Miami’s Instagram Farmers: Increasing the Resilience of Agricultural Livelihoods in South Florida through Social Media Platforms

Authors: Melissa Bernardo*, Florida International University
Topics: Cultural and Political Ecology, Agricultural Geography, Coupled Human and Natural Systems
Keywords: resilience, agriculture, sea level rise, farmer response, social media technology
Session Type: Paper
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South Florida is often overlooked in terms of national significance to the U.S. food system. However, Florida is second only to California for vegetable production, and Miami-Dade is the second largest producing county in the state. It is also the only domestic producer of several tropical fruits within the continental U.S. This region is recognized as amongst the most vulnerable to sea level rise as well. As a result, Dade farmers depict the ever-emerging tensions that arise between agricultural production, climate change impacts, water management, urban development, and trade. In this paper, I have pulled from ethnographic data collected over the past nine months in order to understand the role social media has begun to play in the resiliency of small-scale farmers in Miami. Computer-mediated communication has allowed farmers to develop alternative and economically beneficial food networks by creating new relationships between local producers and consumers. Social media platforms have simultaneously increased consumer access to local agricultural products while diversifying the customer base of Dade farmers. Overall, this paper highlights how technology is being used to increase farmer resilience to changes in the larger socioeconomic, environmental, and political contexts of production.

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