Off the treadmill? Technology and tourism in the north American maple syrup industry

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The contrast between the nostalgic pictures on maple syrup packaging and sophisticated technologies actually used in the sugarbush and sugarhouse suggests disjunctures between image and practice in the contemporary North American maple syrup industry. This paper argues that although evidence of a "technological treadmill" exists within the maple syrup industry, as it does in other rural production sectors, such a trend is incomplete due to the increasing importance of consumption-based activities and concerns in the countryside. In response to the interests of tourists, second home owners and other increasingly influential non-producer groups, "traditional" maple enterprises persist, demonstrating a logic and appeal unaccounted for by treadmill theory. By addressing growing consumer concern about the appearance of the rural landscape, the health of the environment, and the quality of food, these "traditional" maple practices can provide distinct advantages for producers over technological modernization. The tension between technology use and tourism in the maple syrup industry offers insights about the role of small-scale specialty agriculture for sustainability in rural areas of advanced industrial countries undergoing social and economic change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-47
Number of pages9
JournalAgriculture and Human Values
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 1995

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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