Sociology for positive, social change

The following was published online at NC State University’s student newspaper, Technician 


Why sociology? Why study society? Why examine the processes that underlie how a school becomes a segregated school or a law a racist law? I discuss these questions with a specific population in mind, undergraduates. What does an undergraduate bring to the “world” post-university? And here, I do not mean “bring” in the capitalist sense, some capacity to create profits. This is not necessarily a useful nor wholly positive restriction on thinking through “why sociology.”

Rather, sociology is a public good. The public benefits when we understand how you end up with Flint, Michigan drinking water contaminated with lead. So, we do sociology because we know that studying society reveals certain important truths to make a better society.

Sociology then provides undergraduates with the tools to make a better society, to address issues that affect the common good. It also acts as a form of intellectual self-defense by providing the theoretical and empirical knowledge to assess claims made by public relations firms, politicians, and corporate spokespeople.

Yet, we run up against a socially constructed conundrum here. Already we are aesthetically flirting with liberal arts idealism. It’s as if we’ve decided to know society without touching society, without being society. The student who majors in sociology should know that by “making a better society” they will apply the knowledge they build with the help of critical race studies, environmental justice, political economy, and queer theory, amongst much more. It is to actualize Marx’s eleventh thesis, “interpret, and change it.”

What if you know that a social system’s standard operation is racist? The system puts a pile of trash next to a working class, black community as if it was a planning guideline. Or, that the structural violence of poverty manifests in the poor living up to 10 to 14 years less on average than someone who is wealthy. As a future government official, concerned citizen, or militant activist, you could purposefully affect the process to eliminate such a grotesque violation of human rights.

Therefore, sociology seminars have a responsibility that such pertinent, critical knowledge is employed by those who make decisions; life or death decisions. As a discipline, we are a detective on the prowl of the most depraved crimes. We have a duty to act to abolish such grotesque disparities. At least, if we are ethical and understand these inequalities as wrong and equality a virtue.

In that sense, sociology is the search for absolute freedom, to root out any collective punishment to provide the maximal space for individual creativity. The Kantian practical anthropology writ large to pass on and reinforce thinking that challenges “common sense,” and stares upon the bare immoral soul of society to declare, “we can be better than what we are.”

We cannot do with repeating the mistakes of the past, not with a future so fraught with peril as ours; climate change, mass migration, and war, to name a few. To do so is to put life at risk and jeopardize the moral worth of civilization. As such, sociology has a lot of responsibility. Whoever studies it should gaze upon the obligation they undertake and understand its ability to aid in revolutionizing social relations in beneficial ways. “Why sociology?” Because there’s a world to win.

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Capital’s Hunger in Abundance

From Jacobin:

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that global food production is more than adequate to feed the world. For instance, 2,577 million tons of cereal were forecasted to be produced in 2016, with 13 million tons leftover after demand is met.

Worldwide we already produce over two thousand kilocalories (kcal) per person on average, the minimum level of energy humans require according to USDA dietary guidelines. Still, with all this production, 780 million people are living with chronic hunger, many of them living in rural areas dependent upon agriculture for their livelihoods.

The United Nations states that this horrific paradox is in part the result of “food wastage.” Estimates are that around one-third of food is lost or wasted, and food waste researchers consider this an underestimate of the problem. Hypothetically, if that waste were eliminated, that would add another eighty-five million tons of cereal.

The problem is pervasive. As Lisa Johnson, a horticulturalist at North Carolina State University focusing on food waste, points out, “[food waste] happens the entire way [along the supply chain] . . . as soon as the food is generated,” there is waste. At restaurants, in the fields, with distributors, at grocery stores, and at home, waste is massive. The FAO argues that “even if just one-fourth of the food currently lost or wasted globally could be saved, it would be enough to feed 870 million hungry people in the world.”

The FAO doesn’t offer a social explanation for why food waste occurs. Instead, it looks for technological fixes and market-based solutions. At bottom, that means seeking out how to best measure the problem of waste, finding better harvesting techniques, increase incentives and reduce risk to grow fruits and vegetables, more advanced packaging and better transport to prevent spoiling, and a public education campaign that gets consumers to understand that even if a tomato doesn’t look aesthetically pleasing, it can still be edible.

These solutions leave intact the profit motive undergirding our food system and the obviously oligopolistic concentration of power over commodity chains, making everyone dependent on unelected corporations for their sustenance. It addresses food waste from the standpoint of economic efficiency, but never the standpoint of equality.

Technology can resolve a lot of issues faced by agriculture, but it doesn’t address why producers would decide to leave food in the field rather than bring it to market, or why distributors would rather throw out food than deliver it to those in need. Both are absurd acts if your goal is to feed people. But that is not the goal of capitalist food production. Capitalist production is animated by an insatiable drive to profit and accumulate.

