Expert Agroecology Report: A Farm Justice Critique


This is a Review of certain aspects of a major report on agroecology called “From Uniformity to Diversity: A Paradigm Shift from Industrial Agriculture to Diversified Agroecological Systems,” by IPES-Food’s, International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems.  It’s found here:  Executive Summary,  Full Report.

This is a critique based upon the alternative “Farm Justice” narrative and paradigm of the U.S. Family Farm Movement, as it’s been developed over the past 60 years, and as I and others have tried to update it for the 21st century. This paradigm as it has evolved in recent decades, emerged out of earlier experiences of U.S. agriculture going back another hundred years, and out of which the farm bill was formed.

Beyond that, in my judgement, it’s a paradigm rooted in the extensive experiences of rural people going back thousands of years. After 5,000 years of amazing success, agriculture became severely oppressed by the urban empires, (civilizations, “megamachines,” [Lewis Mumford, The Myth of the Machine, 2 vols.) over another 5,000 years. For those farming within the reach of these urban empires, crises of distributive economic justice and related social injustices, have long been overwhelming. Agriculture was been the wealth of ancient empires, and this story has re-emerged in authoritarian, globally dominating ways in our time.

Not surprisingly, then, the ethics of agricultural people around the globe have long centered on distributive economic justice, which is the focus of my review here.

There is much that’s excellent in this report, in it’s emphasis on ecologically adequate methods of farming. It has great value in those aspects. Unfortunately, those strengths are tainted by misunderstandings of how things have gone so severely wrong in agriculture. In the views of the reports “expert” writers, the problems have emerged on farms that have been overly rewarded. Though little if any evidence is offered in defense of that view, it’s a concensus, so the authors, and many of their audiences, seem to agree.


Some of us have been reflecting upon the concept of “agroecology,” ever since the word has surfaced with major force in discussions where we participate, for example, in Iowa at the time of the 2015 Food Sovereignty Prize. There ,a presentation was made on agroecology by members of the US Food Sovereignty Alliance. One question was, how does it compare to “food soveriegnty.”

Narrative terms are important, and different sectors favor competing terms. Even the most basic of words, such as “food” ( ) and “farm” ( ) can often be used in highly problematic ways.

I’m also reminded of the continuing debate between certified “organic,” “biodynamic” and “beyond organic.” Perhaps the worst case of this type is “rotational grazing,” which has had a long list of alternative names, often fiercely defended (i.e. from management intensive grazing to holistic resource management).

One reason for using “agroecology” seems to be that “agriculture” isn’t seen as a strong enough term. On the other hand, “agroecology” seems to be less political, (less about power,) than “food sovereignty,” for example, which, in turn, points less directly at ecological or environmental concerns. I suspect that academics prefer the term “agroecology, which lends itself to a focus on the technicalities of ecological farming systems. The problem with that, I argue, is that it leads to false conclusions about what has caused the problems in the first place, and what many of the effective solutions would then be.


The problems I see in the report can be summarized as follows. Note that they’re about all anti-farmer, giving far too much away to the dominant agribusiness ideology.

[1.] It’s a huge mistake to think that we’re talking about a “food system.” We’re not. Were talking about a farming system combined with it’s input and output (including nonfood) sectors.

[2.] It’s a huge mistake to think that the problems are rooted in “industrial agriculture.” They’re rooted in the agribusiness input and output sectors, and in their exploitation of agriculture, including “industrial agriculture.” There are several major corollary myths related to this.

[3.] The fact that half of the hungry are farmers and another 30% are also part of the 80% of the hungry who are rural is not integrated into the thesis of the report about hunger. See also item [7.], below.

[4.] The evidence clearly shows that farmers, including “industrial farmers,” have been penalized, (net result,) and mostly run out of business. They weren’t “incentivized” into becoming more “industrial.” The claims here are not evidence based. They’re ideologically based.

[5.] Farmers subsidize everyone’s food, because our (US/global) agriculture is colonized by the agribusiness megamachine, which extracts “tribute” directly from farmers. That’s where any meaningful discussion of “cheap food” needs to start.

[6.] They’re not “agricultural lobbies” where “agriculture” wins. They’re anti-farmer, anti-agriculture, pro-agribusiness lobbies.

[7.] Coverage of the whole question of “export orientation” doesn’t ever really get at the huge political issues of farm justice & corporate exploitation. It’s treated as a technical (academic) issue. Ditto for the so-called “food price crisis,” (meaning too high prices,) where the hungry (the 80% rural food poverty that are dependent upon a farm economy for wealth creation,) are assumed to be hurt by paying farmers fairly for a change. It’s the reverse, 50 years of cheap prices, not 7 years of prices that are more fair for just 3 crops, (corn, soybeans and rice), that’s the cause.

[8.] In terms of the larger net results, research doesn’t “favor” farmers. Sure, you get greater yields, but farmers have usually been paid less for them (total amount). It’s the reverse. The mass of private research is subsidized (privately) by the ever cheaper prices, by the wealth taken directly from farmers, and by the destruction of our flexibility, our options to not buy the products, (as we’ve lost livestock and rotations).

[9.] Profitabilty for organic farms is a good sign, but the viability of organic farming is massively hindered by the other kinds of (ignored) problems I’ve been highlighting.

[10.] The really bad consequences from the invisibility (to these “experts,”) of the problems I’ve raised then leads to the risk of more bad consequences from their recommendations, starting in Recomendation 1. It’s a great idea to better focus costs and benefits on the public good, since such massive damage has occurred from penalizing agriculture, but since the report thinks it’s come from rewarding agriculture, it calls for further damage, such as cutting farm subsidies without doing anything about market management, (about fair prices, about eliminating the need for any subsidies). That would be devastating, (and it’s already happened in the 2014 Farm Bill, though almost no one knows it, as CBO projections show).

[11.] Point [11.], below, continues and expands upon the point in [10.].

[12.] On the question of a need to strenghten social movements, the bad consequences of the many problems I’ve raised again come to the fore. It’s exactly in the spreading of so much of the false (agribusiness) ideology (against the evidence) in the report, and throughout our various other sectors and their narratives, that we’ve been so severely divided and conquered. This can’t be fixed without fixing the myths I’ve identified (i.e. myths in the overall academic paradigm of agroecology?).

[13.] Here, in response to their Recommendation 6, I return to the issue of [8.], of the connection of farm markets as a whole, (farm prices,) to the funding of research agendas. As with other items, without fixing price, an “agroecological” research agenda is swimming against a tide that is much much stronger than the swimmer.


