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.
1. Introduction - Jane Adams
I. NORTH AMERICAN AGRICULTURE IN THE WORLD SYSTEM: OVERVIEW AND CASE STUDIES
2. The Social Economy of Development: The State of/and the Imperial Valley - Alan P. Rudy
3. From the National Policy to Continentalism and Globalization: The Shifting Context of Canadian Agricultural Policies - K. Murray Knuttila
4. The Contested Terrain of Swine Production: Deregulation and Reregulation of Corporate Farming Laws in Missouri - Douglas H. Constance, Anna M. Kleiner, and J. Sanford Rikoon
5. The Contingent Creation of Rural Interest Groups - Miriam J. Wells
II. FOUNDATIONS OF TWENTIETH CENTURY U.S. POLICY
6. The Origin of the Federal Farm Loan Act: Issue Emergence and Agenda-Setting in the Progressive Era Print Press - Stuart W. Shulman
7. Low Modernism and the Agrarian New Deal: A Different Kind of State - Jess Gilbert
8. The New Deal Farm Programs: Looking for Reconstruction in American Agriculture - Mary Summers
9. The U.S. Farm Financial Crisis of the 1980s - Barry J. Barnett
III. THE POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS OF DAILY LIFE
10. The Entrepreneurial Self: Identity and Morality in a Midwestern Farming Community - Kathryn Marie Dudley
11. Considerably More Than Vegetables, a Lot Less Than Community: The Dilemma of Community Supported Agriculture - Laura B. DeLind
THE POLITICS OF THE ENVIRONMENT
12. Canadian Agricultural Policy: Liberal, Global, and Sustainable - Alan Hall
13. Constructing Genetic Engineering in the Food and Fiber System as a Problem: Urban Social Movement Organizations as Players in Agricultural Discourse - Ann Reisner
14. Eating in the Gardens of Gaia: Envisioning Polycultural Communities - Harriet Friedmann
List of Contributors
"The chapters do an excellent job of showing the intersection of structure and agency, including both powerful actors who alter structures in their own interests and grassroots movements that set up alternative structures and different interpretations of reality. . . . The authors of this volume analyze actors who are struggling to construct alternative food systems in harmony with humanity and nature."—Contemporary Sociology