Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The political economy of California agriculture

Trump’s immigration crackdown is supposed to help U.S. citizens. For California farmers, it’s worsening a desperate labor shortage.
By Natalie Kitroeff and Geoffrey Mohan for the Los Angeles Times, March 17, 2017
[….] The flow of labor began drying up when President Obama tightened the border. Now President Trump is promising to deport more people, raid more companies and build a wall on the southern border. That has made California farms a proving ground for the Trump team’s theory that by cutting off the flow of immigrants they will free up more jobs for American-born workers and push up their wages. So far, the results aren’t encouraging for farmers or domestic workers.
Farmers are being forced to make difficult choices about whether to abandon some of the state’s hallmark fruits and vegetables, move operations abroad, import workers under a special visa or replace them altogether with machines. Growers who can afford it have already begun raising worker pay well beyond minimum wage. Wages for crop production in California increased by 13% from 2010 to 2015, twice as fast as average pay in the state, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Today, farmworkers in the state earn about $30,000 a year if they work full time — about half the overall average pay in California. Most work fewer hours. Some farmers are even giving laborers benefits normally reserved for white-collar professionals, like 401(k) plans, health insurance, subsidized housing and profit-sharing bonuses. Full-timers at Silverado Farming, for example, get most of those sweeteners, plus 10 paid vacation days, eight paid holidays, and can earn their hourly rate to take English classes.
But the raises and new perks have not tempted native-born Americans to leave their day jobs for the fields. Nine in 10 agriculture workers in California are still foreign born, and more than half are undocumented, according to a federal survey. [….]
‘The law of supply and demand doesn’t stop being true just because you’re talking about people,’ says George Borjas, a Harvard economist and prominent foe of unfettered immigration. ‘[Farmers] have had an almost endless supply of low-skill workers for a long time, and now they are finding it difficult to transition to a situation where they don’t.’
Borjas believes the ones who reap the rewards of immigration are employers — not just farmers, but restaurant owners and well-to-do homeowners who hire landscapers and housekeepers. The people who suffer most are American workers, who contend with more competition for jobs and lower pay.
But Silverado, the farm labor contracting company in Napa, has never had a white, American-born person take an entry-level gig, even after the company increased hourly wages to $4 above the minimum. And Silverado is far from unique.
U.S. workers filled just 2% of a sample of farm labor vacancies advertised in 1996, according to a report published by the Labor Department’s office of inspector general. ‘I don’t think anybody would dispute that that’s roughly the way it is now’ as well, says Philip Martin, an economist at UC Davis and one of the country’s leading experts on agriculture. [….]
The full article, with wonderful photographs, is here.

Friday, March 10, 2017

David A. Cleveland’s Balancing on a Planet: The Future of Food and Agriculture (2014)


Below is a substantial excerpt from the Introduction to David A. Cleveland’s Balancing on a Planet: The Future of Food and Agriculture (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2014). I hope it entices you to read the book, for while I have yet to finish, what I have read thus far and what I’ve peeked at in what’s to come, is very good. In brief—and for what it’s worth—I highly recommend it. Cleveland is Professor of Environmental Studies and Geography at my alma mater, the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB), although I’ve never taken a course from him nor do I personally know him. (I have left out the embedded references for the notes.)

“The mainstream industrial agrifood system has been remarkably successful over the long run in increasing food production at a rate faster than population growth, with the promise of continuing to do so in the immediate future. Supporters of this system believe that a globally integrated agrifood system and technological breakthroughs, for example in genetic engineering of crop plants or precision agriculture, are key to providing enough food for the future. Advocates of alternative agrifood systems have a different perspective—they argue that the demand can be lowered via better diets and reduction of waste, and that supply can be increased in more sustainable ways, with ecological agricultural based on traditional methods and more local control. But the issue is far from settled, and it hinges on disagreement over values as well as facts. A major problem from an alternative perspective is that the mainstream agrifood system monopolizes the bulk of research and development resources, leaving little opportunity for developing the kinds of solutions needed to save the planet, nurture communities, and increase human happiness.

Yet, regardless of one’s perspective, there is also shockingly bad news about every element of our agrifood systems—from the contamination of drinking water with agricultural chemicals to the deteriorating nutritional quality of the food supply and of child nutritional status, from the loss of crop genetic resources to loss of prime farmland. It seems that our agrifood system has been going in a direction that is producing at least as many problems as solutions. While those in power have demanded more food and higher yields to maintain and expand their power for millennia, pushing farmers into practices that were environmentally and socially destructive, their effects were mostly localized. Today, however, we have a global system, highly degraded environments, and more than seven billion humans to feed, with one billion of those chronically hungry.

In order to move toward a more desirable future, we need to understand the successes and failures of our and current agrifood systems and how they are linked in time and space. We also need to agree on how to define the future and on how we need to change our current system to get there. [….]

I have two main goals for this book. The first is to encourage critical thinking by explaining the concepts that I think are key to understanding the problems and potential solutions for the challenges facing our agrifood systems. This includes demonstrating how these concepts can be applied to specific situations so that readers can use them to analyze new situations and discuss their findings with others. [….] My second main goal is to demonstrate how I have applied these concepts in my own thinking about agrifood systems; I share what I have concluded about the problems and solutions based on my own research and values. These two goals are synergistic in that if I achieve the first, it means that readers will be able to independently critique my application of the concepts and my conclusions. [….] 

Cleveland proceeds to explain why and how critical thinking is essential to the goals of his book, one consequence of which is that he endeavors 

“to present as openly as possible [his] own conclusions and assumptions while also standing back and viewing them critically—that is, not becoming too attached to them and remaining open to new data, to alternative interpretations of data, and to appreciating different values. For example, my values include the assumptions that equity of resource access and use for all people is good and that interacting with the biophysical world in ways that maintain high biological and cultural diversity and ecosystem functioning is good, and my analysis of the data leads me to empirical assumptions that anthropogenic climate change is a real and immense threat  and that small-scale, resource-poor farmers’ behaviors are often base on insightful and efficacious understanding of their environment and crops. [….]

I have worked with farmers, gardeners, and scientists on research and development projects in northeast Ghana; in the Swabi valley in Pakistan; in the Central Valleys of Oaxaca, Mexico; and in the United States, on the Zuni and Hopi reservations and in Santa Barbara County, California. In addition, I have spent shorter periods of time researching agrifood systems in other places, including Burkina Faso, Egypt, India, Syria, Mali, and China. I have interviewed and collected observational data, in addition to studying the research of others. [….]

