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Producers, Consumers, and Activists Challenge the Global Food System
“One problem with the food system is that price is the bottom line rather than having the bottom line be land stewardship, an appreciation for the environmental and social value of small-scale family farms, or for organically grown produce.” —Interview with farmer in Skagit County, Washington For much of the later twentieth century, food has been abundant and convenient for most residents of advanced industrial societies. The luxury of taking the safety and dependability of food for granted pushed it to the back burner in the consciousness of many. Increasingly, however, this once taken-for-granted food system is coming under question on issues such as the humane treatment of animals, genetically engineered foods, and social and environmental justice. Many consumers are no longer content with buying into the mainstream, commodity-driven food market on which they once depended. Resistance has emerged in diverse forms, from protests at the opening of McDonald’s restaurants worldwide to ever-greater interest in alternatives, such as CSAs (community-supported agriculture), fair trade, and organic foods. The food system is increasingly becoming an arena of struggle that reflects larger changes in societal values and norms, as expectations are moving beyond the desire for affordable, convenient foods to a need for healthy and environmentally sound alternatives. In this book, leading scholars and scholar-activists provide case studies that illuminate the complexities and contradictions that surround the emergence of a “new day” in agriculture. The essays found in The Fight Over Food analyze and evaluate both the theoretical and historical contexts of the agrifood system and the ways in which trends of individual action and collective activity have led to an “accumulation of resistance” that greatly affects the mainstream market of food production. The overarching theme that integrates the case studies is the idea of human agency and the ways in which people purposefully and creatively generate new forms of action or resistance to facilitate social changes within the structure of predominant cultural norms. Together these studies examine whether these combined efforts will have the strength to create significant and enduring transformations in the food system.
Rural America Transformed
In North America industrial agriculture has now virtually displaced diversified family farming. The prevailing system depends heavily on labor supplied by migrants and immigrants, and its reliance on monoculture raises environmental concerns. In this book Jane Adams and contributors—anthropologists and political scientists among them—analyze the political dynamics that have transformed agriculture in the United States and Canada since the 1920s. The contributors demonstrate that people become politically active in arenas that range from the state to public discourse to relations between growers and their contractors or laborers, and that politics is a process that is intimately local as well as global.
The farm financial crisis of the 1980s precipitated rapid consolidation of farms and a sharp decline in rural populations. It brought new actors into the political process, including organic farmers and environmentalists. Fighting for the Farm: Rural America Transformed considers the politics of farm policy and the consequences of the increasing alignment of agricultural interests with the global economy. The first section of the book places North American agriculture in the context of the world system; the second, a series of case studies, examines the foundations of current U.S. policy; subsequent sections deal with the political implications for daily life and the politics of the environment.
Recognizing the influence of an array of political constituencies and arenas, Fighting for the Farm charts a decisive shift since the early part of the twentieth century from a discursive regime rooted in economics to one that now incorporates a variety of environmental and quality-of-life concerns.
With this book, Allan Kulikoff offers a sweeping new interpretation of the origins and development of the small farm economy in Britain's mainland American colonies. Examining the lives of farmers and their families, he tells the story of immigration to the colonies, traces patterns of settlement, analyzes the growth of markets, and assesses the impact of the Revolution on small farm society.
Beginning with the dispossession of the peasantry in early modern England, Kulikoff follows the immigrants across the Atlantic to explore how they reacted to a hostile new environment and its Indian inhabitants. He discusses how colonists secured land, built farms, and bequeathed those farms to their children. Emphasizing commodity markets in early America, Kulikoff shows that without British demand for the colonists' crops, settlement could not have begun at all. Most important, he explores the destruction caused during the American Revolution, showing how the war thrust farmers into subsistence production and how they only gradually regained their prewar prosperity.
Perspectives on Post-Tsunami and Post-Conflict Aceh
The tsunami that struck a dozen countries around the Indian Ocean on 26 December 2004 evoked international sympathy on a scale beyond any previous natural disaster. The international relief effort broke all records both in scale and diversity, with seven billion U.S. dollars donated from all over the world through public and private agencies for Sumatra alone. Simply as a reconstruction effort, therefore, the disbursement of those funds and the rebuilding of housing, infrastructure, and economy posed major national and international challenges. However this was not simply a reconstruction effort. Aceh at that time was a war zone, with Indonesia’s military engaged in a major operation to crush a separatist rebellion that had been simmering since 1976. Even though the funds had been donated for tsunami relief, any real reconstruction of Aceh had to consider the impact of the conflict on the well-being of the population, as well as governance and administrative capacities. This volumes serves the purpose not only of discussing some of the lessons of the Aceh reconstruction and peace processes, but also of maintaining critical links between Aceh and the international community after the initial tranches of aid expire.
