Documenting USDA Discrimination: Community-Partnered Research on Farm Policy for Land Justice


  • Amber Ashley Orozco American University
  • Alexandria Ward American University
  • Garrett Graddy-Lovelace American University



agricultural policy, social equity, food systems, participatory action research, community based research


Agriculture in the U.S.--in practice, policy, and scholarship--must reckon with ongoing legacies of structural racism, classism, and patriarchy. Organizations, such as Rural Coalition (RC) and National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC), are at the frontlines, calling for more accountable, equitable agri-food policies. Universities and scholars play a vital role in the engagement of community-based to support these organizations’ efforts. As a case study, this paper draws upon a master’s degree practicum and multi-year collaboration between [university omitted] faculty, students, RC, and NFFC. Students of this practicum engaged in community-based research to support these organization’s understanding of current racial discrimination faced by Black rural farmers, fifteen years after the Pigford civil rights lawsuit cases filed against the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Our research explores struggles for racial and land justice in the South. In addition, our paper seeks to provide reflections on the successes, challenges, and impact of community-partnered research for community organizations and students.


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How to Cite

Orozco, A. A., Ward, A., & Graddy-Lovelace, G. (2018). Documenting USDA Discrimination: Community-Partnered Research on Farm Policy for Land Justice. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 17(4), 999–1023.



Themed Section - Food Justice Scholar-Activism and Activist-Scholarship (Guest Eds Reynolds, Block, & Bradley)