One of my central conclusions is that small-scale, traditional, locally oriented, low –external-input agrifood systems are an important resource for the future. Much of the Earth’s remaining cultural and biological diversity is in the care of small-scale farmers. Many of the farmers I have worked with use knowledge and methods passed on through generations to grow locally adapted crop varieties, evaluating and incorporating new ideas from other farming traditions, from extension agents, and from scientists. I have celebrated with them their successful harvests and eaten special foods made from those harvests, rich with history, meaning, and flavor.

These farmers are often proud of what they do and know, and while they seek improvements in their farming and their lives in general, most do not want to abandon those things they value about their way of life. For example, in Oaxaca, Mexico, when farmers were asked as part of our research on crop diversity if they wanted their children to be maize and bean farmers like themselves, 91 percent said ‘yes.’ However, these same farmers see the world changing rapidly from the traditions of the many generations that preceded them—only 47 percent thought their children would actually grow up to be maize and bean farmers.

I have also seen farmers struggle to feed themselves and to understand the forces seemingly beyond their control that make the survival of their agrifood system almost impossible—population growth; environmental degradation; climate change; market fluctuations; privatization of water, land, and other resources; inappropriate development projects; and corrupt and incompetent governments and development organizations at home and abroad. [….]

While I see much potential in small-scale agriculture for solving the world food crises, I am also aware that small-scale farming is often physically and mentally grueling, and that most farmers are not well rewarded for their work. According to one estimate, the more than two billion people living on almost five hundred million small-scale (less than 2-ha) farms in the Third World include half of the world’s undernourished people and the majority living in absolute poverty. In short, I am not a nostalgic romantic. There is no going back to the small-scale agriculture of the past—doing so would neither be neither possible nor desirable. It was often a very hard life, and the world is a different place now, with more than seven billion humans to support. But simply continuing to promote the mainstream agrifood system is not the answer either.

I believe that an important aspect of creating alternatives for the future will be to combine small-scale, traditional agriculture with select aspects of modern, scientific agriculture in ways that provide solutions to the current food crisis—long-term solutions to balancing our biological need for food with our environmental impact in ways that also fulfill our cultural, social, and psychological needs. [....] ... [T]here are usually trade-offs between what is possible and our goals for the future, and also between the different goals we have for the future. We need to minimize these trade-offs, to look for ways to make the system work better for everyone. We need to think critically, holistically, systematically, and compassionately. And we need to get to work right away. [....]

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

California’s chronic water shortage does not bode well for its agriculture

Our wild, wet winter doesn’t change this reality —California will be short of water forever

By Jay Famiglietti and Michelle Miro* for the Los Angeles Times, March 7, 2017

[….] All winter, Californians have been asking one question: Is the drought finally over? The federal monitor shows just a few lingering tan and yellow patches in Southern California, but for scientists, the beginning and end of drought conditions are exceptionally difficult to pinpoint. Still, after only a few more serious encounters with the ‘Pineapple Express,’ Gov. Jerry Brown may well declare the state’s 3-year drought emergency over.

Which leads us to the second most frequently asked question of this unusually wet winter: What’s our water future? The answer has been clear for a while: It’s going to be a lot like our water past, but more so — California is, was and will be chronically water short.

The drought has underlined three important realities that aren’t going to change. First, the way municipalities use water can be sustainable, even as their population grows, as long as they embrace conservation, water recycling and reuse, and a diverse portfolio of management options. However, agricultural water use at today’s scale in California is not sustainable. Agriculture is literally sucking the state dry. 

Food production requires nearly unfathomable volumes of water, and has resulted in the long-term decline of the total available fresh water in California. The great thirst of our highly productive agricultural sector has never been and will never be satisfied by the annual winter storms that feed the state’s rivers and reservoirs. The shortfall is met by pumping groundwater at rates that greatly exceed those of replenishment. As a result, groundwater levels in much of the state, including the once-vast reserves beneath the Central Valley, have been declining for nearly a century.

It is essential to understand that wet winters like the current one will not reverse this long-term decline. Historically, even the wettest multiyear periods result in only a modest uptick in the otherwise steady loss of Central Valley groundwater. Consequently, agriculture in California has to adapt to this dwindling supply. Farmers and ranchers will face more of the kinds of difficult decisions the drought has already forced, such as fallowing fields as groundwater levels drop, or worse, taking land out of production. [emphasis added]

Next, we must recognize that the classic definition of water as a sustainable resource — that is, using only the surface and groundwater available on an annual, renewable basis — is no longer tenable for the entire state. Instead, water sustainability in California must now refer to efforts to slow the rate of disappearance of the state’s groundwater reserves.

The landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, passed in 2014 in Sacramento, acknowledges and confronts the declining availability of fresh water in California. Its requirements, however, will never result in the recovery of statewide groundwater levels, even if important efforts to enhance groundwater recharge and construct additional storage are pursued.

Finally, it is simply impossible to effectively plan for California’s water future without knowing a lot more about how much water the state has, how much it needs and how these amounts are changing with time. [….] The entire article is here.

* Jay Famiglietti is a hydrologist and former professor of Earth system science and of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Irvine. Michelle Miro is a hydrologist and doctoral candidate in civil and environmental engineering at UCLA.

Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images  

Recommended Reading:
  • Carle, David. Introduction to Water in California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2nd ed., 2016. 
  • Ingram, B. Lynn and Frances Malamud Roam. The West without Water… . Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2013.  
  • Reisner, Marc. Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water. New York: Penguin Books, revised ed. 1993 (1986). 
  • Wilkinson, Charles F. Crossing the Next Meridian: Land, Water, and the Future of the West. Washington, DC: Island Press, 1992.
  • Worster, Donald. Rivers of Empire: Water, Aridity, and the Growth of the American West. New York: Pantheon Books, 1985.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

An “agrihood” in Detroit (an exemplum of the agroecological utopian praxis of ‘democratization from below’)

A FB friend shared this encouraging news item on inhabitat from last year about the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative: “America’s first urban ‘agrihood’ feeds 2,000 households for free:”

“When you think of Detroit, ‘sustainable‘ and ‘agriculture‘ may not be the first two words that you think of. But a new urban agrihood debuted by The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative (MUFI) might change your mind. The three-acre development boasts a two-acre garden, a fruit orchard with 200 trees, and a sensory garden for kids.

