Power, Food and Agriculture: Implications for Farmers, Consumers and Communities

55 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2017  

Mary Hendrickson

University of Missouri at Columbia - Division of Applied Social Sciences

Philip H. Howard

Michigan State University

Douglas Constance

Sam Houston State University

Date Written: November 1, 2017

Abstract

One of the most pressing concerns about the industrialization of agriculture and food is the consolidation and concentration of markets for agricultural inputs, agricultural commodities food processing and groceries. In essence a small minority of actors globally exercise great control over food system decisions. This means that because of increased consolidation of these markets globally – from the United States to China to Brazil, from South Africa to the United Kingdom – the vast majority of farmers, consumers and communities are left out of key decisions about how we farm and what we eat. Transnational agrifood firms are motivated by profits and power in the marketplace, leaving other social, economic and ecological goals behind. This creates an agroecological crisis in the face of climate uncertainty but one that is rooted in social and economic organization. In this chapter we detail the current economic organization of agriculture, and briefly describe its negative impacts on farmers, communities and ecology. We conclude by articulating stories of farmer-led resistance that imagine a new food system.

Keywords: sociology of food and agriculture; agribusiness; concentration

Suggested Citation

Hendrickson, Mary and Howard, Philip H. and Constance, Douglas, Power, Food and Agriculture: Implications for Farmers, Consumers and Communities (November 1, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3066005 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3066005

Mary Hendrickson (Contact Author)

University of Missouri at Columbia - Division of Applied Social Sciences ( email )

200b Gentry Hall
Columbia, MO 65211
United States
573-882-7463 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://maryhendrickson.wordpress.com

Philip H. Howard

Michigan State University ( email )

316 Natural Resources
East Lansing, MI 48824
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.msu.edu/~howardp

Douglas Constance

Sam Houston State University ( email )

1803 Ave I
Huntsville, TX 77341
United States

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