The report is 96 pages, and it’s difficult to find the time to respond to reports of that length. What follows was first written on the basis of the Executive Summary, and then I did a number of content searches of relevant sections of the full report. The specifics that concern me are as follows.

[1.] First and generally, it’s not a “food system” (or “food only” system). That doesn’t exist and the major problems can’t be solved on that basis. Instead, the problems are made much worse if changes are attempted on a food only basis. This is seen especially in the problem of oversupply. It’s a really bad idea to emphasize food and debase nonfood, when we’re destroying the planet and starving people to death on the basis of oversupply. In particular, it’s abusive and unjust to bash farmers who grow something other than food. It divides and conquers our movement. Then we wonder why we’re losing. Should we call for the elimination of all jobs in society that aren’t sufficiently politically correct or high status, including those that the poorest among us have to do this work to survive? What then would we do with all of the unemployed workers. That’s exactly equivalent to the food-centric issue-gone-viral. It’s extremely unwise, and must be immediately and strongly opposed. (cf. )

[2.] The focus of the report is primarily on “industrial farming,” not on the agribusiness complex that exploits “industrial farming. These farms are treated as if they’re huge, highly concentrated and rewarded thing, but certainly in the United States, in crop farming, that’s not true. Though plenty of very bad things have happened to farms, and farm size has increased a dramatically, with huge negative consequences, crop farms remain quite small relative to the incredible concentration of the agribuiness input, output CAFO complexes (or megamachines). You usually can’t show concentration in crop farming on the same chart with these other concentrations, as it’s too tiny to show up on the graph (i.e. the big 4 corn farms). Most formerly diversified farms have lost livestock to CAFOs, where more than half of ownership of livestock and poultry, (i.e. hogs & broilers,) involves just four corporations. The crop farming issue is not that at all huge and lucrative, at least relative to the other category that seems to be largely missing from the analysis of farming systems: the agribusines input and output complex.

On points like this the report specifically mentioned the cornbelt. I live here and the facts on the ground make it clear that there is nothing her remotely close to ownership of corn farming by just 4 corporations. What’s often missed, is that, in so massively looting our wealth from crop farming, (we’ve often been paid less per acre, even as yields for corn have grown to be 4 times greater,) and with the loss of value added livestock, farms have had to grow much larger just to stay the same economic size. This is hard to estimate, but in a number of scenarios I’ve run, the money you could make on a 160 acre diversified cornbelt farm in the 1940s might take a 600 acre farm today. Basically, when market prices (plus subsidies) are at these levels, the 600 acre farm is no bigger than the 160 acre farm. So most of the larger sizes are illusions. They exist much more in people’s imaginations, but than they do concretely, on the basis of the hard data, justly interpreted.

[2a.] To be honest, the industrial system has been created in part from the many advances that industrialism has brought in general, similar to indoor plumbing and health care, as seen in organic farming in the United States, which uses many of the benefits of industrialism. More to the point here, however, the industrial system of agriculture has been created primarily by penalizing the farmers who are doing it, (running most of them out of business,) not by rewarding them. There’s certainly no valid evidence that subsidies represent a net benefit to these farmers. The evidence clearly shows that we’ve been paid a lot less with subsidies (net result) than we were paid prior to subsidies, (even as these subsidies were radically reduced in the 2014 farm bill, should the cheap prices that are currently projected prevail). There are many problems with industrialism, but what we really live in is the mega-industrial age, where the input and output complexes are megamachines, each a “Manhattan Project. And it’s an authoritarian technology that takes tribute from the so called industrial farmers.

[2b.] While the data on the penalized farmers shows very clearly that they’ve had needs far greater than the benefits given, (as most have been run out of business,) the agribusiness buyers, (which are typically hundreds of times larger,) have had benefits many times greater, while not showing any needs for those benefits, but instead showing repeated record profits and returns on equity ( ).

[2c.] The myth of the gigantic size of “industrial agricuture” is strongly influenced by the farm subsidy myth, where the top 10% are imagined to be huge, while the bottom 80 persent are imagined to be “family-sized.” That’s gone viral, even though no valid evidence has ever been presented to support it. Those of us who are farmers living in farming regions know better. The evidence is all around us. We can look in the farm subsidy database, and we know these people and these farms. In my rough analysis the top 10% mark starts at roughly 200 acres for corn and soybeans, which is sub-full-time, while the bottom third is only about 2 acres ( ).

[3.] I don’t see how you can meaningfully discuss global “Hunger, food security and nutrition” without giving adequate attention to the fact that the “undernourished” are 80% rural, mostly farmers, and the fact that they’re grossly underpaid. While the full report (not the executive summary?) briefly mentions facts along these lines, these facts seem to have virtually no impact on the basic thesis. We need to “pay the world” and the 80% can feed themselves. The fact that this is politically caused seems to have been omitted from the report, which, I find, is common for agricultural academics, who seem to shy away from such issues. Overproduction has been a major cause of the poverty that causes hunger. What I see here is only mention of this production “reducing hunger,” not of it causing hunger. This is picked up again begining on page 7 under “‘feed the world’ narratives.” Here it says that “industrial agriculture continues to be seen as the solution,” which seems to imply that that’s who will be rewarded. It’s not mentioned that what that really means is that that’s who will be first penalized in these kinds of pro-output-complex solutions.

[4.] Yes, “path dependency” (p. 6 Exec. Sum.) is a huge problem, but it’s largely caused by penalizing farmers (net result), not by rewarding them. The mention only of “subsidies,” and not the much bigger value reductions from ever cheaper prices that have run most of these farmers out of business is severely invalid. The penalties of cheap prices from the output complex have led to the further penalty of loss of livestock to CAFOs, and farmers couldn’t afford to bring sons and daughters into the operation to do the labor anyway. This then leads to the further penalty of the loss of the most sustainable crop rotations, which rely on livestock feeds, (alfalfa, clover, grass). This then leads to the loss of options of what to raise, (resilience based on a diversity of crops and livestock,) and the loss of alternatives to chemical inputs from the input complex. This then leads to the loss of the infrastructure and infostructure for diversity, (sale barns, elevators that buy oats and grind feed, mainstream businesses that support farmer diversity). In sum, I don’t think there’s much mention of any penalties to “industrial agriculture,” as a cause of the trends that make industrialism worse.