If you need a refresher on the definition of agrihood, MUFI describes it as an alternative neighborhood growth model. An agrihood centers around urban agriculture, and MUFI offers fresh, local produce to around 2,000 households for free.”
From MUFI’s website:

“The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that seeks to engage members of the Michigan community in sustainable agriculture. We believe that challenges unique to the Michigan community (e.g., vacant land, poor diet, nutritional illiteracy, and food insecurity) present a unique opportunity for community-supported agriculture. Using agriculture as a platform to promote education, sustainability, and community—while simultaneously reducing socioeconomic disparity—we hope to empower urban communities. 

Our primary focus is the redevelopment of a two-square-block area in Detroit’s North End, which is being positioned as an epicenter of urban agriculture. This space is heavily themed by ‘adaptive reuse of the built-environment’ in which we are hoping to demonstrate everything from Best practices for sustainable urban agriculture, Effective strategies for increasing food security, cost-competitive and scalable models for blight deconstruction, and Innovation in Blue & Green infrastructure.” 

Friday, February 17, 2017

“Can you please pass the soy creamer?”

Among the definitions for “milk” in The New Shorter Oxford Dictionary (Clarendon Press, 1993) we find: “A milky juice [like many lexical definitions, circular in construction] or latex secreted by certain plants, e.g. coconut milk.” And among the figurative uses of the word, “milk” is “[s]omething pleasant and (supposedly) nourishing,” the parenthetical qualification no doubt appreciated by dairy lobbyists. Finally, our dictionary defines milk variously as a “culinary, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, or other preparation of herbs, drugs, etc., resembling milk” [emphasis added]. Within the category of phrases, our dictionary cites “almond milk” and “rice milk,” and among several terms with “milk” in them we discover “milk stout” (‘a kind of sweet stout made with lactose’) and “milk-tree” (‘any of several trees having a milky juice’). Not mentioned is “mother’s milk” in the sense of something “absolutely necessary or appropriate,” not to be confused with the milk of a particular child’s own mother, although that can be equally characterized as absolutely necessary or appropriate!

Well, you get the picture. I doubt existing or prospective consumers of soy milk or almond milk are confused or misled by the labels on the growing list of “alternative to (dairy) milk” products, at least no more than they would be startled upon reading the entry on “milk” in our dictionary. Of course lexical definitions are not necessarily legally dispositive (cf. discussions of ‘ordinary meaning canons’ or references to ‘a new jurisprudence of dictionaries,’ in part inspired by the late Justice Scalia’s frequent cites to dictionaries).

Being—for sundry reasons—a vegan (I like to think that at least one motivation has something to do with the ‘milk of human kindness’) for close to seven years now (most of my adult life I was a vegetarian), it’s not surprising I wholeheartedly agree with Marion Nestle that The National Milk Producers Federation’s attempt to introduce into both bodies of Congress “Dairy Pride Acts” requiring “the FDA to rule that anything labeled milk, cheese, or yogurt has to come from cows,” has everything to do with “marketing, not science,” an attempt to (further) protect the dairy industry from market forces. As Anahad O’Connor writes in The New York Times,

“Facing growing competition from dairy alternatives like almond, soy and coconut milk, the nation’s dairy farmers are fighting back, with an assist from Congress. Their goal: to stop companies from calling their plant-based products yogurt, milk or cheese. Dairy farmers say the practice misleads consumers into thinking that nondairy milk is nutritionally similar to cow’s milk.

A bipartisan group of 32 members of Congress is asking the Food and Drug Administration to crack down on companies that call plant-based beverages ‘milk.’ They say F.D.A. regulations define milk as a ‘lacteal secretion’ obtained by milking ‘one or more healthy cows.’ Proposed legislation from Representative Peter Welch, Democrat of Vermont, and Senator Tammy Baldwin, Democrat of Wisconsin, a state known for its cheese, suggests a slightly broader definition. Their bill would require the F.D.A. to target milk, yogurt and cheese products that do not contain milk from ‘hooved mammals.’ ‘The bottom line for us is that milk is defined by the F.D.A., and we’re saying to the F.D.A.: Enforce your definition,’ Mr. Welch said.

But critics say consumers know exactly what they are buying when they choose almond or soy milk instead of dairy milk. ‘There’s no cow on any of these containers of almond milk or soy milk,’ said Michele Simon, executive director of the Plant Based Foods Association, a trade group representing 70 companies. ‘No one is trying to fool consumers. All they’re trying to do is create a better alternative for people who are looking for that option.’

And what about other nondairy products with dairy names? Will [M]ilk of [M]agnesia, cocoa butter, cream of wheat and peanut butter have to change their names as well?” [….] The remainder of this article is here.

See too Beth Kowitt’s article in Fortune, which begins by noting that “For 40 years, Americans have been drinking less of the traditional stuff—37% less since 1975, according to the most recent USDA figures.”

Incidentally, there’s a bit of irony in the fact that “[i]ncorporating soybeans and their byproducts in the rations for dairy cattle is a fairly common practice. They are an excellent source of essential amino acids and complement most forages. Depending on how they have been processed, soybeans can provide high quality degradable, undegradable and soluble protein, energy, fat, and fiber.”

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Who will harvest the crops?

Migrant farmworkers harvest strawberries near Oxnard, California. Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images

Two recent pieces discuss the probable agricultural effects of Trump’s proposed immigration and trade policies. 

“In the Central Valley, drought fears ease, but farmers contend with a new threat: Trump”

By Robin Abcarian for the Los Angeles Times, February 15, 2017 [sans embedded hyperlinks]

“It’s almost impossible to get a rise from my favorite farmer, Joe Del Bosque, who grows almonds, melons and asparagus here on the perpetually water-challenged west side of the San Joaquin Valley. After years of drought, suddenly everything is green. It’s raining like crazy, the infamous pumps of the Sacramento Delta are working overtime to fill reservoirs to the south and all over the state, dry fields have become muddy lakes.

