theorists Fiszbein and Lowden classify partnerships as: Joint initiatives of the public sector in conjunction with the private, forprofit sectors, also referred to as the government, business, and civic sectors. Within these partnerships, each of the actors contributes resources (financial; human; technical; and intangibles, such as information or political support) and participates in the decision making process. The focus is on partnerships that primarily aim to reduce poverty, albeit with a range of specific activities as just outlined. (Vargas, 2002, p. 1541) While this definition proposes valuable criteria, a deeper exploration of the dynamics of partnerships in international development is needed to address the importance and limitations that partnerships pose in a contemporary globalizing context (Vargas, 2002). Since the 1980s development work within the social service sector has increasingly slipped out of the hands of governments and fallen into the laps of donordriven NGOs (Carroll, 1992; Nagar & Raju, 2003). This reduction in the role of the state is accompanied by a proliferation of “multi-stakeholder governance” approaches (De Wit & Berner, 2009, p. 928). States, municipalities and donors all FIELD NOTES | VOL II | 53

recognize the budding potential of community-based organizations (CBOs) in implementing policies and providing social services to populations on the ground (De Wit & Berner, 2009). Intermediary NGOs have had tremendous success in partnering with CBOs on development projects aimed at alleviating poverty (Carroll, 1992; De Wit & Berner, 2009). In addition, these intermediary NGOs have become the interface by providing donor agencies and foreign NGOs with the opportunity to invest in development projects without having to confront ineffective public authorities (De Feyter, 2011). Evidently, partnerships among non-profit organizations and across public and private sectors have become instrumental in forwarding development work at the community-level and reaching marginalized local populations. However, the nature of these partnerships demands a closer examination. It is important to ask whether these partnerships are truly balanced in terms of power, money and accountability (De Wit & Berner, 2009). There are often times when these partnerships among community-based organizations, NGOs and international donors foster dependency. CBOs become increasingly reliant on its partners for funding, personnel, such as international volunteers, and guidance. As a result, when a local organization is unable to advance independently of its international partners the long-term success of its community development project becomes compromised (De Wit & Berner, 2009). The problem of dependency

The ‘dependency theory’ is well established and is introduced early to students pursuing courses in development. The theory rests on the notion that resources flow from the ‘periphery,’ underdeveloped states, to the ‘core,’ wealthy states,

54 | MELO

perpetuating the impoverishment of poor countries and the enrichment of the West (Handelman, 2009). This paper will analyze the dependency theory on a microscale. Developing countries are replaced with marginalized communities and the role of the West is substituted with NGOs and international donors. Community-based groups and organizations have become increasingly dependent on donors and strategic partnerships, which has in effect degraded the effectiveness of their projects (Grudens-Schuck, Allen & Hargrove, 2003). Partnerships between donors, NGOs and CBOs are often based on principles of “contractbased relationships,” which are essentially “patron-client models” (Fowler, 1998, p. 141). Principally, the patron (in this case international donors and NGOs) possesses authority, social status, and wealth while the client (CBOs) benefits from the patron’s support or influence (Marshall, 1998). Fowler claims that ‘contracting’ complicates the achievement of “real or authentic partnerships, which are based on mutually enabling, inter-dependent interaction with shared intentions” (Fowler, 1998, p. 141). As a result, these partnerships are often only lucrative for donors and NGOs, who experience an increase in their influence and credibility. On the other hand, subservient and disempowered community groups become reliant on these partnerships for funding, direction and volunteers in order to move forward in the development process (De Feyter, 2011). In extreme cases, dependency can frustrate the success of projects and prevent communities from developing on their own. A development worker operating in a poor village in Latin America wrote: When the only progress villagers see is accompanied by give-aways, villag-

ers can easily become convinced that they are incapable of making progress themselves. This feeling of inadequacy, in turn, creates dependency and subservience, robbing people of their self-respect. Give-aways can also blind people to the need of solving their own problems. (Grudens-Schuck, Allen & Hargrove, 2003, p. 55) As evinced by this testimony, every effort must be made to minimize the presence of dependency and to strive for its antidote: self-reliance (Grudens-Schuck, Allen & Hargrove, 2003, p. 55). If a state of self-reliance is not reached, group autonomy can never fully be achieved. One hopes that examining the conditions that create and maintain dependency among partners will lead to the emergence of better processes for constructing effective programs and mutually beneficial, interdependent partnerships.


An analysis of the existing literature on the topic of dependency and development serves to illuminate the conditions that create and perpetuate a cycle of dependency among partners in development projects. The amount of research on dependency is extensive, therefore the focus is narrowed to conditions appearing frequently in the literature and bearing particular relevance for the succeeding case study—the Vision Sisters of Kibera, Kenya.

Capacity building

Capacity is at the core of the division between organizations who have successful self-sustaining projects and those who succumb to the challenges of organizational demands and fall prey to dependency (Bornstein, 2006). The UN Development

Programme defines capacity as the ability of individuals, institutions and societies to “perform functions, solve problems, and set and achieve objectives” (Technical Advisory Paper 2, 1997, p. 3). The term “capacity building” thus describes the process of establishing human and institutional capacity (Technical Advisory Paper 2, 1997). There are many NGOs and CBOs with a weak ability to operate in an autonomous and sustainable manner (Bornstein, 2006). Many members and leaders of community-based organizations do not have the proper management training or skillsets needed to run an organization. This lack of capacity is often attributed to and perpetuated by the institutions and social patterns present within developing countries (Vargas, 2002). For example, widespread poverty can produce poor health, a limited intellectual development, and a lack of income. The adverse consequences of poverty restrict individuals’ abilities to develop their capacity. In addition, patriarchal structures in a country may curb the participation of women in society (ibid.). Patriarchal norms restrict women’s educational opportunities as well as opportunities to participate in economic and political spheres. This sociocultural condition prevents women from building up their capacity to act independently and informatively. Structural patterns, such as poverty and patriarchy, inherent to many developing countries, hinder the capabilities of CBO workers and push these groups towards greater dependency on external actors for managerial guidance and expertise. Furthermore, irrational donor requirements often impose serious challenges that run counter to capacity building efforts while simultaneously reinforcing dependency (Bornstein, 2006). Donors frequently dictate the terms that NGOs and CBOs must satisfy in order to acFIELD NOTES | VOL II | 55

cess funding. For example, the logical framework approach, with its associated monitoring and evaluation systems, is commonly used by international donors, in theory, for “better tracking of implementation, enhanced accountability of project staff and early identification of both project problems and successes” (ibid., p. 52). Many donors require a logical framework to be used in an organization’s application for funding as well as for reporting progress on a monthly basis (ibid.). The problem is that these approaches make little sense to the NGO or CBO worker. They simply do not have the knowledge, experience, or time needed to meet this demand. A central dilemma, as Bornstein notes, is that “the reporting approaches are misaligned with the process of development, the competences of the organization involved, and the requirements of building stronger relationships around the NGO and project” (ibid., p. 57). As a result, donors tend to reinforce smaller NGO and CBO dependence on their international counterparts to aid in the completion of reports. This once again hampers the success and sustainability of their projects. Overall, without the necessary capacity needed to fulfill managerial roles and dictate their own terms in regards to processes of reporting and funding, an organization’s reliance on external partners simply becomes unavoidable. Sustained funding

The need for sustained funding is a principal cause of dependency, which ultimately inhibits the development of balanced partnerships. Funding for development projects is a continuous challenge inherent to any organization. All NGOs and CBOs are dependent on various sources of funding, most commonly private international donors and intermediary donor-driven NGOs, regardless

56 | MELO

of their commitment to sustainability (Vargas, 2002). Members of communitybased organizations in developing countries, particularly members of women’s groups, often have few alternatives but to rely on funding from donors because they habitually lack collateral for loans as well as knowledge in accessing credit (ibid.). It becomes increasingly problematic when funding is tied to a set of conditions, imposed by the donor, which counter the efforts of organizations to become selfsufficient. The reality of the situation is relatively clear-cut: without money development projects and associated organizations cannot function. The cycle of dependency is once again sustained. Internal hierarchies