G.C. "Red" Jones's classic memoir of growing up in rural eastern Kentucky during the Depression is a story of courage, persistence, and eventual triumph. His priceless and detailed recollections of hardscrabble farming, of the impact of Prohibition on an individualistic people, of the community-destroying mine wars of "Bloody Harlan," and of the drastic dislocations brought by World War II are essential to understanding this seminal era in Appalachian history.
Institutions, Motivations and Incentives - The Cambodia Dialogue
There is growing international evidence that the effectiveness of health services stems primarily from the extent to which the incentives facing providers and consumers are aligned with "better health" objectives. Efficiency in health service provision requires that providers and consumers have incentives to use healthcare resources in ways that generate the maximum health gains. Equity in at least one sense requires that consumers requiring the same care are treated equally, irrespective of their ability to pay. Efficiency in the use of health services requires that consumers are knowledgeable about the services on offer and which are most appropriate to their needs. Although these principles are enshrined in the design of every health system in the world, they have proven extremely difficult to apply in practice. Healthcare providers have financial obligations to their families as well as professional obligations to their patients. Health service consumers generally lack information about both their health and health services so that they under-consume or over-consume healthcare. The papers in this volume are selected from an international conference organized by the CDRI, Cambodia, that tried to deal with some of these issues. With participation of international and local experts, it aimed at collecting major experiences and innovative solutions from inside and outside the country to improve health sector performance, with particular focus on institutions, motivations and incentives.
This book is an uncompromising analysis of Senegal's decentralisation policy in rural areas. It discusses the state's inability to promote local development, despite this being its main raison d'?tre in a context of poverty. To identify reasons for the shortcomings, the author goes beyond policy statements and explores, sociologically, the compatibility of the behaviour and the cultural context of actors with the pursuance of local development objectives. Yet, there are indeed solutions to the actors' lethargy and to the weak coverage of the initiatives undertaken. The solutions can be found in the methodical and civic mobilisation around more ambitious actions that are more adapted to receptive localities, though opened to modernity and perfectly anchored in the culture for positive results. Rosnert Ludovic Alissoutin holds a PhD in Law. Since 1995, he has been working as a consultant on development issues in Senegal and Africa, particularly local development issues. The particularity of his approach lies in the rejection of scientific exclusivism and recourse to a multi disciplinary, open and flexible analysis of the complexity of human development. It is this perspective that informed his doctoral thesis on La Gestion de l'eau en milieu aride, which discusses legal, anthropological, geographical, and sociological issues. For additional information on his profile and work, visit his website: http://www.ralissoutin.com.
Coming of Age on the Klamath
When Louise Wagenknecht’s family arrived in the remote logging town of Happy Camp in 1962, a boundless optimism reigned. Whites and Indians worked together in the woods and the lumber mills of northern California’s Klamath country. Logging and lumber mills, it seemed, would hold communities together forever.
But that booming prosperity would come to an end. Looking back on her teenage years spent along the Klamath River, Louise Wagenknecht recounts a vanishing way of life. She explores the dynamics of family relationships and the contradictions of being female in a western logging town in the 1960s. And she paints an evocative portrait of the landscape and her relationship with it.
Light on the Devils is a readable and elegant memoir of place. It will appeal to general readers interested in the Pacific Northwest, personal memoir, history, and natural history.
A Rural Community Resists Nuclear Waste
Through character development, snappy dialogue, and vivid scenes, Linked Arms tells the story of a rural people’s successful struggle to keep a major nuclear dump out of Allegany County in western New York. Five times over a twelve-month period hundreds of ordinary people—merchants, teachers, homemakers, professionals, farmers, and blue collar workers—ignored potential jail terms and large fines to defy the nuclear industry and governmental authority by linking arms in the bitter cold to thwart the siting commission through civil disobedience. The hearts and minds of the resisters emerge in the narrative, as we find out why these people found civil disobedience compelling, how they organized themselves, and what moral dilemmas they addressed as they fought for their convictions. While becoming more engaged in the resistance, they confronted critical issues in contemporary America: democratic decision making, environmental policy, legal rights, corporate responsibility, and the technology of nuclear waste. Some of the book’s highlights include: conversations that took place between Governor Cuomo, Assemblyman Hasper, and the protestors, which thoughtfully probe who should bear the financial burden of a failed and dangerous technology; the scientific and technological issues discussed between Ted Taylor, a nuclear physicist who was one of the key people in the Manhattan project, and the leaders of the resistance; and the citizens’ initiation of a lawsuit that eventually reached the Supreme Court and abrogated the central provision in the 1987 congressional law that mandated states build low-level nuclear dumps across the country. These dialogues and vignettes illustrate how the civil disobedience and dogged determination of the people of Allegany County changed the course of history.