Farmers, Fairness & the Farm Bill

where issues of producers, policy and equity converge

A Collaborative Research Project with Rural Coalition, National Family Farm Coalition & American University's School of International Service (Washington, DC)

Scholarly Publications 

The following journal articles by SIS faculty derived directly from research and collaboration with the National Family Farm Coalition and the Rural Coalition in the course of the ongoing project of Farmers, Fairness & the Farm Bill.

Screen Shot 2018-12-03 at 5.25.49 PM.png

Documenting USDA Discrimination: Community-Partnered Research on Farm Policy for Land Justice

Garrett Graddy-Lovelace, Amber Ashley Orozco, and Alexandria Ward | ACME INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL FOR CRITICAL GEOGRAPHIES, VOL. 17, APR. 2018

Abstract: Agriculture in the U.S.--in practice, policy, and scholarship--must reckon with ongoing legacies of structural racism, classism, and patriarchy. Organizations, such as Rural Coalition (RC) and National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC), are at the frontlines, calling for more accountable, equitable agri-food policies. Universities and scholars play a vital role in the engagement of community-based to support these organizations’ efforts. As a case study, this paper draws upon a master’s degree practicum and multi-year collaboration between [university omitted] faculty, students, RC, and NFFC. Students of this practicum engaged in community-based research to support these organization’s understanding of current racial discrimination faced by Black rural farmers, fifteen years after the Pigford civil rights lawsuit cases filed against the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Our research explores struggles for racial and land justice in the South. In addition, our paper seeks to provide reflections on the successes, challenges, and impact of community-partnered research for community organizations and students.

JRS 2017.gif

From supply management to agricultural subsidies—and back again? The U.S. Farm Bill & agrarian (in)viability

Garrett Graddy-Lovelace and Adam Diamond | Journal of Rural Studies, Vol. 50, Feb. 2017

Abstract: Farm subsidies have become increasingly maligned in agricultural policy debates, but the merits of subsidies are a distraction from deeper political, economic, and ecological problems in agriculture. Drawing on a history of the U.S. Farm Bill, this paper argues that a fixation on farm subsidies ignores why they came into being, and more generally glosses over the imperative for modern states to intervene into agricultural economies. Karl Polanyi's 'double movement' framework is used to situate the rise and fall of agricultural supply management within food regime theory. In the second, or surplus food regime, the U.S. government wielded excess commodities as geopolitical tools—even as domestic farm policy labored to contain overproduction, and thus support agrarian viability. In the subsequent corporate food regime, “free market” agriculture displaces and discredits supply management, even as massive government intervention into how food is grown and sold continues. Making space to remember historical price support programs, to situate their accomplishments and limitations, and to recognize residual supply-management mechanisms (such as farm cooperatives and agricultural marketing orders) is crucial for fostering agricultural viability in the US and beyond. Twentieth century supply management had flaws, but it cannot be wholly omitted. This paper highlights key motivations, elements, and contradictions of these policies and programs to begin the process of considering how supply management principles and strategies could be updated and enhanced for 21st century agriculture. Such a framework would need to pay more attention to diversity within domestic and international agricultures, and be more sensitive to the multi-scalar dimensions of food systems.

JPS 2017.jpg

The coloniality of US agricultural policy: articulating agrarian (in)justice

Garrett Graddy-Lovelace | The Journal of Peasant Studies, Vol. 44, No. 1, Jan. 2017 (online Aug. 2016)

Abstract: Drawing on participatory action research with La Via Campesina’s US member groups, this paper traces the coloniality of US agricultural policy – and the uses of this analytic lens. The framework of coloniality conjures history, contextualizing US Department of Agriculture (USDA) racism within long legacies of subjugation, while paying homage to historical resistance. It raises the stakes regarding the neo-imperialism of agribusiness monopolies, while highlighting divide-and-conquer strategies and the colonialist mentalities that linger on despite reform. Assertions of coloniality, however, risk nostalgia for 18th century pastorals, or may jeopardize hard-fought-for relationships of trust with USDA personnel. Deployment demands self-reflexivity, on the part of academia, which like the USDA is neo-colonial, yet not monolithic. Most importantly however, the discursive impact of coloniality builds upon existing, grassroots articulations of the need to decolonize agricultural policy. Calling out the coloniality of US agricultural policy echoes global revalorizations of peasant agriculture, while overcoming the constraints of the term ‘peasant’ in US-English-speaking contexts. Accordingly, it could facilitate dialogue among grassroots agrarian alliances within the US and, internationally, with international advocacy for peasants’ rights.


Community partnered action research on and for U.S. agricultural policy