[5.] It’s not a meaningful discussion of “cheap food” if it’s grounded in “consumer habits” and “expectations,” with no mention of how it’s caused politically, and how farmers subsidize everyone’s food, (net result, even with subsidies). To frame it as “clear signals” based upon “demand” factors, clearly suggests that extra opportunities have opened up for farmers to make money, thus causing the problem (of farmers being underpaid). Yes, read that sentence again. The argument is a contradiction, and surely tied to the subsidy myth, where everyone assumes that “industrial farmers” are doing well, (but without ever providing any valid evidence to support the view). Stewart Smith projected the farm share of the food dollar, (excluding both input and outout shares,) to be zero by 2020. That general trend is supported by a wide variety of major data sources (price levels, net farm income, net cash income, return on equity, return on assets, percent of parity).

[6.] To suggest that something called “Agricultural … lobbies retain a privileged position relative to other constituencies (e.g. environment, health,)” is to use a strange term-gone-viral, (or substitute “farm lobby”). The lobby they’re referring to is an agribusiness lobby. The idea that there’s an agricultural lobby lobbying for these changes really doesn’t much exist. These changes are not in the interests of “agriculture” proper. They’re in the interest of the agribusiness input, output, and CAFO complexes. Those representing authentic “agricultural” interests have no significant lobby at all, as the evidence clearly shows. To call agribusiness a “farm” or “agricultural” lobby is to radically misunderstand the long history and current status of farm and agribusiness politics. Maintaining that misunderstanding is in the interests of agribusiness, and is against the interests of agriculture proper. The report clearly suggests that the environmental and public health sectors are losers, while farmers are winners. That’s false. Farmers are losers, and the losses to the environment and to public health result from the losing of farmers, which results from the gains that farmers are forced to pay to the agribusiness output (including CAFO) complex, when then also leads to the gains of the input complex (i.e. farmers losing livestock and livestock pasture and hay ground, and therefore losing sustainable crop rotations,) which also occurs at the expense of farmers, (i.e. at the expense of flexibility, independence, and resilience).

If “agriculture” is so privileged in it’s “lobby,” then why have most of those who practice agriculture in the US been run out of business by cheap farm prices, (caused economically by the chronic failure of free markets for agriculture, and caused politically by our government since 1953, as market management programs were reduced and eliminated)? Why have we lost livestock (that we once had,) on most farms, and on the surviving farms that still have livestock, why have we lost ownership of most of our livestock? Why has each farm bill gotten worse and worse for those who specifically practice “agricuture.” And finally, why does the data on lobby and influence money show, for example, that just 20 corporations (in 2009) gave 60% of the $100 million that was spent, and none of them were farmer organizations, and none of them represented the interests of farmers, (as defined by the questions above)? They all opposed “agricultural” interests.

[7.] In the section on “export orientation,” p. 6, I don’t see any discussion of how giant exporters use exports to drive down internal prices in the U.S. and all around the world, pitting one country against another, even though there’s no need for the various farm products to be moved around. In other words, it’s a tool against farmers and farming countries. It’s framed instead (in the report) as a spread of “industrial agriculture” as if agriculture is a a beneficiary.

Related to this, a “food price crisis,” is mentioned, as well as “price volatility.” That’s supposed to mean that paying farmers fairly is a crisis for farmers and their regional economies (farmers make up about half of the “undernourished,” and rural people make up about 80%). Really, only 3 major farm prices went up, (corn, soybeans, and rice,) and they rose from the lowest in history (not mentioned in the report,) to somewhere close to the half way point for all time prices, but only briefly, over a 7 year period, (2007-2013). Corn and soybeans,for example, had 8 of the 9 lowest prices in history from 1997-2005, and other major crops were similar. To call being paid something closer to “fair trade” price levels a “crisis” is to not know much of anything about agriculture. To not know that the poverty that causes hunger for farmers (50% of the hungry) and other rural people (80% of the hungry) comes, in important ways, from decades of the dumping crisis is apparently to be come subservient to the dominant narratives of Cargill, ADM, Kelloggs, Tyson, Dean Foods, Kraft and Shuanghui International. Where, though, is there any mention in the report of the much bigger chronic (50 year) problem, chronic, stable very low farm prices. Export dumping has happened almost every year for more than 40 years for wheat, cotton, and small feedgrains, and corn, soybeans rice, sugar and dairy are not far behind, and all are projected to be low through 2026? This is an absurd misunderstanding of these very crucial issues, (and one widely shared, virally!).

It needs to be doubly emphasized that the whole idea of a “food price crisis,” which is accepted in the report, (and apparently also in it’s sources,) is a major false narrative that strongly complements “feed the world.” For agribusiness to pay farmers the more fair prices of 2007-2013 means, in their view, that the sky is falling (on their authoritarian domination of farmers). The report primarily supports this false agribusiness narrative, against the goals of agroecology. The real crisis is the ever cheaper prices paid to farmers (half of the global hungry, who are keys to global rural economies, where 80% of the “undernourished” live). This is the cause of the rural poverty behind most hunger. A few years of farm prices that are more fair would have been no big deal if global farmers had been paid fairly over the previous 55 years.

It should also be noted that exports have been especially important to the growth of organic farming in the United States, for example across the cornbelt and wheat belt, for example, exports to Japan. Without exports demand would have been much lower, premium prices would have been much lower, and the industry would surely have grown at a much slower rate, and would have received much less media and other attention. Much less of an infrastructure would have been developed. Surely this illustrates how the simplified, generalized discussion of exports in the report is inadequate. It’s based on too little connection with the realities of organic farming in the U.S. throughout it’s history.

[8.] Research comes up in a couple of places, as if that’s designed to favor conventional farmers who grow crop commodities. I think it would be more accurate to say that the research creates dilemmas for these farmers, where they lose out by moving in that direction in the long term, even as there are other (short and long term) penalties for not moving in those directions. For example, cheap prices penalize crop rotations and make farmers older, so if you’re old and using pesticides anyway, why not use lower labor GMO methods, even though it’s a more concentrated input complex. On page 7 it states: “Increasingly privatized agricultural R&D programmes remain focused on the handful of crop commodities for which there is a large enough market to secure significant returns.” It’s not mentioned that these are the crops where farmers are paid the least, even with added subsidies (i.e. compared to a list of major fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, as measured by percent of parity). It’s also not mentioned that the privatization of research is for crops where the market prices have been drastically lowered by Congress to massively subsidize the output complex against farmers, (thus HFCS & transfats). At the same time, in losing livestock, pastures and hay, (cheap feed subsidizing CAFOs,) there’s more dependency upon purchased inputs per acre, and more acres on which to put the inputs, thus fostering that kind of R & D as well. So this reference, “secure’s significant returns,” is not a return for “industrial agriculture” itself. It’s a return for those exploiting “industrial agriculture.” The same agribusiness corporations doing the research also lobby collectively and successfully for paying “industrial agriculture” as little as possible, and their investments on research are dependent upon further exploitation along these same lines. So that’s not really “for” the farming part of “the handful of crops.” It’s against the crops (at the farm level,) but for them at the factory level. This is Stewart Smith’s argument that the “farming” portion of the money has been taken away from farms and farmers and given to giant corporations, who do more and more of the “farming” in the factories, and then sell it back as a labor saving technology, (for which the factories, not the farms, get the added value).

