< From the Editors
Dollars & Sense magazine explains the workings of the U.S. and international economies and provides left perspectives on current economic affairs. It is edited and produced by a collective of economists, journalists, and activists who are committed to social justice and economic democracy.
the d&s collectiveBetsy Aron, Nancy Banks, Nina Eichacker, Peter Kolozi, Lyden Marcellot, John Miller,
Jawied Nawabi, Kevin OConnell, Linda Pinkow, Alejandro Reuss,
Dan Schneider, Zoe Sherman, Bryan Snyder, Chris Sturr, Jeanne Winner
editorial committee for this issueKevin OConnell, Jennifer Fahey (Farm Aid), Alejandro Reuss, Chris Sturr, Jeanne Winner
staffmagazine editors Alejandro Reuss, Chris Sturr
business manager Nancy Banksdevelopment director Linda Pinkow
intern Christopher J. Cooper
work study Autumn Beaudoin
the d&s boardJim Campen, Gerald Friedman, John Miller,
Linda Pinkow, Steven Pressman, Alejandro Reuss, Abby Scher, Chris Sturr
associatesAziza Agia, Randy Albelda, Teresa Amott,
Sam Baker, Marc Baldwin, Rose Batt, Rebecca Bauen, Phineas Baxandall,
Marc Breslow, Chuck Collins, James Cypher, Laurie Dougherty, Laura Dresser, Janice Fine,
Ellen Frank, Tami J. Friedman, Sue Helper, Thea Lee, David Levy, Arthur MacEwan, Mieke
Meurs, Marc Miller, Ellen Mutari, Amy Offner, Laura Orlando, Robert Pollin,
Smriti Rao, Adria Scharf, Susan Schacht, Chris Tilly, Ramaa Vasudevan,
designlayout David Gerratt, Alejandro Reuss, and
Chris Sturrfront cover Chris Sturr
front cover photo Tascosa Feedyard, Texas, 2013. Miska Henner (miskhahenner.com/Feedlots).
printing Boyertown Publishing
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In his comment for this special issue, a collaboration between Dollars & Sense and Farm Aid, Willie Nelson argues that we need a new and broader definition of wealthfrom what can be extracted from producers and nature to what sustains producers, their fami-lies, their communities, and the natural world. As caretakers of our soil and water, he writes, this has been and always should be the essential role of the family farmer.
The economic future of family farmers in the United States is at the core of Farm Aids work. But this fundamental oppositionbetween extraction and sustenance, between depletion and renewalspans a much broader spectrum of issues, in the United States and around the globe.
Lukas Ross and Timothy A. Wise tell two parallel stories of land grabs today. Wise de-scribes an abortive land grabfinanced by Brazilian and Japanese investorsin Mozambique. As he points out, the land grab failed not because the land was not suit-able for agriculture, but because it wasand the people that were already farming it mobilized to fight off the land grabbers. Ross, meanwhile, focuses on the United States, and big financial institutions acquiring large swaths of land.
Sasha Breger Bush turns our attention to the unequal relationship between farmers and the companies that dominate the food industry. Again, we have a dual focus on the United States and developing countries. Breger Bush describes how, in the United States, poultry farmers find themselves under the thumb of giant integrators like Perdue, Tyson, and Pilgrims Pride. In developing countries where coffee is widely grown, farmers face a similar relationship with coffee processors. In both cases, there is a fundamental relationship of unequal exchange.
Writer and photographer David Bacon provides a vivid picturein words and imagesof the conditions and struggles of migrant farm workers in the United States today. Bacon gives an overview of this migrant work forcemost of them indigenous people from Mexico, shuttling between the farms of California and Washington Stateas a prelude to the poignant first-hand testimony of migrant farmworker and organizer Rosario Ventura. Bacons powerful black-and-white photos provide an apt accompaniment.
University of Maine researchers Stephanie Welcomer, Mark Haggerty, and John Jemison take us inside Maine farming, and farmers varied reactions to the climate change. Almost all farmers, they note, are making adaptations to deal with new and in-creasingly volatile weather conditions. Few, however, speak directly about global climate change, much less the need for climate policy to avert more severe change in the future. Welcomer, Haggerty, and Jemison suggest that, sooner rather than later, farmers must confront this reality more directly.
This is an unflinching look at the difficult realities confronting farmers and farm work-ers today. However, the picture is far from hopeless.
Wise points to Mozambique farmers successful fight-back against the land grabbers. Bacon and Ventura describe migrant farm workers organizing. Mark Paul and Emily Stephens describe the growing phenomenon of community supported agriculture, re-establishing a direct relationship between farmers and eaters. Elizabeth Fraser and Anuradha Mittal explain how the world seed market is dominated by a handful of corpo-rations, but also how national governments are pushing back and the global movement against the seed giants is growing. Finally, John Ikerd explains how todays practices of industrial agriculture have failed. Ikerd ends on a hopeful notehow a new kind of agriculture is emerging to meet the ecological, social, and economic challenges we face today. Photographer Mishka Henners beautiful yet disturbing satellite images of indus-trial feedlots, accompanying this article and on the issues cover, capture a contaminated landscape barely recognizable as agriculture.
To be sure, the necessary transformations will not be easy. When we think about agricul-tureas when we think about any aspect of societywe need to understand that power is real, and that the few are, indeed, very powerful. But the many are not powerless. D&S
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