Organizations are likely to rely heavily on their external partners when conflict arises around internal hierarchies and systems of accountability. NGOs and CBOs are not homogenous entities. Within every organization there are internal power struggles, ethno-cultural clashes and issues of trust. First of all, deep-seated hierarchies of class are often unintentionally reinforced by mechanisms central to the operations of an organization. For example, in our contemporary society, compiling sophisticated, computer-generated reports for English-speaking funders has become a revered activity (Nagar & Raju, 2003). As a result, salaries, privileges, and prestige have shifted to those workers who can sell their organization to funders. Consequently, the most dynamic grassroots workers, with no formal education or knowledge of English, who were once the central force behind connecting with the people and achieving concrete goals, frequently feel extremely marginalized (ibid.). Most donors and intermediary NGOs consolidate power in the hands of a lim-

ited number of CBO workers. This in turn complicates accountability, encourages internal fractions and breeds distrust (De Feyter, 2011). Other internal hierarchal issues, such as ethnic divisions or the lack of downward accountability of group leaders, also threaten the success of development projects. When organizations are unable to make headway on their own due to internal conflicts, they become increasingly reliant on outside facilitators to motivate and guide them. In extreme cases, all progress reverts and a development project may collapse. Having identified some of the pertinent conditions of dependency, it is important to ask: how can one break this cycle of dependency and use these fundamental partnerships to facilitate empowerment and sustainable development? The case study of the Vision Sisters and my personal fieldwork in Kibera, Kenya addresses this question.

THE VISION SISTERS: BACKGROUND Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s organizations and Kibera

Kibera, one of the largest slums in Sub-Saharan Africa, is estimated to house 750,000 to 1,000,000 people in an area of approximately 2.5 square kilometers (Mutisya & Yarime, 2011; Neuwirth, 2004). The history of Kibera is marked with the inefficacy of slum clearance policies that include the refusal to provide property rights and forced evictions executed by the Kenyan government (Huchzermeyer, 2006). Nairobi city authorities do not recognize informal settlements as legal, and in so doing they exonerate themselves of the responsibility to provide slum dwellers with basic services, safety, and land tenure (De Feyter, 2011). This reality becomes overwhelmingly apparent to the development worker who enters the labyrinth of narrow dirt walkways posi-

tioned between mud-enforced shacks and heaps of plastic bags, food discards and human waste. Due to the patriarchal nature of Kenyan society, women are amongst the ranks of the most disadvantaged cohorts in the country. As difficult as it is for Kenyan women to obtain a position of power in their community, it is, in many cases, women who take the lead in developing their own community-based organizations and poverty-reduction strategies (De Feyter, 2011). Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s groups in Kenya, and Kibera in particular, have begun to fill the fundamental gap that was created and enlarged by the government institutions mandated to support them (Zaki, 2012). Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s groups have become instrumental to slum improvement and the women of Kibera have begun to forge a path towards their own empowerment. As a result, numerous non-governmental organizations and other aid agencies have reached out to these groups and formed strategic partnerships (De Feyter, 2011). Kibera is an exceptional geographical region to explore the nature of these relationships as the area has become a hub for forging local and international partnerships in community-level development projects. The Women in Crisis Centre

The Vision Sisters Working Sisters: Kibera Branch is a community-based, intertribal, self-help group with over 60 active members. Its story began in 2001 when eight Kiberan women banded together to aid their community after tribal violence erupted in retaliation to high rents. Since their foundation, these women mobilized around the collective vision of bringing peace to their slum (Zaki, 2012). Through compounded success, political support and expansion in their membership, they were able to regFIELD NOTES | VOL II | 57

ister as a self-help group with the Kenyan Ministry of Gender, Sports, Culture and Social Services in 2003. Today, they are formally recognized throughout Kibera as the Vision Sisters Working Sisters: Kibera Branch (herein referred to as the Vision Sisters). The plans for the construction of Kibera’s first Women in Crisis Centre emerged in 2006 when a McGill University student and Canadian Field Studies in Africa (CFSIA) alumna named Jane Harbottle volunteered with the Vision Sisters. Inspired by these women’s strength and aspirations for a center, Ms. Harbottle devoted herself to raising the funds needed to cover the costs of construction. On March 6, 2012, after six long and tedious years of fundraising, planning and building— violently interrupted by the 2008 postelection conflict—the ribbon was snipped and Kibera’s first Women in Crisis Centre opened. The Women in Crisis Centre was constructed with the purpose of providing a community space for women-to-women networking, access to crisis counseling, emergency services, and vocational training and acting as a resource center for the women of Kibera. The WICC was built in conjunction with a Water and Sanitation building (WatSan). The purpose of the WatSan facility is to provide access to clean water and washroom facilities for the center and the community at large. It is also meant to act as an income generating activity for the WICC (Harbottle, 2012). Although the objectives for the center and WatSan block were laid out from the onset, the necessary action plan remained disputed. The partners

The Vision Sisters is not the only stakeholder invested in the Women in Crisis Centre. Upon undertaking such an

58 | MELO

ambitious task, the group partnered with international donors and a local NGO. These organizations have and continue to support the project through the provision of volunteers, money and guidance. Each actor has a unique connection with the Vision Sisters and the WICC. There are three organizations which are actively involved in the project: McGill University’s Canadian Field Studies in Africa Program, Reach Out to Humanity, and Maji na Ufanisi. Each year the Canadian Field Studies in Africa Program (CFSIA), directed by McGill University, brings undergraduate students to East Africa for a semester. The program allows students to travel with and learn from an interdisciplinary team of instructors while interacting with local communities and the environment. During the field study program, Professor Thom Meredith introduces the students to the Vision Sisters and Kibera. Following the program, many students go on to intern and volunteer with the Vision Sisters. Reach Out to Humanity (ROTH) is a Canadian registered non-profit organization of which Ms. Harbottle is a member. ROTH supports the WICC by providing funding, assisting in program implementation and capacity building and overseeing each step of the development process. The third party involved in the WICC is Maji na Ufanisi (MnU), a local Kenyan NGO working in the Water and Sanitation sector. MnU funded the WatSan facility that is adjacent to the WICC. MnU provides a significant level of support to the women in terms of trainings and technical assistance. The dream of a fully functioning Women in Crisis Centre belongs not only to the beneficiaries—the Vision Sisters and the women of Kibera at large—but also to each of their partners who have poured their resources, time, energy and hearts

into the project. However, after spending eight weeks interning at the WICC, it became evident that the nature of these partnerships is complicated and that these complications can slow progress. What can be done to ensure that these partnerships—comprised of actors who are deeply invested in the project—work efficiently and effectively towards a viable, self-sustaining center? The answer may lie in considering the concept of dependency. The WICC has been a collaborative project within which the Vision Sisters have depended on volunteers for some aspects of leadership, assistance with capacity building and funding, while outside actors have depended on the Vision Sisters for local needs assessments and knowledge of the community and community dynamics. All of these elements are essential to the projects eventual success, but asymmetries have created problems. Each time volunteers or representatives of the stakeholders arrive in Kibera, the Vision Sisters mobilize their members, express excitement and begin to make progress. Shortly after these visitors leave, progress slows while students go back to school and the Vision Sisters return to other obligations. Having identified this cycle of pulses and delays of activity, many questions arise. What factors have created the dependencies within these partnerships? What obstacles need to be overcome to maintain momentum when volunteers leave and to facilitate empowerment and sustainable development? From the aforementioned literature and my experiences in the field, I attempt to pinpoint some of the causes of the Vision Sisters’ situation and propose an action plan to break the perpetuating cycle and advance the WICC in the hands of the women of Kibera.