‘So what are you Westside farmers whining about now?’ I asked Del Bosque when I visited him Monday in his office, a modest double-wide trailer on the edge of an almond orchard off Interstate 5. He chuckled. Farmers are always complaining about something. If they aren’t complaining, it’s because they’re too busy worrying. Del Bosque is, as usual, worried about water. But he’s also worried about immigration, and about President Trump’s vow to deport people who are here illegally. Del Bosque, and just about every grower he knows, depends on migrant labor for harvests.

‘We need a workforce,’ he said. ‘We can’t have immigration come here and round everyone up and deport them. Coupled with building a wall, it will ruin us. It will ruin the whole fruit and vegetable industry.’ [….] California agriculture simply cannot work without migrant labor. For example, the main towns around Del Bosque’s 2,000 acres — Dos Palos, Firebaugh, and Mendota — have a combined population of about 20,000, children included.

‘When I start harvesting my melons,’ Del Bosque said, ‘I need 300 people. And there’s like six other melon guys who need 300 people, and one probably needs 900. So we need around 3,000 people to harvest. Then, the tomato guys need people, the grape guys need people and the garlic guys need people. There are not enough people in these little towns for that seasonal surge in labor needs. That’s why we’re dependent on people who come from somewhere else.’

Like Mexico. [….] Mexican laborers, after all, put fresh fruit and vegetables on all of our tables. I wonder if President Trump even knows where his food comes from.” The full article is here.

*           *           * 

“Farmers Supported Trump — His Proposals Have Them Thinking Again”

Farmworkers, employers and trade groups are all concerned with Trump’s plans on immigration and trade.

By Joseph Erbentraut, The Huffington Post, 2/15/2017 [sans embedded hyperlinks] (Joseph Erbentraut covers promising innovations and challenges in the areas of food, water, agriculture and our climate.)

“When President Donald Trump was elected last fall, it was with an apparent majority of the nation’s farmers behind him. But now, three weeks since Trump’s inauguration, some of those farmers appear to be having second thoughts. Dairy farmers and fruit and vegetable growers, both of whom rely heavily on an immigrant workforce to harvest their goods, are expressing fears that Trump’s promise to up immigration enforcement and build a border wall with Mexico could eliminate much of its workforce.

Commodity farmers are also concerned that a 20-percent import tax on Mexican goods ― an idea the Trump administration has floated ― could hobble their businesses. Many agriculture industry groups are similarly dismayed by plans to jettison both the Trans-Pacific Partnership and North American Free Trade Agreement. Of course, the impact of these proposed actions won’t stop at the farm. If they are carried out, American eaters — as well as the environment — could bear that brunt as well. Here’s how: 

Higher Food Prices at the Grocery Store

If stepped-up immigration enforcement efforts target farmworkers, sectors of the farming industry that rely on immigrant workers will be affected the most. Between 50 and 70 percent of the nation’s farmworkers working for fresh produce growers and dairy farms are undocumented. If these sectors lose a significant amount of their existing immigrant workforce, they will need to raise wages to attract replacement workers and attracting them would be no easy task.

Farm groups have repeatedly emphasized that U.S.-born workers have shown little interest in the grueling work and the industry already says it’s facing a severe labor shortage due to the previous administration’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants. As a result, farmworker wages have been rising with demand in recent years, though their pay still averages about $12 an hour.

Additional farm labor costs would likely be passed on to consumers. A 2015 report commissioned by the National Milk Producers Federation and produced by Texas A&M University researchers found that a total loss of the industry’s immigrant workforce would result in a 90-percent surge in retail milk prices. Factoring in the current national average retail price of milk, that means a gallon of conventional milk would cost $5.42 and a gallon of organic milk would cost $9.38 under such a scenario. ‘We know that nobody wants to pay $8 for a gallon of milk and certainly nobody wants a food product like milk to come from foreign countries,’ Jaime Castaneda, NMPF senior vice president in strategic initiatives and trade policy, told The Huffington Post. ‘We need to find a balance here.’

Additional research has shown that a similar price increase, linked to reduced output, would likely happen with labor-intensive food products like fruits, vegetables and tree nuts. A 2012 report from U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers found that if 5.8 million undocumented farmworkers left the industry, the result would be less output, fewer exports and increased wages ― costs, again, to be passed on to consumers. Similarly, an analysis commissioned by the American Farm Bureau Foundation found that the exit of immigrant farmworkers could increase food prices by an average of 5 to 6 percent. Such increases could hit low-income households ― which already struggle to afford fresh fruits and vegetables ― particularly hard, especially if accompanied by rumored cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. [….] 

Increased Food Waste on Farms

A heightened farm labor crisis could also mean more crops left in the fields to rot, hurting farmers’ bottom lines in addition to releasing climate change-accelerating methane into the atmosphere. This is a concern for Joshua Morgenthau, owner and operator of Fishkill Farms, a small-scale farm and apple orchard located in Hopewell Junction, New York. Morgenthau regularly places job advertisements aimed at interested applicants of all backgrounds, including U.S.-born workers. But, like many farm employers, he says he rarely receives any responses. Domestic workers, he says, simply don’t appear to be willing to do this work. [….]

‘Crops will go unharvested because of the shortfall of qualified labor,’ Morgenthau told HuffPost. ‘Our food will rot in the fields and the price of local produce will skyrocket.’” [….] The full article is here. 