[9.] It’s good to see the data on the profitability for organic farming related to conventional, but I’ve explained a wide variety of other factors that can work against those results. These include cheap feeds for CAFOs to compete with organic meat and milk, cheap prices to compete with any local or organic food, the increasing use of farmland for tax loss farming which raises land costs, cheap prices for tasty junk food ingredients, and the ways that the various penalties have produced a farming generation that is very old, and which is unlikely to switch to organic. Also relevant is the destruction of the entire infrastructure and infostructure for diversity, which has been happening massively across vast reasons, as a result of cheap prices, at the same time as an alternative infrastructure for organic has been growing, and being taken over by giant corporations. Since all of the injustice of all of these devastations has been the major focus of activism by conventional farmers in the US over the past 60 years, (i.e. a majority have favored fair Price Floors instead of subsidies,) then it’s a tremendous disservice and a massive failure of strategy to foster the division between the two kinds of “industrial” farmers, organic and conventional, as is fostered by the oversights of this report. The newer, younger Sustainable Family Farm Movement split off from the Family Farm Justice Movement during the 1990s over the issues of justice, and that was a mistake. Out of that, the broader Sustainable Agriculture Movement and then the Food Movement of the 21st century have never supported the kinds of Farm Justice concerns that I’ve identified here. They’ve all supported cheap CAFO feeds, junk food ingredents, and below cost commodity exports (dumping) in the Farm Bill, although unknowingly, at least for the urban advocates. Now, two decades later, as the big “megamachine” corporations have moved into organic, and the Food Movement has so often misunderstood livestock issues, and as the larger infrastructure continues to be destroyed, it’s clear that the time has come to say “enough already,” and to refuse to continue to be divided and conquered.


All of this has huge implications for the recommendations.

[10.] “Recommendation 1: Develop new indicators for sustainable food systems.” The general idea is great, bring out the costs of the bad things, and provide rewards for the good things. Unfortunately, since so much of the underlying theory in the report is wrong, as explained above, a lot can go wrong here as well. That is, since many of the bad costs come from penalizing farmers in the first place, then penalizing them further may not be the best solution! This recommendation refers to “food” systems, but these things cannot be fixed on a “food only” approach. That’s likely to make things worse. (See more on these points below.) See my proposal in #11.

[11.] “Recommendation 2: Shift public support towards diversified agroecological production systems.” Yes, but that involves paying conventional farmers more, not less, and the pay needs to be shifted away from the agribusiness input and output complexes. Farmers must be paid fairly, as greater demands are also made to pay for the hidden costs. In particular, incentives are needed to bring livestock out of CAFOs and back onto the land. Unfortunately, “What is already happening” includes green subsidies but not fair prices, so it means that CAFOs, junk food makers and export dumpers continue to have their full benefits from cheap prices, hurting all farmers, and continuing to destroy sustainable crop rotations and the infrastructure for diversity. So that’s all directly against my recommendation of shifting benefits away from these entities. In “What needs to change” this mistake is further fostered by also reducing subsidies to conventional farmers, thus setting the stage for a massive farm crisis and further concentration, loss of crop rotations, destruction of infrastructure, and spreading all of this globally, including global food poverty. Here in the United States these problems have been fostered for some time, leading to richer people owning the land, (since you can’t make money farming it, and using farm losses to write off their ever greater off-farm income (the massive increase in tax loss farming in recent years). So again, this section assumes that farmers have been beneficiaries, and it ignores the much bigger factor of agribusiness input and output complexes.

Issues of “access to land” and “young people” who “enter agriculture and adopt agroecological farming,” are huge, but can’t be adequately addressed if nothing is done about cheap prices and tax loss farming. It’s naive and abusive to bring in new young people, when so many of the young people with years of experience in diversified farming were not able to make it into their own family-owned operations. ( ) So it’s incredibly naive to misunderstand these historical realities.

PROPOSAL: Here’s the place to emphasize the restoration of the real farm bill, (market management: Price Floors & Ceilings plus supply management,) on a global basis, and in new, more sustainable ways, ( ) as a way to cover the full costs, including the hidden costs, while removing the massive incentives from the agribusiness input and output megamachines. We must fully shift the massive (nongovernmental, nonspending, nonsubsidy) benefits away from the real (but hidden to these experts,) beneficiaries, agribusiness, not agriculture. Farmers, including “industrial agriculture, are the ones who have been paying these benefits to agribusiness, and through them, to consumers, as cheap food. That’s what’s destroying the farm and food/nonfood system. That’s what’s been the biggest barrier to agroecology.

This is very different politically from competing over a zero-sum spending pie, as the benefits come from, (not to,) agribusiness, (and not from government taxes and spending). Market management can be used to pay farmers fairly and bring livestock back to the land, while ending subsidies. Mere subsidies reforms cannot do that, and tend to be much much smaller in impact, and tend to divide and conquer the sectors that need to be united for victory. The timing of implementation of changes of this magnitude, (a magnitude which we haven’t seen since the 1930s-40s, is very important. It takes time to adjust.

Of course, market management can’t at all be done on a “food only” basis.

[12.] “Recommendation 5: Strengthen movements that unify diverse constituencies around agroecology.” Everything I’ve written is relevant to this category. What I’ve argued is that we’ve generally approached this far too narrowly, and we’ve done the same thing in this specific report. By not knowing what the data really shows, (that we’ve penalized “industrial agriculture” far more than we’ve rewarded it, in that we’ve run most conventional farmers out of business). The report has thus defined most U.S. farmers as “industrial agriculture,” (while ignoring that the other, favored farmers also are very industrial,) and written them out of the movement. The particular concerns I’ve raised all were made possible, surely, from the exclusion of the knowledge base and paradigm U.S. farmers, who are represented by the Family “Farm Justice” Movement stakeholder group, (which supports paying them fairly, keeping them in business, and keeping livestock on their farms). In the U.S. this Movement alone has decades of experience in fighting agribusiness megamachines head to head. These days, these are the only stakeholders who can correct the kinds of misunderstandings that I’ve exposed here. It’s a group whose narrative has been honed over many decades, (and continues to need updating).

