Dismantling Racism in the Food System

Elsadig Elsheikh

According to a new paper by Food First, in 2012 over 97 percent of federal farm payments went to white farmers, most of which came through crop insurance or commodity support payments designed to bolster corporate agriculture. The author discusses how the growing influence of agribusiness in U.S. Farm Bill policy exacerbates racial, gender, and economic discrimination and furthers land dispossession for black farmers. He recommends refocusing the Farm Bill on programs that benefit women, people of color, and immigrant food system workers, not only as a means to create a more democratic food system, but also to build a more equitable society:

Inequity within the food system, such as limited access to nutritious and affordable food, income disparities for food and farm workers, or racial/ethnic disparities in accessing land cannot be addressed without addressing inequality within society as a whole, including low income and limited employment benefits, unfair treatment of people of color by state and federal institutions, and limited access to positions of power. Therefore, a major concern is the nexus of marginality and "othering" perpetuated by corporate power and structural racialization within the US food system and society as a whole... Read full report.

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