Progress to the development of the Women in Crisis Centre appears to have come in short, intense pulses associated with outside interventions. As previously mentioned, these pulses are associated with the presence of McGill interns, volunteers, and representatives of ROTH, MnU, and CFSIA. Months of reduced activity separate these pulses. Over the course of the two months that I worked with the Vision Sisters on the development and implementation of programs for the WICC, I witnessed various issues and conditions that arose as a result of the Vision Sisters’ relationship with their partners, which, in my opinion, should be addressed to advance progress. Overall, as projected by the literature, capacity building, funding, and internal rifts emerge as the predominant factors barricading the Vision Sisters’ pathway to an operational, effective, and self-sustaining Women in Crisis Centre.

The Vision Sisters and capacity building

Developing a crisis center in a Kenyan slum is a challenge that requires a great investment of time, enduring commitment to the project, and strong project management skills. Understandably, with the challenges that women in Kibera face, time for volunteer activities is limited. Given the time that has elapsed from the start of the project and the challenges that have arisen, it is not surprising that commitment to the initial vision has been diluted and diffused at times. Lastly, given the array of tasks that need to be accomplished, it is not surprising that all the required management skills are not immediately available within the group. The Vision Sisters currently do not have the time or training needed to operate and maintain a crisis center indepenFIELD NOTES | VOL II | 59

dently. The majority of the group’s members do not have a post-secondary level of education. Most of the women have children of their own and cannot meet the time commitment needed to operate a center due to their existing family and job responsibilities. Only a few of the women have formal training in managing paperwork and finances or using a computer to file reports thus making it difficult to meet their donors’ demand for regular updates. Those who are trained lack not only the time availability but also the personal commitment to the center because the space is still in the inception phase. There are not routine daily or weekly activities to maintain momentum. Prior to May of 2012, the Vision Sisters had not taken part in any capacity building, team building, or visioning exercises. As a result, the women lacked a collective vision for the center and did not view the space as their own. In addition, many of the Vision Sisters’ members still do not see the facility as something that directly benefits their well-being and that of their families, but rather as something they are asked to support for the benefit of the wider community. Many of the women do not see the benefit in volunteering countless hours of their time, which is taken away from fulfilling personal obligations, and is not being financially compensated by ROTH. As a result of their limited capacity for project management, the evident lack of unanimity in the vision for the center, and competing demands that limit vision and commitment to the project, the Vision Sisters have come to be dependent on the actions of outside facilitators, such as CFSIA interns, who work with the women in Kibera only a few months out of the year. One of the problems central to the Vision Sisters’ management of the WICC is their readiness to adopt the development ideas and strategies of external facilitators. 60 | MELO

Consequently, stakeholders and interns have frequently pulled the vision for the development of WICC in various directions over the years, thus delaying the process of agreeing on a common goal. External actors go to Kibera with great enthusiasm and many new ideas to share. The women are often willing to invest in these new ideas. However, these new ideas may not be consistent with what the women had previously agreed was the core vision of the project, or may not be consistent with the initiatives that previous interns had worked on. Moreover, interns may not be fully aware of what the women want, what the community needs, or what is possible within the slum community. Overall, the Vision Sisters’ lack of time, limited training, and the delays in agreeing on a shared objective for the center are major reasons why the WICC is slow to progress and relies on its partners. The Vision Sisters and sustained funding

Like many other organizations and development projects, the Vision Sisters and the WICC are dependent on their international donors, primarily ROTH, for funding. This spring, the chairladies of the Workshops, Computers, Crisis Response and Income Generation Sub-Committees each drafted a budget outlining the start-up and maintenance costs for the services their respective committee plans to provide. After calculating the costs the women declared that they could not move forward because they do not have the money to do so. They needed money to purchase furniture, pay for workshop facilitators, install computers, and so on. The constant need for funding ultimately hampers the potential for any project to be self-sustaining. In response to this challenge, the interns emphasized the need for the women to rely on new and existing income-generating activities to support

the WICC. For example, we stressed that the Vision Sisters “need to be spending their own money generated from the WatSan block and begin thinking about how to make the center financially sustainable. We started to find that this was pushing them to prioritize the furniture and look for good quality items for the lowest prices” (personal field notes, May 2012). The Women in Crisis Centre needs to find a way to financially support itself if the cycle of dependency is to be broken. And yet, given that poverty is the defining condition of the community, there are challenges associated with achieving financial self-sufficiency. These include 1) inherent limits on the ability to develop local, effective, income generating activities, 2) resistance to diverting funds from any such activities to project goals rather than urgent personal needs, and 3) a continuing belief that enormous relative wealth exists with donors and that these funds will be provided for project goals. The Vision Sisters and internal hierarchies

Internal governance issues have reduced the ability of the Vision Sisters to make decisions and act collectively and independently from their outside partners. For the eight weeks that I was present in the WICC, tensions surrounding leadership roles arose on more than one account. One issue originated from the Vision Sisters’ partners, CFSIA, MuU, and ROTH, hiring a temporary manager for the WICC from within the Vision Sisters. When the manager stepped in to fulfill her role she was questioned by the other members of the group. The Vision Sisters’ members were confused by her sudden shift to a position of authority as they had not been a part of the decision-making process. As a result, it took a great deal of time for the manager’s contributions and proposals to be widely accepted.

The effects of nominating sub-committee chairs and a chair for the WICC were twofold. The literature notes that when NGOs and international donors place power in the hands of a limited number of CBO workers it encourages internal conflict and distrust. However, our experiences proved that having four women elected to represent each of the WICC sub-committees resulted in greater direction, accountability and advancement to each of the groups. These women were dedicated to the cause of their committees and proud to be elected into their leadership roles. Although they tended to be the members with the greatest experience, education, and knowledge of English, they were widely respected by the others and representative of their committees. I believe this was the result because the Vision Sisters democratically selected these women to be their leaders. On the other hand, the establishment of leadership positions within the WICC created friction with the existing Vision Sisters’ leader. While the Vision Sisters and interns spent time developing programs for the WICC, the highly respected and elderly chairlady of the Vision Sisters was largely absent due to her other responsibilities in the community. In coming to the realization that new leadership positions had been created and filled, respective to the WICC, the chairlady expressed confusion. Not wanting to disrespect or act against the wishes of their chairlady, many of the Vision Sisters’ members were reluctant to proceed with the sub-committee missions and progress once again slowed. Each of the partners involved in the project need to learn how to work within the existing hierarchies of the group. In addition to leadership, ethnic tension complicates the group’s dynamics. Notions of identity within Kenya are very much tied to ethnicity. Certain ethnic FIELD NOTES | VOL II | 61

groups stereotypically represent ideas of power or leadership. Within the Vision Sisters, it becomes problematic when ethnic identity becomes tied to members’ positions within the group. These tensions act as another obstacle to the development of the WICC. Evidently, internal problems have hindered the progress of the WICC and forced the Vision Sisters to turn to their partners and on the ground facilitators to not only help push development forward but to help resolve personal disputes. The question remains: how do we break this cycle and formulate partnerships that will empower the women of Kibera?


Through the solutions of participatory planning, a strong management system and sustained communication and continuity, the cycle of dependency will be broken and the WICC will be placed into the hands of its beneficiaries: the Vision Sisters and the women of Kibera, Kenya.