Globally, the US is the dominant agricultural exporter, the only country that has been able to manage global supply and set adequate global prices. Related specifically to that, these US farm justice advocates have had a “unique” ( ) contribution to make, beyond that which African farmers and European farmers, for example, could make, (though African [ ] and European [ ] leaders have also supported these kinds of changes, as has the global farmer organization La Via Campesina [ ]).

My recommendations here represent a very different paradigm, both politically and as movement strategy. It’s one which can radically expand the movement and the political support which it can generate, even as it shrinks the opposition. At root, that’s because it involves someone finally supporting farmers, and bringing farmers’ narratives of justice into the movement. That then will further greatly strenghten Recommendation 5. Short of making the U.S. Farm Justice sector visible, (i.e. to bring the kinds of macro concerns I’ve raised here into the debate,) Recommendation 5 looks like a bit like spin.

[13.] “ Recommendation 6: Mainstream agroecology and holistic food systems approaches into education and research agendas.” Again, as in #8 above, to adequately raise the price that agribusiness must pay, (for example, firmly connectd to higher requirments for farmers, to prevent hidden costs,) to thus bring livestock back to farms, with much greater economic viability for sustainable crop rotations, would work strongly against the massive amount of private sector research which has been based on massive “implicit” or free market subsidies taken directly from farmers and given to agribusiness exploiters. At the same time, fixing the major farm injustices also opens up large arenas for new private sector research supportive of diversity and sustainability. But yes, much help is needed, as in the recommendation.


Again, there are many many excellent things in the report, and I have hardly mentioned them at all. Unfortunately, these excellent things are significantly tainted by being set into a context that’s false over all, with regard to farm justice. The primary shortcomings come from not knowing the point of view of farmers themselves, especially the farmers who have been fighting against these trends over the generations, and especially in the United States over the past 60 years, with very little help from urban based NGOs or from academics. Farmers, farms, and US agriculture as a whole, including “industrial agriculture,” are the victims, not the beneficiaries of the major changes that have happened in agriculture, as a result of agribusiness domination. Until the false paradigm in which farmers are seen as winners and net beneficiaries is eradicated, little progress can be made on these issues, and the stage is set for well meaning “experts” to support further devastations of the overall farm and food-nonfood system.


I plan to add a slide show of data charts to supplement this report. When that’s done, I’ll edit this and add it as a direct link. (General link: Brad Wilson at SlideShare: )


Flawed Genius: Milestones of a Food Movement Since 2000


Joe Fassler of The New Food Economy has recently asked, on the COMFOOD list, “What are the most important food milestones since 2000?” As people were answering, I wrote this response.  This is a general interpretation of the Food Movement “since 2000,” looking at the good and the bad.

It’s a great question, one that’s somewhat open, judging from the variety of responses. Initially the answers didn’t quite get to the big picture, but over time it generated quite a bit of participation, and stronger answers. Obviously there are significant victories that are important to subgroups. Overall, however, the “Food Movement” is an awesome phenomenom. There have certainly been a number of food books and films, and food organizations, working on quite a wide variety of tasks.

The date, “since 2000, is important. While there have been certain kinds of “food” activists since the 1960s, and other kinds of food activities going far back into history, it’s really since 2000 that the “Food Movement” has emerged as a tour de force. While some have questioned it in comparison to standard social “movements,” whatever it is, it’s hugely important.

Anna Lappé checked in to mention the timeline at the Small Planet Institute. It has a larger time frame and is more important in some ways, in teaching some of the history behind what’s happened since 2000. In other ways, however, the focus on the time “since 2000” is more important. It’s since 2000 that this thing has really taken off.

I believe that my analysis HERE contains MORE POWERFUL POSITIVES than what I saw submitted online, or what the final product has been. On the other hand, I’ve probably largely failed to turn these positives into proper “milestones.”

On the other hand, the points I make in the “bad milestones” section, the NEGATIVES are also “more powerful,” and very possibly they’re even more powerful than the “miracles” I identify in my “positive milestones” section.

I have thought that Joe Fassler should take heed of Emilianne Slaydon’s innovation, “Good Milestones,” “Bad Milestones,” as Elizabeth Henderson did. I believe that there are few other lists of “milestones” where considering the “bad” side is as radically important as it is here, as I’ll illustrate below. The final product from Joe & The New Food Economy is now out, (here, ), and he did not include any problems in the Movement, only in the food and farm system.

I noticed that Joe Fassler didn’t use the word “Movement” in his question and the explanation of it. He’s talking about “food” “since 2000,” without mentioning a “Food Movement” “since 2000.” (There’s at least one blog, [but maybe only one,] at The New Food Economy that addresses Food Movement issues, about an article critical of the Movement.) Perhaps Joe has something very different in mind than Movement issues, but that’s what I discuss below.

My response has grown longer than I expected, surpassing 4,000 words. I’ll post this online and write a shorter piece for the list. Short of that, JUST SKIM THE WORDS IN CAPS TO GET THE GIST OF THIS. Basically I discuss “GOOD MILESTONES” and “BAD MILESTONES.”


[1.] I guess one answer to Joe’s literal question, (about “food” sans “movement,”) is the rise of the FOOD MOVEMENT itself. Certainly from a farm-side point of view, the rise of the huge Food Movement is an awesome event, really a miraculous “POPULIST MOMENT” in (Farm/Food) Movement history. Finally, we could win on the biggest (“FARM JUSTICE”) issues, “farm” and “food” together. (We “could,” under certain conditions, but see the “bad milestones,” below.) Farmers thought that winning was possible in past decades by their efforts alone, but they were wrong, (and the Food Movement today seems to have a similar naivete.) Without a significant urban-side Food Movement, farmers lost on the big justice issues, and in the end our farm-side Movement was divided (with the Sustainable Family Farm Movement splitting off from the Family Farm Justice Movement in the 1990s,) and then, in important ways, co-opted (SFFM) or conquered (FFJM). We were largely crushed. So the Food Movement could make all the difference in the world. Specifically the Food Movement “since 2000” very likely made winning on the big farm-side justice issues (Farm Justice) possible, for the first time since prior to 1953! (Again, see qualifications on this in part 2.)