Recommended Reading:
  • Alamillo, José. Making Lemonade out of Lemons: Mexican American Labor and Leisure in a California Town, 1880-1960 (University of Illinois Press, 2006). 
  • Andrés, Benny J., Jr. Power and Control in the Imperial Valley: Nature, Agribusiness, and Workers on the California Borderland, 1900-1940 (Texas A&M University Press, 2015). 
  • Barajas, Frank P. Curious Unions: Mexican American Workers and Resistance in Oxnard, California, 1898-1961 (University of Nebraska Press, 2012). 
  • Bardacke, Frank. Trampling Out the Vintage: César Chávez and the Two Souls of the United Farm Workers (Verso, 2011). 
  • Barger, W.K. and Ernesto M. Reza. The Farm Labor Movement in the Midwest: Social Change and Adaptation among Migrant Farmworkers (University of Texas Press, 1994). 
  • Barry, Brian and Robert E. Goodin, eds. Free Movement: Ethical issues in the transnational migration of people and of money (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1992). 
  • Bishop, Charles E., ed. Farm Labor in the United States (Columbia University Press, 1967).  
  • Calavita, Kitty. Inside the State: The Bracero Program, Immigration, and the I.N.S. (Quid Pro Books, 2010 ed.).  
  • Cholewinski, Ryszard, Richard Perruchoud and Euan MacDonald, eds. International Migration Law: Developing Paradigms and Key Challenges (T.M.C. Asser Press, 2007). 
  • Daniel, Cletus E. Bitter Harvest: A History of California Farmworkers, 1870-1941 (Cornell University Press, 1981).  
  • Day, Mark. Forty Acres: César Chávez and the Farm Workers (Praeger Publishers, 1971).  
  • De León, Jason. The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail (University of California Press, 2015). 
  • Fisher, Lloyd. The Harvest Labor Market in California (Harvard University Press, 1953).  
  • Flores, Lori A. Grounds for Dreaming: Mexican Americans, Mexican Immigrants, and the California Farmworker Movement (Yale University Press, 2016).  
  • Friedland, William H., Amy E. Barton, and Robert J. Thomas. Manufacturing Green Gold: Capital, Labor, and Technology in the Lettuce Industry (Cambridge University Press, 1981).  
  • Galarza, Ernesto. Merchants of Labor: The Mexican Bracero Story (McNally and Loftin, 1964).  
  • Galarza, Ernesto. Farm Workers and Agri-Business in California, 1947-60 (University of Notre Dame Press, 1977).  
  • Goldfarb, Ronald L. Migrant Farm Workers: A Caste of Despair (Iowa State University Press, 1981).  
  • González, Gilbert. Labor and Community: Mexican Citrus Worker Villages in a Southern California County, 1900-1950 (University of Illinois Press, 1994).  
  • González, Gilbert. Guest Workers or Colonized Labor? Mexican Labor Immigration to the United States (Routledge, 2nd ed., 2013).  
  • Gonzales, Roberto G. Lives in Limbo: Undocumented and Coming of Age in America (University of California Press, 2016). 
  • Griffith, David and Edward Kissam. Working Poor: Farmworkers in the United States (Temple University Press, 1995). 
  • Guchteneire, Paul de, Antoine Pecoud, and Ryszard Cholewinski, eds. Migration and Human Rights: The United Nations Convention on Migrant Workers’ Rights (Cambridge University Press, 2009). 
  • Gutiérrez, David G. Walls and Mirrors: Mexican Americans, Mexican Immigrants, and the Politics of Ethnicity (University of California Press, 1995).  
  • Jenkins, J. Craig. The Politics of Insurgency: The Farm Worker Movement in the 1960s (Columbia University Press, 1985).  
  • Kapuy, Klaus. The Social Security Position of Irregular Migrant Workers: New Insights from National Social Security Law and International Law (Intersentia, 2011). 
  • Loza, Mireya. Defiant Braceros: How Migrant Workers Fought for Racial, Sexual, and Political Freedom (University of North Carolina Press, 2016). 
  • Majka, Linda C. and Theo J. Majka. Farm Workers, Agribusiness, and the State (Temple University Press, 1982).  
  • Martin, Philip R. Promise Unfulfilled: Unions, Immigration, and the Farm Workers (Cornell University Press, 2003).  
  • Martin, Philip and David Martin. The Endless Quest: Helping America’s Farmworkers (Westview Press, 1994).  
  • McWilliams, Carey. Factories in the Fields: The Story of Migratory Farm Labor in California (University of California Press, 1939). 
  • Meister, Dick and Anne Loftis. A Long Time Coming: The Struggle to Unionize America’s Farm Workers (Macmillan, 1977).  
  • Mitchell, Don. The Lie of the Land: Migrant Workers and the California Landscape (University of Minnesota Press, 1996).  
  • Mitchell, Don. They Saved the Crops: Labor, Landscape, and the Struggle over Industrial Farming in Bracero-Era California (University of Georgia Press, 2012).  
  • Mooney, Patrick and Theo J. Majka. Farmers’ and Farmworkers’ Movements: Social Protest in American Agriculture (Twayne, 1995).  
  • Nahmias, Rick. The Migrant Project: Contemporary California Farm Workers (University of New Mexico Press, 2008).  
  • Neuburger, Bruce. Lettuce Wars: Ten Years of Work and Struggle in the Fields of California (Monthly Review Press, 2013). 
  • Pawel, Miriam. The Union of Their Dreams: Power, Hope, and Struggle in Cesar Chavez’s Farm Worker Movement (Bloomsbury Press, 2009). 
  • Rothenberg, Daniel. With These Hands: The Hidden World of Migrant Farmworkers Today (University of California Press, 1998).  
  • Sifuentez, Mario Jimenez. Of Forests and Fields: Mexican Labor in the Pacific Northwest (Rutgers University Press, 2016).  
  • Sosnick, Stephen H. Hired Hands: Seasonal Farm Workers in the United States (McNally & Loftin, 1978).  
  • Thompson, Charles D., Jr. and Melinda F. Wiggins, eds. The Human Cost of Food: Farmworkers’ Lives, Labor, and Advocacy (University of Texas Press, 2002).  
  • Tsu, Cecilia M. Garden of the World: Asian Immigrants and the Making of Agriculture in California’s Santa Clara Valley (Oxford University Press, 2013).  
  • Valdes, Dionicio. Organized Agriculture and the Labor Movement Before the UFW: Puerto Rico, Hawai’i, and California (University of Texas Press, 2011).
  • Walker, Richard A. The Conquest of Bread: 150 Years of Agribusiness in California (The New Press, 2004).
  • Watt, Alan J. Farm Workers and the Churches: The Movement in California and Texas (Texas A&M University Press, 2010). 
  • Wells, Miriam J. Strawberry Fields: Politics, Class, and Work in California Agriculture (Cornell University Press, 1986). 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

“U.S. farmers sowed the fewest acres of winter wheat this season in more than a century.”

“Plowed Under: The Next American Farm Bust Is Upon Us” 

Shrinking role in global grain market coupled with a strong dollar and higher costs for seeds drives U.S. farmers out of business; overflowing bunkers.