Participatory planning

Participatory planning is one of the most effective and successful ways of empowering women in development projects. The role of women in development is fundamental; however women are not always involved in the decision-making processes that affect them most. Participatory planning is one of the ways in which women can “take part in collective decision-making at all levels of society and to some extent control the outcome of these actions” (Zaki, 2012, p. 56). Participatory planning in development projects is used to ensure that the beneficiaries are the ones molding the vision and goals of the project that is designed to meet their needs (Zaki, 2012). Participatory initiatives engage a variety of stakeholders in

62 | MELO

a range of activities, including planning, prioritization, implementation, and assessment of gains (Grudens-Schuck, Allen & Hargrove, 2003, p. 54). Overall, participatory planning is designed to drive commitment, build capacity, and support the longevity of results. During the course of our research, we as facilitators employed a participatory approach in hopes that the Vision Sisters would engage in capacity building, take ownership of the center, and develop a strategic plan and skillset that would serve their self-sustainability. The other students and I engaged the women in the following activities: (1) a gap/needs assessment; (2) the creation of a floor plan; (3) the re-writing of their constitution; (4) a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis; and (5) visioning exercises leading to the creation of a short-term (two year) strategic plan (for a detailed analysis of the objectives, techniques and results of these approaches refer to Ghada Zaki’s The Empowerment of Women Through Participatory Planning, 2012). Many achievements resulted from our efforts in the field. These triumphs work to counter the conditions that ultimately create and maintain the Vision Sisters’ state of dependency. Firstly, through these participatory activities, the Vision Sisters’ members gained invaluable skills that have increased their capacity to operate and maintain a crisis center. Ms. Zaki highlights that: Through the SWOT exercises they were exposed to thinking critically about the environment they had inhabited for so many years and about the group they belonged to. Through the design of the floor plan the women learnt about negotiation, compromise, and design. Through the creation of the strategic plan they learnt

to look realistically at budgets and the cost of certain services. Through the formulation of the plan they also learnt about accountability and mechanisms that would support it. Prioritizing was also a skill set that was practiced throughout many of the exercises. Lastly, the women acquired experience in setting goals and breaking them down into short, medium, and long-term. (2012, p. 99100) Throughout this process the women began to paint a picture, using the same brush and the same strokes, of how they envisioned the WICC. This picture was not one commissioned by any intern, NGO worker or donor, but rather it was a picture all of their own. In addition to providing the women with a set of skills and a sense of ownership over the space, the participatory approach helped the women design ideas for innovative lowcost income-generating activities based on their own talents. The women expressed enthusiasm towards making washing detergents, beaded crafts, and hand-sewn tablecloths. Although these activities are small in scope, they represent a step towards making the WICC financially sustainable. Furthermore, the inclusive participation of each of the members of the Vision Sisters forced them to address and act upon internal politicized issues, such as leadership tensions and ethnic divisions. Since the doorway of communication was already open it was easier for the women to discuss these issues when they arose in their general meetings and come to a solution. As a facilitator attempting to employ this approach, it was a challenge watching the women struggle with how to begin. It took time for the group to build their confidence, mold a collective vision for the

center and identify the types of questions that needed to be asked. We restrained from imposing our ideas by being patient and reiterating the fact that we were only there to observe (Zaki, 2012). One of the weaknesses central to participatory development is that it takes a great deal of time and effort to be successful. For example, it took us close to a month for the women to design and agree upon a final floor plan for the WICC. Apart from the Vision Sistersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; weekly scheduled meetings, it was difficult to arrange additional meetings that all of the women could afford to attend as their personal commitments to jobs and families demand a great deal of their time. Nonetheless, we worked hard during the time that we were given and garnered a great deal of success. Based on the overall achievement of our fieldwork, as well as the documented successes of those who have engaged in participatory planning before us, this approach needs to be sustained by future facilitators. Involving the Vision Sisters in activities that are largely directed by them has been extremely beneficial in regards to capacity building, skills training, and them taking ownership of the center. Undoubtedly, much more work needs to done before the Vision Sisters are able to act independently and the WICC is fully operational. However, it must be known that in order to counter the conditions that perpetuate dependency on external partners this work needs to include the Vision Sisters in all levels of decisionmaking. The role of management

A strong management system is extremely important to guide a new project and push it towards self-sustainability. Firstly, the WICC is in need of a resilient, capable, innovative and reliable manager. This manager needs to be democratically FIELD NOTES | VOL II | 63

elected by the Vision Sisters in conjunction with CFSIA, ROTH, and MnU. This individual needs to represent the group’s aspirations and vision and they must have the time to commit to engage the group’s members in a participatory development process. They need to demand accountability from each of the chairladies, subcommittee members, and stakeholders. Vargas accurately depicts a manager as someone who: Needs to be able to respond to the culture and nature of the enterprise; not only to technical and legal mandates. More specifically, such a manager needs to respond to administrative feasibility while fostering long-term local organizational capacity…This person also needs to respond to political feasibility of the organization, the internal dynamics, the external environment, and the international donors (2002, p. 1551). Ultimately, it is hoped that if the Vision Sisters are the central force behind electing a manager to represent them in the WICC, this individual will be able to breed an atmosphere of trust and respect, ensure that every member has an equal say, and represent these opinions through a single voice—regardless of what ethnic group this person represents. In addition, the WICC would benefit from the involvement of medium-term local interns to help build the capacity of the Vision Sisters and supplement the participation of short-term international interns. Employing local, educated and experienced interns from Nairobi universities or active youth groups in Kibera is a viable method to help train the women in project management and computer skills and to sustain the impacts of short-term internships. International volunteers, 64 | MELO

specifically from McGill, have played an instrumental role as facilitators and trainers in the development of the capacity of the women. However, the positive effects of these internships on development processes are often short-lived due to the insignificant duration of time spent interacting with the women in the field. Employing local interns would help solve this dilemma. Evidently, the lack of a competent, passionate, dedicated manager, as well as educated, medium-term, local interns, is a dominant explanation as to why the development of the WICC is still in progress. In order to break the cycle of dependency on short-term facilitators and stakeholders, the WICC is in need of onthe-ground personnel to work collaboratively with the Vision Sisters and help guide them in the right direction. Communication and continuity

One of the greatest constraints of effective development work is the lack of channels of communication and continuity between all of the stakeholders involved in a project, whether these are communities, intermediary NGOs, local governments, or international donors (Vargas, 2002). It has become evident that synchronizing the organizational goals of all of the partners is essential to a project’s short and long-term success. In order for partnerships to be effective they must be built on trust and reciprocity, which is achieved through open communication, transparency and accountability (ibid.). At this moment, the channels of communication between the Vision Sisters, CFSIA, ROTH, MnU, and past and future interns are murky. This is due in part to the limited capacity of the Vision Sisters, the continued development of the center and the incompletion of the WICC constitution. The enactment of a constitution, endorsed by each of the stakeholders,

will enforce how often progress reports and financial accounts will be sent from the WICC executive to their partners, as well as how often the Advisory Board, Executive Committee, and Sub-Committee meetings will take place. It will be the WICC manager’s responsibility to ensure that these mechanisms are transparent, comprehensive, and upheld by all of the Vision Sisters. The completion, acknowledgement, and enforcement of this document by all of the parties will be a significant stepping-stone towards maintaining constant communication and continuity. A perpetual flow of communication between external actors and the members of an organization who are not in positions of leadership is also vital to the realization of a project. Engaging with and becoming familiar with the internal context of an organization and an intervention is of great importance to all of the stakeholders involved (De Feyter, 2011). For example, the success of a project is compromised when the donor is ignorant of a complex internal dispute, such as ethnic divisions, that is causing problems to a project’s organizational structure (ibid.). Development partners need to monitor internal heterogeneity and discuss group issues with all of the actors involved in order to alleviate power struggles and conflicts that arise and to see the development process through to its success. Furthermore, in order for internships to be effective, the stakeholders, including CFSIA, MnU, and ROTH, need to activate a bridge between the new interns, the Vision Sisters, past interns, and themselves. The interns, local or international, must receive knowledge and training on the mission of the WICC, the actors involved, the story of the Vision Sisters, the workings of a crisis centre, and the essential process of participatory planning before diving headfirst into the field. Past

experiences have proven that it is problematic when interns arrive at the WICC without training on the conditions of a slum, the history of the Vision Sisters, the nature of women’s groups, development strategies, the structure of a crisis center, and so on. The list of necessary information needed to have an effective and sustaining impact is extensive. The learning curve for any new actor involved in the project is steep. By engaging these individuals in open forums with all of the stakeholders, with literature on Kibera and the Vision Sisters, and training in participatory development, their impact on the project will hopefully be much greater and longer lasting. Therefore, the activation of this bridge and the opening of channels of communication are fundamental for any new actor involved in any aspect of the development of the WICC. Overall, the solutions of participatory planning, a strong management system and sustained communication and continuity will ensure that the Vision Sisters’ partnerships support the self-sustainability of the WICC, whose activities will empower the women of Kibera.