[2.] Farmers are a very small segment of society, and “sustainable” and organic farmers are a very small segment of that. In short, the SUSTAINABLE FAMILY FARM MOVEMENT is tiny! On the other hand, this tiny sector has GROWN far BEYOND THE FARM, and has strongly INFORMED the new FOOD MOVEMENT. This is an awesome achievement and a model for anyone doing movement work of any kind. I believe that it was achieved on the basis of EXCEPTIONAL VALUES, formulated into a powerful post-mega-industrial NARRATIVE, followed by significant funding from foundations, and then sophisticated strategies.

[3.] For decades (Farm Justice Movement) farmers have warned about the various “CHEAP FOOD” (cheap farm price) problems, and called for urban food-side support. (See: the NFO Reporter from the 1960s & from 1985 this huge town meeting: That the Food Movement has made cheap food “CHEAP CORN,” and the related HIDDEN COSTS such a priority in it’s rhetoric is the core of the miracle introduced in [1.] above.

[4.] There is much that’s great in the cheap-food/SUBSIDY-REFORM PARADIGM, (in spite of my relentless criticizism of it’s radical flaws, described below). It’s a quite comprehensive paradigm that integrates a wide range of issues. It clearly goes a long way toward being a “successful social movement,” as defined by Movement theorist Bill Moyer in the Movement Action Plan, ( ) farther in results with the “public” than the millions of hard core farmer activists of the past, in relentless decades of massive work. The paradigm shows the interconnectedness of a variety of major problems, such as cheap junk food ingredients, cheap CAFO feeds, and export dumping. This has been taught to the Food Movement quite successfully, and has made it’s way, MASSIVELY, INTO MAINSTREAM MEDIA. Examples include Michael Pollan and the Environmental Working Group, showing up all across mainstream media. They and others, as keynotes and panel moderators. Naysayers are repeatedly suggesting to me that the urban public will never come to understant the interconnected results of “cheap food” etc. policy, but I repeatedly point out to them that it’s already been done by the Food Movement.

For Moyer, “PUBLIC AWARENESS OF THE PROBLEM” is the first of three general phases of winning. (see chart at top of moyermap link, just above) This awareness has clearly gone viral. The second phase, “PUBLIC OPPOSITION TO POWERHOLDER POLICIES,” is also tremendously important and a huge (if very partial) success. The major problematic policies are in the farm bill, in the Commodity Title, (and now in related aspects of the Crop Insurance Title as well). That’s made very clear in the subsidy-reform paradigm. (See more in section two, below.)

[5.] LOCAL FOOD and related aspects of building an ALTERNATIVE farm/FOOD SYSTEM, including URBAN AGRICULTURE, certainly represent awesome new developments, given the incredible scale and inner connectivity of this work in the 21st century. I’ve identified Farm Bill reform, (i.e. discussed above,) as a “Jubilee Strategy” of reforming the dominant system. In contrast, this local, alternative farm and food work is an “EXODUS STRATEGY” of WITHDRAWING from the dominant system. Social philosophers, (i.e. Lewis Mumford, The Pentagon of Power [1970], The Conduct of Life [1951], The Condition of Man, [1944]) see withdrawal as very significant. It’s sometimes, (perhaps frequently,) been missed that this too is very radical, in that it’s a strategy that can be implemented when you can’t win against the dominant narrative and system, and the far reaching progress on it has been incredible, with much more surely coming, (though it couldn’t become a full solution, as we produce far more than can be consumed locally or in the U.S.).

[6.] One way of summarizing or interpreting much of what we’ve seen “since 2000 is that there’s been a MASSIVE OUTPOURING OF CREATIVITY, a mobilization and inner connectivity of creative resources, “Food Movement” resources. I think this has been absolutely incredible, an outpouring of peak creativity, a “peak experience.” One word for it would surely be “ecstatic,” in the classic meaning of that term. Ecstasy is the product of creativity, and visa versa. The greater the one, the greater the other.

[7] Finally, I very tentatively offer a personal example, my own (“BRAD WILSON’S”) work on Food Movement issues. A significant amount of material is now available, though it certainly CAN’T BE CALLED A MILESTONE unless it’s utilized. I’ve had ups and downs, fits and starts, as La Vida Locavore went off line, and zspace changed all of my blog addresses, and eliminated a dozen of my slide shows. At some point I surpassed 100 BLOGS on Food Movement issues, (with links to the best online material,) and my ONLINE COMMENTS are in the thousands. I’ve provided information on a large number of online and offline resources. What’s significant about this is that it COULD FIX the very “bad milestones” discussed below, (it and it’s connection to the key resources produced by others). I’ve used online links of this kind thousands of times, for both specific purposes and general education. Some have used them, and benefited significantly. Rory Smith’s recent article at Truthout said, essentially, that Michael Polland and Mark Bittman are wrong, and that I’m correct, and he’s writing a follow up piece that will focus more exclusively on the issues I’ve raised. The mention of Pollan, Bittman and me was a section strongly influenced by my thesis, under the heading “Divided and Conquered.” ( (Cf. chapter one of Wenonah Hauter’s Foodopoly, for which, she says, I gave her the idea.) So I have at least convinced Rory Smith to listen to this and ask questions, and to then conclude that Pollan and Bittman (& Environmental Working Group, & etc. etc. etc.,) have no valid evidence behind their theories of farm subsidies and policy reforms, and then of many related issues, including especially their narratives about farm/food politics and it’s history. A key piece of context for this is that I definitely see it (the specific Food Movement issues that I work on,) as the biggest “food milestone since 2000,” albeit a “bad milestone.” It’s an enormous global economic issue affecting half the world, (the rural half,) in a variety of ways related to the most vital issues of food and farming, survival and culture, and yet it’s one largely centered here in the United States, (in the Farm Bill and related policies and programs).

There’s also a parallel FARM-SIDE to this, my work to try to get the Family Farm Movement to perceive the radical significance of the Food Movement “since 2000” as the only possible key to a successful Farm Justice strategy! It’s possible that some advancement is occurring there as well, but it’s too soon to tell. (More on that below.) The section on “BAD MILESTONES,” below, further supports this hypothesis that I might have been creating a “Food Milestone” of some kind “since 2000.” Or maybe not, (or not yet). In any case, this must happen or the Food Movement will radically fail on the big farm bill issues.