By Jesse Newman and Patrick McGroarty (February 8, 2017)

Ransom, Kansas — “The Farm Belt is hurtling toward a milestone: Soon there will be fewer than two million farms in America for the first time since pioneers moved westward after the Louisiana Purchase. Across the heartland, a multiyear slump in prices for corn, wheat and other farm commodities brought on by a glut of grain world-wide is pushing many farmers further into debt. Some are shutting down, raising concerns that the next few years could bring the biggest wave of farm closures since the 1980s.

The U.S. share of the global grain market is less than half what it was in the 1970s. American farmers’ incomes will drop 9% in 2017, the Agriculture Department estimates, extending the steepest slide since the Great Depression into a fourth year. “You keep pinching and pinching and pretty soon there’s nothing left to pinch,” said Craig Scott, a fifth-generation farmer in this Western Kansas town.” [....]

The rest of this article in the Wall Street Journal is here.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Blacks & Food Justice: A Resource Guide

Black Panther Charles Bursey serves children their breakfast. (Photograph courtesy of Pirkle Jones and Ruth-Marion Baruch) 

This post, as was the post on “Young Blacks & Agroecology, is motivated, in part, by the fact that this is Black History Month. More than a little of this material goes beyond the scope of African Americans, strictly speaking. 

A Basic Bibliography:
  • Alkon, Alison Hope. Black, White, and Green: Farmers Markets, Race, and the Green Economy. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2012. 
  • Alkon, Alison Hope and Julian Agyeman, eds. Cultivating Food Justice: Race, Class, and Sustainability. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2011. 
  • Allen, Will. The Good Food Revolution: Growing Healthy Food, People and Communities. New York: Gotham Press/Penguin, 2012.  
  • Bhopal, Raj S. Ethnicity, Race, and Health in Multicultural Societies: Foundations for Better Epidemiology, Public Health, and Health Care. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. 
  • Bowens, Natasha. The Color of Food: Stories of Race, Resilience and Farming. Gabriola Island, British Columbia: New Society Publishers, 2015.  
  • Broad, Garrett. More Than Just Food: Food Justice and Community Change. Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2016. 
  • Daniel, Pete. Dispossession: Discrimination against African American Farmers in the Age of Civil Rights. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2013.  
  • Ficara, John Francis (photographs/essay by Juan Williams). Black Farmers in America. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2006. 
  • Gottleib, Robert and Anupama Joshi. Food Justice. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2010.  
  • Harper, A. Breeze, ed. Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health, and Society. Herndon, VA: Lantern Books, 2009. 
  • Hatch, Anthony Ryan. Blood Sugar: Racial Pharmacology and Food Justice in Black America. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2016. 
  • Holt-Giménez, Eric, ed. Food Movements Unite! Oakland, CA: Food First Books, 2011. 
  • Holt-Giménez, Eric and Raj Patel (with Annie Shattuck), eds. Food Rebellions! Crisis and the Hunger for Justice. Oakland, CA: Food First Books, 2009.  
  • Nembhard, Jessica Gordon. Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2014. 
  • Winne, Mark. Closing the Food Gap: Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty. Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2008.  
  • Witt, Doris. Black Hunger: Food and the Politics of U.S. Identity. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. 
Bill Whitfield of the Black Panther chapter in Kansas City serves free breakfast to children before they go to school, April 16, 1969. (Photograph by William P. Straeter, AP) 

Groups, Organizations, and Movements:

