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Edited by Gry Agnete Alsos, Sara Carter, Elisabet Ljunggren and Friederike Welter
Chapter 9: Entrepreneurship First or Last? Biodynamic Enterprise in New Zealand
Kate Lewis, Robyn Walker and Sue Cassells Biodynamic farming is part of a growing commitment in New Zealand to expand the organic food production sector and establish its significance within the country’s economy. Proponents argue that there is a vibrant, sustainable future ahead for the sector. Biodynamics is typically seen as a manifestation of an acute awareness of the relationship between person and environment, and as a spiritually grounded endeavour. As its practise incorporates some unconventional farming applications, biodynamics can be taken to embody an inherently ‘novel’ approach to food production. Thus, biodynamic enterprises represent an intriguing nexus of a holistic, often spiritual, approach to food production and a business model, and/ or entrepreneurial venture. This chapter explores how business practices and entrepreneurial processes are accommodated within a philosophically based approach to food production. The chapter draws on 11 indepth, semi-structured, interviews with owner-managers of biodynamic food production enterprises in New Zealand. It examines how ideology, entrepreneurship and good business practice co-exist in these enterprises. Three themes are addressed in the chapter: the motivations behind the adoption and maintenance of biodynamic practices (in terms of personal and business drivers); the perceived costs and benefits of the choice; and how the relationship between biodynamic practices and business viability is managed. The concluding section of the chapter conceptualizes the various profiles of participants, distinguishing between individual drivers, business drivers, and their identity orientation. We find that priorities vary among the group, some emphasizing biodynamic philosophy and spirituality, some clearly leaning towards business...
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