Conclusion of Good Milestones. In each of these ways, I, (a vigorous critic of certain aspects of the Food Movement,) would rebut most of the Food Movement’s (other) critics. I find generally that they’re too weak at understanding and affirming the incredible positives of that which they criticize. When something is as successful as the Food Movement has been, it tends to pick up a number of the flaws of mass society, and is then criticized for that. Prior to the criticism, however, is the success that has surpassed expectations.

Perhaps I’ve still left open the question of specific (positive) “milestones.” What specific milestones best illustrate the developments I’ve described? I think that’s what the people at The New Food Economy really want. My question in return, therefore, is what I said at the top, my hope for better answers that capture these incredible positives. While stronger examples have been coming forth at COMFOOD, as I write, the specific “milestones” of the final product didn’t seem to get at the mega-positives very well.


Tragically, I find an accompanying set of sometimes incredibly “bad milestones” to go along with the awesomely “good milestones” identified above, (thus my title, “Flawed Genius”).

[1.] The chance for achieving a true “POPULIST MOMENT,” TWICE in the 2008 and 2014 Farm bills WAS LOST, as the Food Movement didn’t understand the issues, (called for mere “subsidy reforms” that maintain the cheapest of cheap corn/food/cotton, etc.,) and it looks certain that it will be lost a THIRD time, again in 2018. (See more explanation of this, below.)

[2.] In terms of the model of “success” from Bill Moyer, (linked above,) the Food Movement issues of “cheap food,” “cheap corn,” and “subsidy reforms,” as presently understood, CAN NEVER BE WON in terms of “PUBLIC OPPOSITION TO POWERHOLDER POLICIES,” in that, the Food Movement is advocating on the WRONG SIDE of them. So while the key general Farm Bill location has been known, (i.e. in the Commodity Title!) the model of subsidy reforms, (what specifically to fix in the Commodity Title,) is a FALSE one. The policy problem is NOT the PRESENCE of SUBSIDIES, as is believed by #FoodLeaders, but rather is the ABSENCE of PRICE FLOOR policies and programs.

This then has led to the Food Movement offering a FALSE “MOVEMENT ALTERNATIVE” (again, see the Moyer/moyermap link, above,) for the Farm Bill. The need is for restoration of (nonspending, nonsubsidy,) market management, not re-direction of spending within the current bad farm bill paradigm (where market management isn’t even seen as an option). In calling for mere subsidy reforms, (i.e. no Price Floors,) for example in Anna Lappé, Dan Imphoff, Kari Hamerschlag’s sign-on (here: ), the a long list of Movement leaders (unknowingly) called for the cheapest of cheap junk food ingredients and CAFO feeds, plus maximum export dumping. This third (Moyer) phase of success can never be achieved until the proposals that support the agribusiness exploiters against farmers are replaced with the correct proposals, (such as the Food from Family Farms Act of the National Family Farm Coaltion, [ ] or the Market Driven Inventory System of the National Farmers Union [ ]). Unfortunately, these continue to be rarely cited when these issues are discussed, (in books, in academic reports, in films, in short videos, at web sites, and surely in food courses, judging from what I’ve seen). The ultimately false paradigm “subsidy reform,” (in spite of the positives in it, described above,) continues to dominate, thus fostering the downward spiral.

[3.] I see this core policy issue as basically NOT accurately KNOWING “WHAT” a FARM BILL IS, ( ), and therefore what needs changing. We’ve been “Divided and Conquered,” (scroll down to that heading here: ) by the SUBSIDY MYTH ( ), as the evidence clearly shows (cf. “four proofs:” ). Technically, then, in stark contrast to the Movement’s rhetoric, values and goals, it is (unknowingly) supporting the CHEAPEST OF CHEAP FOOD, the CHEAPEST CORN, etc. for industrial agribusiness.

[3b.] We see this in the strange MISUNDERSTANDINGs of CHEAP SUGAR POLICY, where #FoodLeaders seemed not to know what it was all about as it was being discussed, on twitter, for example, during the debate on the 2014 Farm Bill ( ) ( ). It’s as if anything farmers get is bad, unjust, so it must be opposed, even if it would raise the sugar prices that junk food makers pay. So, yea, cheap sugar, (or cheap corn,) is bad Farm Bill policy. But what about the Farm Bill paying sugar (or corn) farmers more! That too must be bad, right? WRONG. We’ve seen this in CSPI’s Food Day materials, in a report from US PIRG, and at The Chisel (about which I’m currently writing an extensive blog). They’ve supported cheap sugar, even though it so obviously goes against their values and intentions. Marion Nestle has also seemed ambivalent on this, which may be part of why “the farm bill” sort of seemed to drive her “insane.” The paradigm didn’t explain how to perceive this. It had no place in the mental map for figuring out why it’s good to pay corn and sugarbeet farmers more money, (though the full answer to this goes beyond the scope of this paper, but see my new blog on Agroecology, where I examine it in detail).

[4.] Out of this, the overall PARADIGM, while integrating some very important things, also LEFT OUT some other KEY INGREDIENTS, such as the relation of CHEAP PRICES to SUSTAINABILITY, and (prior to that,) the role of LIVESTOCK in sustainability and related issues. ( ) While connecting issues like cheap junk food ingredients, cheap CAFO feeds and export dumping, the paradigm didn’t see how cheap farm prices, (the absence of Price Floor programs,) has devastated sustainability by radically reducing key livestock feed crops on most farms, especially grass, alfalfa and clover (pastures and hay). The economic viability of these crops is a huge factor for achieving our most sustainable crop rotations. Lacking the economics of these livestock systems, the economics for sustainability is also lacking.

[5.] These misunderstandings then place the BLAME on farmer VICTIMS RATHER THAN on agribusiness EXPLOITERS, at least where it counts, in technicalities of major policy advocacy. That dynamics has surely then led to a number of other myths that are rooted in PREJUDICES AGAINST FARMERS in general, and against the farmer parts of the farm bill. FARM POLITICS and the farm lobby are not understood, for example. The political history of the issues, in places like Iowa, is radically misunderstood, as it’s said that we’ve been “supported” too much, rather than massively exploited by agribusiness.

The relationship between farmer issues and race/women’s/labor and other issues are usually misunderstood by the new urban side policy advocates for exactly these reasons (see my forthcoming blog on race/farm-bill issues). In misunderstanding subsidies, they all tend to misunderstand the big issues of economic injustice, for example in relation to the history of Movement advocacy by “white male” (and female) farmers, and by black farmers.