Although partnerships have the potential to deteriorate the effectiveness and sustainability of a project, if they are constructed on a transparent and balanced foundation, they can help organize a group people, impart crucial knowledge and skillsets, and empower a local community. It is through the case study of the Vision Sisters that capacity building, funding, and internal governance issues emerge as the fundamental conditions maintaining a cycle of dependency on external actors. These conditions can be remedied if they are coupled with a participatory development approach, a sound FIELD NOTES | VOL II | 65

management system, and open channels of communication and continuity between each of the partners involved. It is important to remember that one is dependent in relation to someone or something. Therefore, it is the responsibility of all the parties in a partnership to adapt in order to effect positive change (Grudens-Schuck, Allen & Hargrove, 2003). By addressing the social phenomenon of partnerships within international development, one hopes that the Vision Sisters will be able to push ahead to the next ‘arc’ in filling their mission as a crisis centre to empower the women of Kibera, Kenya.


I would like to acknowledge first and foremost the Vision Sisters who welcomed me into their group and taught me invaluable lessons. I would also like to thank Maji na Ufanisi for formally hosting my internship and Vincenza Wanjiku Mwangi Khisa for guiding me along the process. Lastly, I would like to thank my professor and supervisor Dr. Thom Meredith for his constant support and wisdom.

REFERENCES Bornstein, L. (2006). Systems of Accountability, Webs of Deceit? Monitoring and Evaluation in South African NGOs. Development, 49 (2), 52-61. Carroll, T. F. (1992). Intermediary NGOs: The supporting link in grassroots development. West Hartford: Kumarian Press. De Feyter, S. (2011). Impact of international donors’ new policy agenda on project collaboration between community-based women organizations and NGOs in the Kibera slums of Nairobi, Kenya. Afrika Focus, 24 (1), 33- 50. Oxford Dictionary. (2013) Dependence. In Oxford Dictionaries. Retrieved from http:// dependence

66 | MELO

De Wit, J. & Berner, E. (2009). Progressive Patronage? Municipalities, NGOs, CBOs and the Limits to Slum Dwellers’ Empowerment. Development & Change, 40 (5), 927-947. Fernand, V. (2006). NGOs, Social Movements, External Funding and Dependency. Development, 49 (2), 22-28. Fowler, A. (1998). Authentic NGDO Partnerships in the New Policy Agenda for International Aid: Dead End or Light Ahead? Development and Change, 29, 137-159. Grudens-Schuck, N., Allen, W., & Hargrove, T. (2003). Renovating dependency and selfreliance for participatory sustainable development. Agriculture and Human Values, 20, 53-64. Hainard, F. & Verschuur, C. (2001). Filling the Urban Policy Breach: Women’s Empowerment, Grass-Roots Organizations, and Urban Governance. International Political Science Review, 22 (1), 33-53. Handelman, H. (2009). The Challenge of Third World Development. New Jersey: Pearson Education. Harbottle, J. (2012) Concept Paper. Harbottle, J. & Meredith, T. (2011) Joint Venture Agreement. Huchzermeyer, M. (2009). Enumeration as a Grassroot Tool Towards Securing Tenure in Slums: Insight from Kisumu, Kenya. Urban Forum, 20 (10), 271-292. Marshall, G. (1998). Patron-Client Relationship. In A Dictionary of Sociology. Retrieved from doc/1O88-patronclientrelationship.html Mutisya, E. & Yarime, M. (2011). Understanding the Grassroots Dynamics of Slums in Nairobi: The Dilemma of Kibera Informal Settlements. International Transaction Journal of Engineering, Management & Applied Sciences & Technology, 197-213. Nagar, R., Raju S. (2003). Women, NGOs and the Contradictions of Empowerment and Disempowerment: A Conversation. Antipode, 35 (1), 1-13.

Neuwirth, R. (2004). Shadow Cities: A Billion Squatters, A New Urban World. New York: Routledge. United Nations Development Programme. (1997, July). Technical Advisory Paper 2. Retrieved from magnet/Docs/cap/Capdeven.pdf Vargas, C. (2002). Women in Sustainable Development: Empowerment through Partnerships for Healthy Living. World Development, 30 (9), 1539-1560. Zaki, G. (2012). The Empowerment of Women through Participatory Planning: A Case Study of Kibera, Kenya. McGill University.


Feeding a City: Urban Agriculture in Montréal

DANIEL HABERMAN, ARYEH CANTER, ANAIS CLERCQ, WILLIAM DREYER, LAURA GILLIES, LAETITIA PANCRAZI, VALENTINE RINNER, FEDERICO MARTELLOZZO The Office de Consultation Publique de Montréal’s (OCPM) recently published report on the state of urban agriculture in Montréal confirms that urban agriculture can provide social wellbeing and a better living environment to Montréal’s inhabitants. While this report focuses on qualitative information, our study quantitatively evaluates the potential for the city of Montréal to produce enough vegetables for its demand. Using a range of urban gardening and hydroponics yields, we calculate the ability of Montréal’s 33 boroughs to meet local vegetable demand. Results vary greatly depending on growing method, indicating the importance of management when implementing such a system. A performance index will evaluate the ability of each borough to meet its food demand using primarily vacant space and residential yard space for organic agriculture. Boroughs that are able to sustain high population densities and feed themselves are considered to have the most efficient land use for urban agriculture. Further research should examine economic, ecological and social trade-offs when designing urban agriculture systems. This research is intended to supply information of potential yields from different urban agriculture systems in Montréal, and start the conversation on optimal agricultural land use composition for the boroughs on the island.


This study was completed in partial fulfillment of the course requirements of GEOG 460: Research in Sustainability.



ultivating crops and raising livestock in and around cities is not a new concept, but a forgotten one. Urban agriculture is the practice of growing, processing and distributing food in towns, cities and in peri-urban areas. By 2025, two thirds of the global population will live in urban centers, increasing the need to produce food closer to its consumers (MacRae et al., 2010). The exponential growth of our population is threatening food security in cities (FAO, 2003). Diversifying food inputs, including a range of local sources, is one way in which cities can become more resilient as they would no longer have to depend solely on imports of food from rural areas or other countries (Grewal and Grewal, 2012). One of the proposed solutions to increase food security and make cities more sustainable is to implement local urban agricultural systems. Urban agriculture provides many benefits to urban and rural populations, as well as both the global and local environment. To begin, Duchemin et al. (2008) underline the improvement of the urban lifestyle by creating united, self-sufficient communities, giving access to fresher, healthier, local food, and reducing food miles and cities’ carbon footprints. Equally important, urban agriculture (1) modifies urban settlements by creating green areas and reducing the urban heat island effect; (2) creates better living conditions for urban residents by providing them with ecosystem services such as water and air purification; and (3) effectively reduces poverty and hunger by recycling urban food waste and creating new jobs (Duchemin et al. 2008). Reducing poverty and hunger are essential factors in achieving sustainable development (Duchemin et al. 2008). Over the past few decades, these numerous benefits have led North American cities to adopt urban agriculture ini-

