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Participatory Guarantee Systems: New Approaches to Organic Certification - The Case of Mexico

Publication Date
  • Community Development
  • Values
  • Standards And Certification
  • Mexico
  • Ecology
  • Education
  • Geography


In an effort to address some of the problems associated with mainstream organic certification (such as high costs, extensive bureaucracy, inflexible processes, and a lack of community development focus), groups around the world have begun to develop alternative systems commonly referred to as participatory guarantee systems (PGS). These systems are based on the standards of mainstream certification agencies, but differ in that they adapt them to suit local conditions, employ simple verification procedures, minimize bureaucracy and costs, and incorporate an element of environmental and social education for both producers and consumers. This paper presents the experience of PGS in Mexico, with a focus on the case study of the Tianguis Orgánico Chapingo (Chapingo Local Organic Market). It is based on participant observation and informal interviews conducted by the authors during the course of their work as scholar-activists developing and promoting PGS as a certification option for Chapingo, as well as for an additional 16 markets that form the Mexican Network of Local Organic Markets.

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