Now we even see that the Environmental Working Group is (unknowingly) imitating Earl Butz, in denying the possibility of a new “farm crisis,” ( ). (My responses to EWG’s claims, [a data slide show, a blog, and maybe a video,] is also forthcoming.) From a farmers point of view, and given the values of EWG, which we mostly share, this is an absurd and seemingly abusive phenomenon. For someone long working on questions of Food Movement narratives “since 2000,” however, it’s easily understandable and deserves a thoughtful response.

[5b.] Note: I’ve also argued that omissions of the farm-side is a flaw with the timeline of the Small Planet Institute, of Anna Lappé et al. I find the same with the Good Food Timeline at Michigan State University’s Center for Regional Food Systems.( ) It includes repeated mentions of wage issues (minimum wage, migrant farm laborers, food chain workers,) information about farmers markets as far back as 1970, the cheapness of food to consumers, and even events in the Civil Rights Movement and related minority issues, farm workers movement issues, the start of Community Supported Agriculture, Walmart supermarkets, farm to consumer and farm to school events, etc.. At the same time, there’s nothing on the big farm-side issues throughout this time, including the massive economic injustices (agribusiness benefits,) and the massive fight against them, (a series of major landmarks,) and nothing on the long history of major social injustices and social traumas against farmers generally, (And that would now include the social injustices from the Food Movement itself, as in EWG’s denial of the farm crisis, based surely upon a serious lack of contact with the Farm Justice (Family Farm) Movement. In these ways, these resources foster a mass of farm side illiteracy through the invisibility of our history, our politics, and our issues. (And are there any academic articles on the invisibility of farm-side injustices, [i.e. similar to ]).

[6.] Another bad milestone may be related to, Joe’s uses of the word “FOOD” (food economy, food systems, food culture, food milestones), WITHOUT any mention of “FARM.” This food centric approach is surely tied to the subsidy myth (above) of blaming the victims, and of not knowing that that’s what’s happening. When did the bias against farmers growing nonfood take hold? With the term “food,” you don’t need so much to include those grumpy “farm justice” farmers on the team. On this, see my new post at Lexicon of Food, (“Food” ), as well as my older posts on the topic, ( ) ( ) including this one in relation to the “National Food Policy” ( ).

[6b.] Strangely, while one submission to Joe Fassler refers to “know your farmer,” and that is a well known and important theme, it’s exactly the NOT KNOWING your (FARM JUSTICE) FARMERS, (the Movement that has done the major farm bill work on issues like cheap food, antitrust, agribusiness welfare from farmers, and the loss of farmers,) that has been at the core of these “bad milestones,” as “chicken” and as “egg.” These two sides, surely, are closely related. In believing that the Movement is great at “knowing farmers,” the Food Movement seems to think it’s not necessary to listen to critics like me, who have decades of experience on the biggest farm policy issues, deep knowledge of this missing farm-side history, and general knowledge and experience of general things “farm” (and the meaning of “farm” in the lexicon: ).

[7.] There are, then, serious escalating anomalies in the “food” paradigm, (Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions,) even as so many #FoodLeaders are experiencing the ecstasy of PEAK CREATIVITY. Careers are being radically advanced out of all of this (positive milestones!). These are HEADY TIMES, opening up vast opportunities for a significant number of key leaders, who give repeated presentations at conferences, star in films, play prominent roles in books, or write them, etc. Imagine being a Michael Pollan, who surely had nothing on this magnitude prior to the Food Movement. Suddenly he’s featured everywhere, even on Oprah, and given thousands of words in the New York Times, repeatedly. One project is scarcely finished when many other fascinating new and different opportunities open up. HOW DOES ONE LOOK BACKWARD AT WHAT WAS RADICALLY WRONG with Food Inc., or King Corn, A Place at the Table, or a long list of food books, when you’re so needed just up ahead, in a fascinating new innovative challenge, where the money is waiting for you. Why listen to the isolated critics when the affirmations are so positive, so huge and so ongoing? And so lucrative! Sure, if you had time, . . . but looking ahead, there’s so much just there, within easy reach, further advancements . . . .

[8.] This can be understood as a FAILURE OF “developmental RADICALISM,” as defined by Charles Hampden-Turner (in Radical Man: The Process of Psycho-Social Developoment, 1971, cf. his doctoral dissertation at Harvard, Towards a Humanistic Psychology). Developmental radicals are able to “perceive” the painful anomalies. Though they strongly “invest” their “identities” and competence,” “authentically” and “intensely,” and achieve “self confirmation,” and “self transcendence,” they’re first able to “suspend” their prior paradigms and “risk” being wrong. They “bridge the distance” to those who are different, who’s views are often left out, (such as grumpy farmers who have way more experience with the issues and the opponents). They engage, if necessary, in a “stormy dialectic” in order to achieve “synergy,” and this is all then incorporated into their more complex “mental maps,” for improved performance around the cycle next time, (with improved “perception” of the painful anomalies, etc.) Perhaps there’s a milestone that symbolizes the failure of the Food Movement to be developmentally radical in it’s relationship with the Farm Justice (Family Farm) Movement of history. Perhaps it’s the blocking of grumpy farmers by Civil Eats, (as Civil Eats has continued to unknowingly put out a string of articles fostering cheap corn, cheap food).

[9.] Perhaps, following the lead of Andrew Kang Bartlett (to Joe Fassler), I should have mentioned the work on FOOD SOVEREIGNTY and the “FOOD PRICE CRISIS” as a “Good Milestone.” Certainly the presence of the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance is significant. It has a closer relationship with Farm Justice farmers, and a better understanding of the Farm Bill. All too often, however, it hasn’t really understood or advocated for a return to a “Food Sovereignty” Farm Bill (like we had, 1942-1952, and as supporte by La Via Campesina [ ]).

[10.] It’s surely too early to know if my own [BRAD WILSON] contribution really means anything for the Movement, as it seems that I haven’t yet stimulated much of any other writing or citing, or even discussing, nor have I really been invited to speak. There seems to be a continuing TEMPTATION in the Food Movement TO GIVE UP ON the big “Jubilee Strategy” or “Farm Justice” issues of THE FARM BILL, though leaders like Pollan, Anna Lappé and others keep supporting farm bill work, (though in the misguided ways described above).

[11.] LACK OF major FARM SIDE INTEREST is another bad milestone for the Food Movement. It hasn’t even convinced the National Family Farm Coalition, (representing the major groups opposing “cheap food” for the past 60 years, [and correctly,]) to undertake much of any stategy focusing on the resources of the new Food Movement. Or National Farmers Union, or National Farmers Organization, etc.