tiatives (MacRae et al., 2010; Altieri et al., 1999). The viability of large-scale urban agriculture, however, requires more research. Urban agriculture can be implemented in diverse forms, by people of varying levels of expertise, and with different farm management techniques (Duchemin et al., 2008). Montréal has been implementing agriculture for the past 30 years through collective gardens, city-organized community garden programs, and personal gardens (Duchemin et al., 2008). Gardening techniques range from organic agriculture, with no pesticides or herbicides use, to hydroponics, where crops are fed nutrients through water, eliminating the need for soil. While hydroponic systems are generally able to produce extremely high yields, they typically require an increase in energy use and labour, and entail higher infrastructure costs (Jensen and Collins, 1985). For this reason, this project will minimize the use of hydroponics, favouring the use of soil-bound agricultural methods in areas of the city deemed to be suitable for conversion. Furthermore, L’Office de Consultation Publique de Montréal (OCPM) recently published a report on the state of urban agriculture in Montréal, after a petition of over 22,000 signatures called for its inception. This report confirmed that urban agriculture can provide social wellbeing and environmental quality to Montréal, but failed to provide any quantitative data on Montréal’s urban agriculture’s capacity. The main goals of this study are twofold and attempt to compliment the qualitative findings of the OCPM report. First, the research will measure the ability of the island of Montréal to meet its vegetable demand using a variety of urban agricultural systems, such as organic or high intensity methods. Second, the study will comment on the ability of Montréal’s 33 boroughs FIELD NOTES | VOL II | 69

to provide a full vegetable diet to their inhabitants while minimizing the use of hydroponics. Multiple land use scenarios will simulate how the city might change if it were forced to be self-sufficient in its vegetable production. A performance index will evaluate the boroughs in a scenario where (1) hydroponics use is minimized and (2) the use of vacant and residential yard space for farming is maximized. Boroughs that are able to sustain high population densities without having to resort to the use of hydroponics are considered to have the most efficient land use for urban agriculture.


In order to assess the potential for urban agriculture on the island, consumption and production patterns are considered. Representing the recommended consumption for an active healthy lifestyle, the proportion and variety of vegetables found within a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) basket constitutes the vegetable intake of a Montréaler. Production patterns simulate meeting this demand. The total production of each vegetable is calculated for various farming systems by allocating each system’s respective yield to assorted land use types according to four outlined scenarios.

Vegetable demand

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO), Statistics Canada (StatsCan), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the World Health Organization (WHO), the recommended daily intake of dense and leafy vegetables, frozen vegetables, and fruit is 500 grams per person per day. Fresh vegetables should represent about two thirds of this daily recommendation (Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide, 2011). Thus, the


recommended intake per person per day of fresh vegetables is 330g. Vegetable demand per borough is calculated using the population data from the 2011 Statistics Canada census (Ville de Montréal, 2012). The following formula yields yearly vegetable demand for a given population, and is applied to each borough on the island of Montréal: Yearly vegetable demand per borough (grams) = population * 330g/day * 365 days Vegetable yields and varieties

A CSA basket designed and distributed by Santropol Roulant, an urban garden in Montréal, will represent the proportion and mix of standard vegetables present in the average Montréaler’s diet. As yields can vary greatly depending on the type and intensity of farming, the study will explore a range of yield estimates (Duchemin et al., 2008). The study defines high intensity urban agriculture as closely monitored projects that can produce much higher yields than either conventional or basic organic agriculture (ibid.). Conversely, low intensity urban agriculture is a production system with a less intensive management system and generally has poorer soil quality (ibid.). In essence, this broad range of gardening techniques can produce vastly different yields. The analysis uses yield ratios to establish the yields for low and high intensity urban agriculture, which were determined using Statistics Canada (2012) data for conventional agriculture yields in Québec. Low intensity urban agriculture yield per vegetable are conservatively estimated as a ratio of 0.74 of the corresponding conventional yield for that vegetable (Seufert et al., 2011). Conversely, high intensity urban agriculture yields were calculated using a ratio of 3.14 that of conventional

yields (Duchemin et al., 2008). This range of values is important in determining a range of the population that could be fed both on the island as a whole as well as per borough. Hydroponic yield data per vegetable was compiled and averaged from a variety of sources. Montréal’s Lufa Farms, a local hydroponic rooftop greenhouse operation that supplies vegetables to the island, volunteered their vegetable yield data. Since hydroponic systems are generally indoors and are not dependent on climate, these yields were combined and averaged with yields from international studies (Jensen, 1988; Resh, 2002), producing a single yield value per vegetable.


The study utilizes a land use map obtained from Communauté Urbaine de Montréal as well as a map outlining the 33 boroughs on the island from the TRAM Group (2011). Roads were removed from all land uses on the map using an average width of 8 meters per two-lane road. The land uses deemed available for urban agriculture in the simulations are: vacant space, residential yard space, and industrial rooftop space. The study defines vacant space as all unused space in a borough including officially unexploited space and parking lots (Desjardins, 2001). Residential areas are split up by housing density, with ten percent of high-density housing areas, and twenty percent of medium and low-density housing areas considered viable for vegetable production. This proportion of residential area is an estimation of land that would otherwise be used as a lawn or garden, and is therefore available for urban agriculture in the simulation. The study defines low-density housing as semi-detached row housing, medium-density housing as

townhouses or two or three houses with adjoining walls, and high-density housing as condominium or apartment buildings (Desjardins, 2001). The Permanent Agricultural Zone in Montréal extends over five boroughs. This agricultural zone is left intact in the analysis and all production in this zone is assumed to be vegetable production with conventional agriculture yields. Hydroponic production is assigned to take place on industrial rooftops. Lastly, the most recent Montréal census provides population data population data for each borough (Ville de Montréal, 2011).


Applying the following scenarios to the entire Island of Montréal determines the percentage of its vegetable demand that could be met by allocating agriculture to the selected land use types: Scenario 1: Vegetable production is allocated to all vacant space on the island, first using low intensity urban agriculture yields and again using high intensity agriculture yields. Scenario 2: Vegetable production is allocated to all industrial rooftop space using the hydroponic yields. Scenario 3: Vegetable production is allocated only to residential yard and garden areas, using either the low or high intensity yields. Scenario 4: Combination of Scenarios 1-3. Vegetable production is first allocated to vacant space and then to residential areas. If vegetable demand still is not met then the remainder of required production is allocated to hydroponic agriculture on industrial rooftops. FIELD NOTES | VOL II | 71

Scenario 4 is repeated, assessing the ability of each of the 33 boroughs to feed its inhabitants rather than the island as a whole. The permanent agriculture zone, situated in the western end of the island, is included in each scenario using conventional agriculture yield values. A performance index measures the ability of each borough to support a high population density without resorting to hydroponic production to meet its vegetable demand. An ideal borough would support a high population density, grow all of its vegetables using vacant or lawn space, and would not require any hydroponic use.


The results of the four scenarios are found in Table 1. The use of high versus low intensity urban agriculture has an extremely large impact on the percentage of the population that can be fed, suggesting that the use of vacant and residential space is extremely important in food production. If all vacant space is utilized with low intensity yield values in combination with all industrial rooftops for hydroponics yields, MontrĂŠalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s vegetable demand

can be met three times over (scenario 4). Using only a percentage of residential yard space, high intensity urban agriculture can also meet the food demand for the entire island (scenario 3). A simulated scenario assesses the amount of supplementary hydroponics required for each borough. Considering low intensity yields (Figure 1a), the borough with the highest hydroponic demand is Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extention, where 86% of the vegetable demand must be provided with hydroponics. Conversely, no hydroponic use is necessary to meet the vegetable demand in 13 of the 33 boroughs. For high intensity farming (Figure 1b), 24 boroughs do not require hydroponics to meet their food demand. In order to determine the feasibility of these plans, the percentage of industrial rooftop space required to meet the demand for each borough is calculated. For example, some boroughs may require 50% of vegetables from hydroponics to meet demand, but do not have enough rooftop space to grow that amount of vegetables.

Table 1. Four land use scenarios expressing the percent of food demand met on the entire island of MontrĂŠal using either a conservative estimate or a high estimate for urban agriculture yields. Scenario 1. All vacant space

Low Intensity Yields

High Intensity Yields



2. All industrial rooftops


3. Residential (10% high density, 20% medium & low density)



4. Vacant space + industrial rooftops + residential space




Figure 1. Percentage of vegetable demand that must be produced through hydroponics per borough after using low intensity yields (a) and high intensity yields (b) in all vacant space and residential yard space. See Appendix for borough key. FIELD NOTES | VOL II | 73

Figure 2. Percentage of available industrial rooftop area required to meet the food demand of the given borough after using low intensity yields (a) and high intensity yields (b) in all vacant space, and residential yard space. See Appendix for borough key. 74 | HABERMAN ET AL.