  • Black Farmers & Urban Gardeners Conference – “The Black Farmers & Urban Gardeners Conference is a national conference presented by Black Urban Growers (BUGs), an organization of volunteers committed to building networks and community support for growers in both urban and rural settings. Through education and advocacy around food and farm issues, we nurture collective black leadership to ensure we have a seat at the table.” http://bugs.nationbuilder.com/ 
  • The Black/Land Project – ”Back/Land gathers and analyzes stories about the relationship between black people, land and place. The purpose of the project is to identify and amplify the current critical dialogues surrounding the relationship between black people (including African-Americans, Caribbean-Americans and African immigrants) and land.” http://www.blacklandproject.org/   
  • Black Main Street (46 Black-Owned Farms and Grocery Stores to Support) – “Black-Owned farms and grocery stores are closing around this country at an alarming rate. We have to make a better effort to support the remaining few and build new ones. Please check this list for Black-Owned farms and grocery stores in your area and start supporting, if you aren’t already.” https://blackmainstreet.net/black-farmers-and-grocery-stores-to-buy-from/ 
  • The Black Oaks Center for Sustainable Renewable Living – “The Black Oaks Center for Sustainable Renewable Living entrusted by its founders, assists communities in reducing their carbon footprint and fossil fuel use. It is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to education and training.” http://www.blackoakscenter.org/welcome.html   
  • Black Vegans Rock – “Black Vegans Rock was founded by Aph Ko after she wrote the first list that spotlighted 100 Black Vegans for Striving with Systems back in June 2015. She decided to research and compile a list of influential Black vegans who were doing incredible work to dismantle the stereotype that veganism was a ‘white person’s’ thing. After releasing the list, she received emails from Black vegans all over the world who wanted to be featured on the list as well. Some people told her that they had a vegan organization and they wanted to get it in front of other Black vegans. Since Aph didn’t want to add on to the 100 Black Vegans list, she decided to create a platform devoted to spotlighting incredible Black vegans every day. Aph received grants from A Well-Fed World as well as The Pollination Project to help get the project off the ground.” http://www.blackvegansrock.com/ 
  • The Campaign for Food Justice Community Now – “CFJN is an emerging membership based organization that applies race, class and gender analysis to the injustices perpetuated by the food and agriculture system in communities of color and tribal nations. CFJN will promote community inspired solutions and public policies that advance the health and well-being of all communities. CFJN seeks to promote social change by engaging and training its members to act as citizen leaders where they live. CFJN will promote constituent engaged advocacy and participatory democracy directed at ending all forms of exploitation in the food and agriculture system. CFJN seeks to weave together all the threads of the food movement and the broader social justice movement to advance public policies that support the right to food and call for the comprehensive reform of food and agriculture polices in the United States.” https://www.facebook.com/TheCampaignForFoodJusticeNow  
  • CATA (El Comíte de Apoyo a Los Trabajadores Agrícolas): The Farmworker Support Committee – “CATA is a non-profit, migrant farmworker organization that is governed by and comprised of farmworkers who are actively engaged in the struggle for better working and living conditions. CATA’s mission is to empower and educate farmworkers through leadership development and capacity building so that they are able to make informed decisions regarding the best course of action for their interests. CATA has advanced based on the belief that only through organizing and collective action can they achieve justice and fullness of life. CATA’s programs are based on the Popular Education Methodology, which actively involve farmworkers in the process of social change. This means that the analysis and proposed actions come directly from the farmworkers. Also inherent in CATA’s mission is the importance of analyzing the farmworker reality in terms of the food system. In doing so, projects and campaigns are undertaken with the goal of achieving meaningful and lasting improvements rather than mere reforms to a legal and economic system that is structurally biased against them.” http://cata-farmworkers.org/ 
  • Civil Eats – “Civil Eats is a daily news source for critical thought about the American food system. We publish stories that shift the conversation around sustainable agriculture in an effort to build economically and socially just communities. Founded in January 2009, Civil Eats is a community resource of over 100 contributors who are active participants in the evolving food landscape from Capitol Hill to Main Street. Civil Eats was named the James Beard Foundation’s 2014 Publication of the Year.” http://civileats.com/2016/07/15/the-resurgence-of-black-farmers/
  • Coalition of Immokalee Workers – “The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) is a worker-based human rights organization internationally recognized for its achievements in the fields of social responsibility, human trafficking, and gender-based violence at work.  Built on a foundation of farmworker community organizing starting in 1993, and reinforced with the creation of a national consumer network since 2000, CIW’s work has steadily grown over more than twenty years to encompass three broad and overlapping spheres: Fair Food Program, Anti-Slavery Campaign, and Campaign for Fair Food.” http://www.ciw-online.org/  
  • The Color of Food – “Preserving stories, celebrating resilience, changing the face of agriculture: A multimedia project focusing on Black, Latino, Native, and Asian farmers.”  http://thecolorofood.com/   
  • Cooperation Jackson – “Cooperation Jackson is an emerging vehicle for sustainable community development, economic democracy, and community ownership. Our vision is to develop a cooperative network based in Jackson, Mississippi that will consist of four interconnected and interdependent institutions: an emerging federation of local worker cooperatives, a developing cooperative incubator, a cooperative education and training center (the Lumumba Center for Economic Democracy and Development), and a cooperative bank or financial institution. Cooperation Jackson’s basic theory of change is centered on the position that organizing and empowering the structurally under and unemployed sectors of the working class, particularly from Black and Latino communities, to build worker organized and owned cooperatives will be a catalyst for the democratization of our economy and society overall. Cooperation Jackson believes that we can replace the current socio-economic system of exploitation, exclusion and the destruction of the environment with a proven democratic alternative. An alternative built on equity, cooperation, worker democracy, and environmental sustainability to provide meaningful living wage jobs, reduce racial inequities, and build community wealth.” http://www.cooperationjackson.org/ 
  • Detroit Black Community Food Security Network –  “The Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (DBCFSN) was formed in February 2006 to address food insecurity in Detroit’s Black community, and to organize members of that community to play a more active leadership role in the local food security movement. We observed that many of the key players in the local urban agriculture movement were young whites, who while well-intentioned, never-the-less, exerted a degree of control inordinate to their numbers in Detroit’s population. Many of those individuals moved to Detroit from other places specifically to engage in agricultural or other food security work. It was and is our view that the most effective movements grow organically from the people whom they are designed to serve. Representatives of Detroit’s majority African-American population must be in the leadership of efforts to foster food justice and food security in Detroit. While our specific focus is on Detroit’s African-American community, we realize that improved policy and an improved localized food system is a benefit to all Detroit residents.” http://detroitblackfoodsecurity.org/index.html 
  • Detroit Food Justice Task Force – “… is a consortium of People of Color led organizations and allies that share a commitment to creating a food security plan for Detroit that is: sustainable; that provides healthy, affordable foods for all of the city’s people; that is based on best-practices and programs that work; and that is just and equitable in the distribution of food and jobs.” http://www.detroitfoodjustice.org/  
  • Farms to Grow, Inc. – is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to working with Black farmers and underserved sustainable farmers around the country. Farms To Grow, Inc. is committed to sustainable farming and innovative agriculture practices which preserve the cultural and biological diversity, the agroecological balance of the local environment. Farms To Grow, Inc. aims to increase the capacity of underserved farmers to keep their farm operations and establish farming as a viable career for future generations. Underserved farmers may include Native American, Hispanic, other minority groups, women, the physically challenged and limited access organic farmers. Our mission is to assist African American farmers and other under-served farmers/gardeners maintain and create sustainable farms and spaces to grow food and motivate the next generation of farmers to grow sustainably and with community in mind.” http://www.farmstogrow.com/ 
