Documenting USDA Discrimination: Community-Partnered Research on Farm Policy for Land Justice
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.
Carpenter, Stephen. 2012. The USDA discrimination cases: Pigford, in re Black Farmers, Keepseagle, Garcia, and Love. Drake Journal of Agricultural Law 17, 1-34.
Civil Rights at the United States Department of Agriculture: A Report by the Civil Rights Action
Team. February 1997. Washington D.C.
Cowan, Tadlock and Joey Feder. 2010. The Pigford cases: USDA settlement of discrimination suits by black farmers. Congressional Research Service.
Derickson, Kate Driscoll, and Paul Routledge. 2015. Resourcing scholar-activism: collaboration,
transformation, and the production of knowledge. The Professional Geographer 67(1), 1–7. doi:10.1080/00330124.2014.883958.
Desmarais, A. 2012. La Via Campesina. Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia.
Escobar, Arturo. 2008. Territories of Difference: Place, Movements, Life, Redes. Durham, NC:
Duke University Press.
Farmers, Fairness, and the Farm Bill. 2018. Farm Bill 2018: Policy, Politics, and Potential. http://www.farmbillfairness.org/
Federation of Southern Cooperatives Land Assistance Fund. 2018. History/Mission. http://www.federationsoutherncoop.com/files%20home%20page/fschistory/mission.htm
Gilbert, Jess, Gwen Sharp, and M. Sindy Felin. 2002. The loss and persistence of black-owned farms and farmland: a review of the research literature and its implications. Southern Rural Sociology 18(2), 1-30.
Graddy, T. Garrett. 2013. Regarding biocultural heritage: in situ political ecology of agricultural
biodiversity in the Peruvian Andes. Agriculture & Human Values 30(4), 587-604.
Graddy-Lovelace, Garrett. 2016. The coloniality of US agricultural policy: articulating agrarian
(in)justice. Journal of Peasant Studies 43(3), 1-22.
Harney, Liam, Jenny McCurry, James Scott, and Jane Willis. 2016. Developing ‘process
pragmatism’ to underpin engaged research in human geography. Progress in Human Geography 40(3), 316-333.
Janes, Julia E. 2016. Democratic encounters? Epistemic privilege, power, and community-based participatory action research. Action Research 14(1), 72–87.
Kilgannon, Corey. 2018. When the Death of a Family Farm Leads to Suicide. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/19/nyregion/farmer-suicides-mark-tough-times-for-new-york-dairy-industry.html
Martinez-Alier Joan, Isabelle Anguelovski, Patrick Bond, Daniela Del Bene, Federico Demaria, Julien-Francois Gerber, Lucie Greyl, Willi Haas, Hali Healy, Victoria Marín-Burgos, Godwin Ojo, Marcelo Firpo Porto, Leida Rijnhout, Beatriz Rodríguez-Labajos, Joachim Spangenberg, Leah Temper, Rikard Warlenius and Ivonne Yánez. 2014. Between activism and science: grassroots concepts for sustainability coined by Environmental Justice Organizations. Journal of Political Ecology 21, 19-60.
McCutcheon, Priscilla. Food, Faith and Everyday Struggle for Black Urban Community. Social & Cultural Geography 16 (4), 385-406
McKeon, Nora. 2015. “The Peasant’s Way…Journal of World Systems Research.
Merem, Edmund. 2006. The loss of agricultural land among black farmers. Western Journal of Black Studies 30(2), 89-102.
Mountz, Alice, Eli B. Moore, Lori Brown. 2008. Participatory Action Research as Pedagogy: Boundaries in Syracuse. ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies 7 (2), 214- 238.
Openjuru, George Ladaah, Namrata Jaitli, Rajesh Tandon, and Budd Hall. 2015. Despite knowledge democracy and community-based participatory action research: voices from the global South and excluded north still missing. Action Research 13(3), 219–29.
Reynolds, Kristin and Nevin Cohen. 2016. Beyond the Kale: Urban Agriculture and Social
Justice Activism in New York City. University of Georgia Press: Athens.
The Autonomous Geographies Collective. 2010. Beyond Scholar Activism: Making Strategic Interventions Inside and Outside the Neoliberal University. ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies 9 (2), 245-275.
United States Department of Agriculture. National Agricultural Statistics Service. 2012 Census of Agriculture. Highlights- Black Farmers. https://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2012/Online_Resources/Highlights/Black_Farmers/Highlights_Black_Farmers.pdf
United States Department of Agriculture. National Agricultural Statistics Service. 2012 Census of Agriculture. Race/Ethnicity/Gender Profile. https://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2012/Online_Resources/Race,_Ethnicity_and_Gender_Profiles/cpd99000.pdf
United States Department of Agriculture. National Agricultural Statistics Service. 1997 Census of Agriculture. Table 17, Selected Characteristics of Farms by Specified Racial Groups, Sex of Operators, and Persons of Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino Origin: 1997 and 1992. http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/AgCensusImages/1997/01/51/1604/Table-17.pdf
White, Monica. 2017. Freedom Farmers: Agricultural Resistance and the Black Freedom Movement, 1880-2010. Food First.
White, Monica. 2017. Preface for Black Agrarianism. In Justine M. Williams & Eric Holt-Giménez. Land Justice Re-Imagining Land, Food, and the Commons in the United States. Oakland: Food First.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Authors agree to publish their articles in ACME under the Creative Commons "Attribution/Non-Commercial/No Derivative Works" Canada licence. To read and review agreement, click here.