In this case, the borough would not be able to provide an adequate amount of vegetables to its inhabitants. With low intensity farming (Figure 2a), 12 boroughs did not have the required rooftop space. However, with high intensity estimates (Figure 2b), only two boroughs are unable to grow enough vegetables with their industrial rooftops. These boroughs are Plateau-Mont Royal and Rosemont-La Petite Patrie. The boroughs that require large amounts of rooftop space either have an extremely high population or an extensive amount of land that is dedicated to another land use type, such as commercial or industry, making it difficult to implement effective urban agriculture in these areas. When comparing the performance of the boroughs, the study considers an ideal borough to support a high population density while farming in areas that are easily convertible to agricultural space (Figure 3). These areas include all vacant space as well as residential space that would otherwise be used for lawns or ornamental gardens. Higher population density implies

that there is less space available for urban agriculture. In this case, supplementary hydroponics is likely required unless the borough has a surplus of residential and vacant land use, such as the boroughs located in the bottom right quadrant of Figure 3. Using conservative low-yield estimates, only one borough achieves this efficient use of space, whereas with high yield estimates eight boroughs perform in the ideal quadrant.


Even with low intensity yields, utilizing all vacant space, industrial rooftops, and the chosen percentages of residential yard space meets the vegetable demand of MontrĂŠalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s population (Table 1). However, these scenarios do not reflect the energy required to maximize food production, nor do they consider that inputs may be limited. They simply state the quantity of food that can be produced on the entire island by efficiently using the specified spaces with estimated yields. In reality, a scenario like this could create unequal ac-

Figure 3. Performance indicator of each borough comparing relative hydroponic production needs against relative population density for low yield (a) and high yield (b) scenarios where all vacant space and allotted residential space is used for organic agriculture. A negative hydroponic production value means that the borough exceeds its vegetable demand without needing any hydroponics. A positive value means that at least some hydroponics use is required. See Appendix for borough key with population data. FIELD NOTES | VOL II | 75

cess to food or food deserts, since the boroughs with large amounts of vacant space would essentially become producers to fill the needs of the more consumptive residential boroughs. This goes against two of the main advantages of urban agriculture: (1) to minimize the transportation costs by bringing food closer to consumers and (2) to create greater access to food by bringing the consumers closer to the food production process, eliminating the need for a middleman. For the purpose of food access and population-based allocation of vegetable production, the ability of each borough to meet its own vegetable demand is more relevant. Currently, there are disparities in access to fresh vegetables in in MontrĂŠal (Bertrand et al., 2008). Creating a system where production is concentrated in densely populated areas would ensure that each borough produces enough food that is easily available to all its inhabitants, and aid in eliminating food deserts. The analysis of the 33 boroughs (Figure 3) illustrates which are the most efficient at producing soil-bound vegetables while maintaining high population densities. Areas with higher population densities are more built up and therefore contain less space for non-hydroponics urban agriculture. As a result, a borough with a population density lower than the islandwide average should have more space available for urban agriculture. It then follows that a borough with high population density and a low need for hydroponics is the most efficient in terms of food production. The performance index provides insight into the efficiency of each borough in terms of its ability to feed its population with its current land use. That is not to say that urban planning policies should force the under-performing boroughs to have similar infrastructure as, for instance, 76 | HABERMAN ET AL.

Saint-Leonard, which can potentially provide vegetables to all of its inhabitants. There are many other factors that influence the planning of space in a borough, and this figure only captures one aspect. However, if developers consider the applicability of urban agriculture to cities, these results have implications for zoning and planning and should be investigated in more detail.


While these results are encouraging for the potential of urban agriculture in MontrĂŠal, the analysis chose not to consider seasonality. The shortened growing season at this latitude will reduce potential yields from non-hydroponics urban agriculture and will increase the amount of hydroponics required in all boroughs to meet year round demand for fresh vegetables. For this reason, the exact effects of a shortened growing season would have been difficult to determine. In reality, boroughs in our simulation would likely only use hydroponics during the winter months and implement outdoor agriculture during the growing season to maximize the production performance. Additionally, the study does not assess the effect of urban pollution on the quality of the vegetables since conclusive research on this subject has yet to be completed. Pundits of urban agriculture may also argue that the implementation of largescale urban agriculture has resounding economic consequences for rural farmers. However, rural farmers will likely always be able to grow more extensive crops like cereals, which garner much higher production value than vegetables (FAO Statistics, 2011). This study focused primarily on yields and does not explore the other positive or negative impacts associated with urban agriculture. Although urban agriculture is

an interesting solution to improve cities’ ecological footprints, risks and constraints still exist. For one, land competition can emerge between the transportation, housing, industrial and agricultural sectors, reducing the amount of land available for urban agriculture. The analysis of the boroughs shows that most would be able to meet their inhabitant’s vegetable demand, decreasing the disparity in vegetable access across the island. While this might aid in providing food security by increasing availability, issues of accessibility and use must also be deliberated when implementing a project such as this, and are not considered in this study. Furthermore, water and air pollution, as well as contaminated urban wastes can lead to disease and other health concerns, which can dissuade the adoption of urban agriculture by urban residents. Further research is required in order to determine other trade-offs involved in the large-scale production of food in an urban environment. Only when all the trade-offs are understood can we implement adequate policies. This study serves as a steppingstone in this process by providing a range of potential vegetable yields available to the island. Ultimately, policy should be based off significant and comprehensive data, which is currently lacking in the realm of urban agriculture.

importantly, this research demonstrates that a real potential exists for urban agriculture to play a significant role in meeting Montréal’s vegetable needs.


We have many people to thank. First, we would like to acknowledge Lufa Farms for providing data about their hydroponic system and giving us a tour of their facilities. We also would like to thank Dr. Duchemin’s office for their research and data on urban yields in Montréal as well as guidance in conducting our own research. Our work would have been impossible to do if it had not been for Professor Federico Martellozzo, and we thank him for his supervision and leadership.


This research provides a starting point for further analysis of the quantitative potential of urban agriculture in Montréal. This preliminary study has significant impacts for zoning and redistricting plans. The ‘ideal’ borough maintains high population density while retaining the ability to meet the majority of vegetable demand with minimal input from hydroponics, at least during the summer months. Most FIELD NOTES | VOL II | 77

APPENDIX Table 1. MontrĂŠal boroughs with associated population.


REFERENCES Agudo, A. (2004). Measuring intake of fruits and vegetables. WHO Library Cataloguing in Publication Data, 1-40. Altieri, M. A., Companioni, N., Cañizares, K., Murphy, C., Rosset, P., Bourque, M., & Nicholls, C. I. (1999). The greening of the « barrios  »: urban agriculture for food security in Cuba. Agriculture and Human Values, 16(2), 131–140. Ayalon, R. (2005). Making Rooftops Bloom: Strategies for encouraging rooftop greening in Montréal. Retrieved from: Making_Rooftops_Bloom_Final_Draft.pdf Bertrand, L., Thérien, F., & Cloutier, M.-S. (2008). Measuring and mapping disparities in access to fresh fruits and vegetables in Montréal. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 99(1), 611. Brown, K. H., & Jameton, A. L. (2000). Public Health Implications of Urban Agriculture. Journal of Public Health Policy, 21(1), 20. Burger J. R., Allen C. D., Brown J. H., Burnside W. R., Davidson A. D., et al. (2012). The Macroecology of Sustainability. PLoS Biol, 10(6), 1-7. Communauté Urbaine De Montréal. (1996). Occupation Du Sol Map. [Arcview Shape] 1:20,000. Duchemin, E., Wegmuller, F., & Legault, A.-M. (2009). Urban agriculture: multidimensional tools for social development in poor neighbourhoods. Field Actions Science Reports. The journal of field actions, (Vol. 1). Retrieved from: http://factsreports. FAO and WHO. (2004). Fruit and Vegetables for Health. Kobe, Japan. Retrieved from

