Agrarian Reform and the Radicalization of Food Politics


1.  For figures on farmworkers, see here.

2. Tom Philpott, “The People Who Pick Your Strawberries Have Had It with Rat-infested Camps,” Mother Jones, March 25, 2015.

3. For more on the persistence of slavery in U.S. agriculture and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ ongoing campaign to contest it, see here.

4.  Figures from USDA-ERS.

5.  Brian Palmer, “The C-Free Diet: If We Didn’t Have California, What Would We Eat?”

6.  Fernandez-Cornejo, et al, “Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008,” USDA-ERS 2014.

7.  U.S. Government Accountability Office, “Market Oversight Has Increased, but Concerns Remain About Potential Manipulation,” (Report to Congress, 2007).

8.  Bob St. Peter and Raj Patel, “This Land Is Our Land?” Civil Eats, October 18, 2013.

9.  Full text of the speech.

10. For more on the past and present of agrarian reform, especially in Latin America, see P. Rosset, R. Patel, and M. Courville, Promised Land: Competing Visions of Agrarian Reform (Food First Books, 2006).

11.  For more on twentieth-century agrarian reform initiatives in Latin America, see W.C. Thiesenhausen, Broken Promises: Agrarian Reform and the Latin American Campesino (Boulder CO: Westview Press, 1995).

12.  For data on settlements, land redistributed, etc., see here.

13.  That only 67 sites—a fraction of a percent—existed before the MST’s official emergence in 1984 shows how the movement’s efforts are the primary catalyst for land redistribution. See Sérgio Pereira Leite, Impactos dos assentamentos: Um estudo sobre o meio rural brasileiro (São Paulo State University, 2004).

14.  Large proprietors in Brazil historically acquired land through a process that became known as grilhagem. Grilhagem, derived from the word for cricket, grilho, took place when forged titles were placed in desk drawers with crickets that would nibble at the edges of documents, giving the semblance of deterioration that presumably would come with age. When asked to prove their claim, large landowners and speculators would brandish these titles.

15. Text translated from here.

16.  Bruce Reynolds, Black Farmers in America, 1865-2000: The Pursuit of Independent Farming and the Role of Cooperatives (USDA, 2000).