New Report Offers Comprehensive Analysis of the US Farm Bill with Emphasis on Corporate Power and Racialized Outcomes of the US Food System
In a new report examining the $956 billion US Farm Bill—the cornerstone of food and agricultural legislation since its inception in 1933—researchers from the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society find that corporate control and structural racialization within the US food system leave marginalized communities disproportionately impacted by the policies and outcomes generated by the Farm Bill.
The report entitled The US Farm Bill: Corporate Power and Structural Racialization in the US Food System, was written by Elsadig Elsheikh, the director at the Haas Institute's Global Justice Program, and Hossein Ayazi, the program's graduate research assistant. The authors note that the report aims to fill a void in food and agriculture policy research by providing a comprehensive and multidimensional analysis of the US Farm Bill, and hope the analysis will help support Farm Bill negotiation policy campaigns. With an analysis targeted to advocates, practitioners, and researchers from across social justice movements, the publication also hopes to identify points of convergence for building a broad-based movement for food sovereignty.
“It’s not surprising that peoples’ eyes glaze over on hearing the words “Farm Bill,” said Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System. "Part of the Farm Bill’s power lies in its capacity to render obscure the politics and choices made in the food system that affect the lives of everyone in the United States, and the world beyond. The Haas Institute's report shows how that power operates around race and class in the US, and is a vital bridge between the worlds of food and racial justice.”
From an early age, Jovan Scott Lewis had his feet firmly planted in two very different worlds: Montego Bay, Jamaica and Lauderhill, Florida, the latter of which is well-known for its high population of Jamaicans. Today, Lewis lives far from both these formative places, having recently joined the UC Berkeley faculty as an assistant professor in the Departments of African American studies and Geography.
He is also the newest member of the Haas Institute’s Economic Disparities research cluster, where he hopes to bring the insights of his field, economic anthropology, into spaces where the discipline has traditionally felt uncomfortable engaging, like public policy. Economic anthropology posits that the economy is a product of social relations and frameworks, not simply market transactions. “In practice there are multiple economies, or at least perspectives on the economy where the experiences of inequality, poverty, and race bear upon how those economies are lived,” Lewis said.
As with many Haas Institute-affiliated scholars, much of Lewis’s research explores the intersections of race and inequality. Lewis argues that poverty is the product of failure “in or of the economy,” and says that for many poor people, that failure is due to a structural and systemic lack of access to the means of economic productivity.
Thursday, Nov 5, 12:00 pm
Presentation with Indrani Baruah who will speak on her recent work on a community-based project in Eastern India that incorporates concepts from architecture, sustainable design, visual arts, vernacular crafts, and cultural studies. 460 Stephens Hall. Feel free to bring your lunch. Free and open to the public. Wheelchair accessible.
Wednesday, Nov 4, Noon
American Indian Heritage Month Luncheon
230B Stephens Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
$10 per ticket