FAO. (2003). Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption becomes a global priority. FAO News Room Focus. Retrieved from: FAO Statistics. (2011). Value of Agricultural production. Retrieved from: http://faostat. FAO Statistics. (2012). Canada economic indicators. Retrieved from http://faostat.fao. org/CountryProfiles/Country_Profile/Direct.aspxlang=en&area=33 Government of Canada. (2007). Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide - Main Page Health Canada. landing page. Retrieved from: Grewal, S. S., & Grewal, P. S. (2012). Can cities become self-reliant in food? Cities, 29(1), 111. INPES. (2011). Au moins 5 fruits et légumes par jour (Dépliant). Programme National Nutrition Santé. Retrieved from: http:// o=1,100000,0 Jensen, M. H., & Collins, W. L. (1985). Hydroponic Vegetable Production. In J. Janick (Ed.), Horticultural Reviews (p. 483–558). John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Retrieved from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley. com/doi/10.1002/9781118060735.ch10/ summary Jensen, M. H. (1997). Hydroponics worldwide. In International Symposium on Growing Media and Hydroponics 481 (p. 719–730). Retrieved from:


MacRae, R., Gallant, E., Patel, S., Michalak, M., Bunch, M., & Schaffner, S. (2010). Could Toronto provide 10% of its fresh vegetable requirements from within its own boundaries? Matching consumption requirements with growing spaces. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 105127. Resh, H. M. (2004). Hydroponic Food Production: A Definitive Guidebook of Soilless Food-growing Methods : for the Professional and Commercial Grower and the Advanced Home Hydroponics Gardener. New York: Routledge. Santropol Roulant. (2012). Fresh Baskets. Retrieved from: site/what-we-do/urban-agriculture/freshbaskets/ Seufert, V., Ramankutty, N., & Foley, J. A. (2012). Comparing the yields of organic and conventional agriculture. Nature, 485(7397), 229232. Smit, J., & Nasr, J. (1992). Urban agriculture for sustainable cities: using wastes and idle land and water bodies as resources. Environment and Urbanization, 4(2), 141152. Statistics Canada. (2012). Fruit and vegetable production (Catalogue no. 22-003-X) Subar, A. F., Heimendinger, J., Patterson, B. H., Krebs-Smith, S. M., Pivonka, E., & Kessler, R. (1995). Fruit and vegetable intake in the United States: the baseline survey of the Five A Day for Better Health Program. American journal of health promotion: AJHP, 9(5), 352360. TRAM Group. (2009). Montréal Borough Map. [ArcView Shape] 1 :20, 000. USDA Vegetable Guidelines. (n.  d.). Discovery fit & health. Retrieved from: http://


Ville de Montréal. (2012). Montréal En Statistiques Retrieved from:http://ville. Mo n t r é a l . q c . c a / p o r t a l / p a g e ? _ p a g e id=6897,67633583&_dad=portal&_ schema=PORTAL Ville de Montréal. (2011). Population Totale en 2006 et en 2011- Variation- Densité. Retrieved from: http://ville.Montré portal/docs/page/mtl_stats_fr/media/documents/01_population_densit%c9_2011. pdf


Our Contributors STEPHANIE AUSTIN Stephanie Austin is a U3 Joint Honours student in Geography and International Development Studies from Victoria, BC. In the summer of 2012 she interned in the agriculture wing of the Association for India’s Development (AID India) for two and a half months in Tamil Nadu, India. Her main project in this internship was the creation and implementation of a quantitative farmer survey on the agricultural extension system.  Her main research interests are sustainable livelihoods, rural development and food security.

ARYEH CANTER Aryeh Canter is a fourth year B.A. & Sc. in Sustainability, Science and Society with a minor in Urban Systems. He is interested in local economies and how to increase resilience within our communities. Originally from San Francisco, Aryeh has spread his roots in Montréal helping out at a local student synagogue, as well as working in the environment community at McGill. During his free time Aryeh enjoys sitting in parks with friends and enjoying Montréal’s thriving music and arts scene.

ANAIS CLERCQ Anaïs Clercq is majoring in Sustainability, Science and Society and minoring in French Literature. She is from Québec city and moved to Montréal to attend McGill. Anaïs is interested in biodiversity, conservation, and sustainable development and is also passionate about art in general.


WILLIAM DREYER Will Dreyer is a fourth year student hailing from Saratoga Springs, NY, USA. He is in the Faculty of Arts and Science and majoring in Sustainability, Science, and Society, with a minor in International Development. Will has been a member of the Alpine Ski Racing team for all his four years at McGill.

LAURA GILLIES Laura Gillies is a U3 Arts & Science student majoring in Science, Society & Sustainability and minoring in Economics. Hailing from Toronto she moved to Montréal to attend McGill. Laura’s main areas of interest are water policy and corporate social responsibility.

LISHAI GOLDSTEIN Lishai is a soon-to-be excited, nostalgic, and slightly nervous graduate of McGill University, majoring in Political Science and minoring in Middle East Studies. The extent of her geography  resume involves being a finalist three years running in her elementary and middle school geography bees. She hates winter but loves Montréal, believes that American Oreos taste better than their Canadian counterparts, and is often the recipient of life advice from taxi drivers. Lishai’s research is inspired by many years of personal observations and experiences in the field.

DANIEL HABERMAN Daniel Haberman is a fourth year B.Sc. Geography student at McGill University with a minor in Geographic Information Systems. His main areas of interest focus on the earth sciences, with particular regards to issues of sustainability in balancing a food system with a dynamically growing and shifting population. Daniel is currently a research assistant in the Land Use and Global Environment lab at McGill and Co-President of the McGill Undergraduate Geography Society.


CARLI MELO Carli Melo, a Burlington, Ontario native, is completing her fourth year at McGill in pursuit of a B.A. with Honours in International Development Studies and a minor in Geography. In 2012, she participated in the Canadian Field Studies in Africa (CFSIA) program and completed an Arts Internship with the Vision Sisters in Kibera, Kenya. She is interested in women’s rights, economic empowerment and social justice.

LAETITIA PANCRAZI Laetitia Pancrazi is majoring in Sustainability, Society and Science and minoring in History of the Americas at McGill University. Laetitia grew up in Paris, France and moved to Montréal for university. She is interesting in urban planning, sustainable architecture, and sustainable development. She wants to create her own company that would bring together environmental and economic concepts and help people move towards more sustainable lifestyles.

MERCEDES SHARPE ZAYAS Mercedes Sharpe Zayas is an Honours Student in Anthropology with a minor in Geography. She is interested in indigenous protest movements and the role dialectical urbanism plays in gender politics. Her work is conveyed through both ethnographic film and the written word. 


JARED SIMPSON Jared Simpson is a GIS analyst and Arctic researcher with a warm heart. He is currently studying Geography with a minor in Earth and Planetary Sciences specializing in using GIS to quantify the amount of erosion along Arctic coastlines. His passions include running, GIS, and sushi, as well as spending way too much time in McGill’s Geographic Information Centre.

VALENTINE RINNER Valentine Rinner is originally from London, UK. Valentine is a fourth year Bachelor of Arts and Science student with a major in International Development and minors in Computer Science and Interdisciplinary Life Sciences. She is interested in Urban Policy as well as geospatial computing tools. She also writes for student newspapers on topics ranging from new technologies to Montréal’s culture and arts scene.


Field Notes - Volume II  

Field Notes: Journal of the McGill Undergraduate Geography Society

Field Notes - Volume II  

Field Notes: Journal of the McGill Undergraduate Geography Society