  • Federation of Southern Cooperatives Land Assistance Fund – “We strive toward the development of self-supporting communities with programs that increase income and enhance other opportunities; and we strive to assist in land retention and development, especially for African Americans, but essentially for all family farmers. We do this with an active and democratic involvement in poor areas across the South, through education and outreach strategies which support low-income people in molding their communities to become more humane and livable. We assist in the development of cooperatives and credit unions as a collective strategy to create economic self-sufficiency.” http://www.federationsoutherncoop.com/  
  • Food First – “Food First is a ‘people’s think tank’ dedicated to ending the injustices that cause hunger and helping communities to take back control of their food systems. We advance our mission through three interrelated work areas: research, education and action. These work areas are designed to promote informed citizen engagement with the institutions and policies that control our food and to integrate local, national and global efforts. Our work both informs and amplifies the voices of social movements fighting for food justice and food sovereignty.” https://foodfirst.org/projects/ 
  • Food Justice & Anti-Racism Working Group of the Mariposa Food Coop, West Philadelphia (FJAR) Youth and Food Justice: Lessons from the Civil Rights Movement – “The Food Justice and Anti-Racism Working Group (FJAR) is a committee of Mariposa Food Co-op. FJAR understands racism to be a form of oppression that is linked to and reinforces all other oppressions, including food systems, both urban and rural. Therefore, we work to identify and dismantle institutionalized racism, classism, patriarchy, ableism, homophobia and transphobia within Mariposa, and to align our co-op with social change related to fair labor practices, food access, environmental justice and anti-gentrification. Our work will consist of organizing food justice and anti-oppression trainings for staff/members, offering solidarity and support to relevant local organizations, strategic organizational development, outreach and more. Our aim is to create positive social change at Mariposa which will serve as a catalyst in dismantling broader institutionalized oppressions in our communities.” https://mariposafoodjustice.wordpress.com/about/  
  • Food Lab Detroit – “We’re a diverse group of locally-owned food businesses—caterers, bakers, picklers, distributors, corner stores, cafes—who support each other in the process of growing and improving our individual businesses, and who are committed to taking active steps together towards a more delicious, healthy, fair, and green food economy in Detroit.” https://foodlabdetroit.com/who-we-are
  • Growing Food and Justice For All Initiative – “Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative (GFJI) is an initiative aimed at dismantling racism and empowering low-income and communities of color through sustainable and local agriculture. This comprehensive network views dismantling racism as a core principal which brings together social change agents from diverse sectors working to bring about new, healthy and sustainable food systems and supporting and building multicultural leadership in impoverished communities throughout the world. The vision for this initiative is to establish a powerful network of individuals, organizations and community based entities all working toward a food secure and just world.” http://growingfoodandjustice.org/ 
  • Land Loss Prevention Project – “The Land Loss Prevention Project (LLPP) was founded in 1982 by the North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers to curtail epidemic losses of Black owned land in North Carolina. LLPP was incorporated in the state of North Carolina in 1983. The organization broadened its mission in 1993 to provide legal support and assistance to all financially distressed and limited resource farmers and landowners in North Carolina. LLPP’s advocacy for financially distressed and limited resource farmers involves action in three separate arenas: litigation, public policy, and promoting sustainable agriculture and environment.” https://www.landloss.org/   
  • National Black Food & Justice Alliance – “The National Black Food and Justice Alliance is a coalition of Black-led organizations working towards cultivating and advancing Black leadership, building Black self-determination, Black institution building and organizing for food sovereignty, land and justice. The Alliance seeks to achieve this by engaging in broad based coalition organizing for black food and land, increasing visibility of Black led narratives and work, advancing Black led visions for just and sustainable communities, and building capacity for self-determination within our local, national, and international food systems and land rights work. Our areas of focus include black food sovereignty, self-determining food economies, and land. We approach food sovereignty, land and self-determining food economies via the lens of healing, organizing and resistance against anti-Blackness.”  http://www.blackfoodjustice.org/ 
  • New Roots – (Louisville, KY) New Roots works with fresh food insecure communities to create sustainable systems for accessing the farm-fresh food we all need to be healthy and happy. In a nutshell, we are uniting communities to end food injustice. The main fruit of our labor are the Fresh Stop Markets — farm-fresh food markets that pop up at local churches, housing authorities, and community centers in fresh food insecure neighborhoods. The food has been paid for in advance so that farmers don’t face the same degree of risk as they do with a standard farmers’ market.” http://www.newroots.org/  
  • Northern Manhattan Food Justice Initiative (WE ACT for Environmental Justice) – The goal of WE ACT’s Food Justice Initiative is for Northern Manhattan schools to have access to good food. WE ACT defines ‘good food’ as safe, fresh, and nutritious school meals that are prepared in schools in a quality environment, that kids eat and parents support, to contribute to the reduction of childhood obesity. WE ACT works towards this goal by organizing parents through our Food Justice Training. Our Food Justice Training consists of three workshops and aims to build a vision of what parents want for school food, educating them about the school food system, and conducting a power analysis of the school food system to understand what power we need to leverage to achieve their vision.” http://community.weact.org/northernmanhattanfoodjusticeinitiative 
  • Nourish/Resist – “We are a group of social justice minded, People of Color (POC) working to plan and activate transformative actions within our communities in 2017, using food as a platform. We see food as a strategy for resistance and we seek to unapologetically use food spaces to nourish and strategically organize our community to: 1. Force a power paradigm shift. 2. Snatch back electoral power on the local and state level. 3. Foster personal and food security for our community. 4. Break down silos to create coalitions across our similarly-minded movements, people, and organizations.” https://nourishresist.org/
  • Rural Coalition/Coalición Rural – “… is an alliance of farmers, farmworkers, indigenous, migrant, and working people from the United States, Mexico, Canada, and beyond working together toward a new society that values unity, hope, people, and land. Rural Coalition/Coalición Rural is one of the most grassroots-oriented and culturally-diverse of rural organizations. With over 50 grassroots member organizations we serve as a critical advocacy voice of African-American, American-Indian, Asian-American, Euro-American, Latino, and women farmers, ranchers, farmworkers, and rural communities throughout the U.S. Through our shared efforts, we were able to secure more than 30 sections of policies in the 2008 Farm Bill that provide a seat at the table in agriculture for the producers, farmworkers, and communities we serve. 
  • Setting an Anti-Racist Table – “Conversations on recognizing racism, white privilege, and counteracting oppression in communities of color, as expressed in the commerce and culture of food. We are a group of anti-racists who meet in open discussions to foster alliances between organizers of color and white allies in New York City’s food justice and ­sustainability movement. Our agri-food system can’t be considered sustainable while it yields structural inequities of food access and quality for different people based on race; and endures commercially through the routine labor exploitation mostly of people of color. Conversations are held separately among white allies and people of color, and in multi-racial groups to address head-on the nature of and reasons for broad food resource allocations that favor white people, excluding people of color from fair access to good sustenance and land. http://detroitblackfoodsecurity.org/index.html 
  • Southeastern African American Farmers’ Organic Network (SAAFON) – “… provides education and training to small-scale underserved farmers and their communities on the best practices for creating sustainable and economically viable agricultural projects and programs.” http://www.saafon.org/  
  • Southern Grassroots Economies Project – “… is building networks across the US South to promote and launch sustainable cooperative economies. Our work is inspired by the rich history of social justice struggle in the South and looks to the example of the worker-owned cooperatives of Mondragon, Spain and Emilia Ramagno, Italy for guidance. Business enterprises that are community-based are responsive to the needs of the people in their immediate area. They are far less likely than large corporations to pick up and leave their community based solely on the promise of a greater profit margin. These businesses, and the people who own and work in them, are also far better stewards of the environment and the local ‘commons’—because these resources also nurture and belong to them.” http://sgeproject.org/
See too Raj Patel’s short piece, “Survival Pending Revolution: What the Black Panthers Can Teach the US Food Movement.”