The UN and the FAO ignore the fact that our food system maintains a structural contradiction. Capitalist incentives lead to overproduction of food that is never delivered, and no one is under any obligation to utilize such a surplus and abundance for eradicating hunger. Once we understand this contradiction, we can see the capitalist food system as one of an absurd abundance.

Food, a Ridiculous Commodity

Let’s begin, as Marx did, with a commodity. A commodity is produced for its exchange value — its price. A capitalist uses money to make a commodity to sell to get more money. From this simple chain, numerous economic reasons arise for farmers to not harvest everything grown.

Food that isn’t commodified has no value for a capitalist, despite its biological value to a hungry person. The specific use value of food for that person is of no consequence. The farmer who has no use for such food, of course, is not being malicious — just responding to competitive market pressures.

Johnson, the horticulturalist, reports that as price fluctuates over the course of the growing season, farmers pick less crops. At the beginning of the season, the price for fruits and vegetables is higher than at the end. So as the season progresses, more and more produce is left in the field. Farmers recognize the effect of price — they are economic optimizers in a capitalist market. They leave more and more produce out of the supply chain in an effort to inflate the food’s price. Farmers are controlling supply to affect the price, regardless of the demand.

In his book Concentration and Power in the Food System: Who Controls What We Eat?, Philip H. Howard explains it succinctly: “Demand for agricultural products is inelastic, and producing more has the effect of reducing prices.”

Further, because it has such a low exchange value at the point of production, farmers will leave unmarketable food in the field. Lisa describes how “in the buying and selling of fruits and vegetables, often it’s cosmetics that is important; size, shape, the color, all that.” The consumer plays a role in what is a commodified piece of fruit and what gets tossed in the trash, which then leads distributors to standardize the fruits and vegetables they buy, incentivizing the farmer further to leave certain products in the field.

Farmers aren’t going to want to send a truck of vegetables, a transportation cost, to a distributor that will return them if they aren’t up to their aesthetic standards. It isn’t about whether a tomato or a sweet potato is edible, but whether it can be sold at a price that makes a profit.

Beyond the producers and consumers is a further layer of government policy that increases perverse incentives in the food system. All food researchers I have spoken with elaborated on how current market incentives lead to increased production of “junk” food inputs, like corn for high fructose corn syrup, at the expense of more nutritious crops.

Of all crops grown, only 2 percent are fruits and vegetables. Johnson describes a startling reality: “If we all went and bought fruits and vegetables today, there wouldn’t be enough for everybody.”

This is due in part because crop insurance and other subsidies are nonexistent for growers of fruits and vegetables. As Marion Nestle points out in Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health, “from a nutritional standpoint, higher sugar prices might be a disincentive to consuming soft drinks, desserts, and candy, but from a financial standpoint, the policy is highly desirable.” In the 1990s, just one sugarcane operation representing one-third of Florida’s sugarcane production was receiving $60 million in subsidies, while a comparable fruits and vegetables operation would get almost nothing, a trend that continues through the present.

Alex V. Barnard, a sociologist and author of Freegans: Diving into the Wealth of Food Waste in America, elaborated a further example: Dunkin’ Donuts overproducing donuts knowing many will be thrown away. For the company, this is actually highly efficient, because the concern is to not miss a sale rather than conserving supplies.

The absurdity really becomes apparent when we understand, as Barnard described, that “we produce 3,700 calories of food per person per day in this country and we can’t eat all of that.” And while we produce that much, much of it is junk food that is unhealthy, with “USDA stats showing around 50 percent of the food we are throwing out in this country being either added fats or added sugars.” Overproduction is the norm of the system, because capitalists would rather eat some added cost by producing too much than miss a sale.

So, all in all, we aren’t feeding the hungry, we aren’t growing nutritious food, but we are increasing the value added, thus making food a good commodity. Barnard correctly surmises that “there is just a contradiction between a growth-based model and a product that you can only consume in a finite time.”

Thus, the argument that capitalist markets are efficient only works if by “efficient” we mean one thing: making profit in highly oligarchic markets.

And so food is treated as a commodity, and the moment it no longer has exchange value becomes waste. At that moment, as it loses all exchange value, it becomes what Barnard calls an ex-commodity.

An Ex-Commodity

Barnard clarifies when the capitalist food system considers food a commodity or not; all food that isn’t sold is waste. Not because it is inedible, but because it wasn’t exchanged in a market. He says this makes edible food in a dumpster an ex-commodity.

A commodity is just a matter of social relationships. Food can be for exchange or for use. This means, of course, food can be something other than a commodity; it can have a goal other than producing profit. If our goal was to feed people as opposed to profit, what would that entail? At bottom, it would mean changing food from a commodity into a right.

Certain movements have arisen to deal with food waste and to work towards the ideal of food as a right. Some of these, like gleaning, address the matter through what Jacob Rutz, an agroecologist at North Carolina State University focusing on food security, explains as individual self-fulfillment. While recouping food as ex-commodities, the act is focused on voluntary events with no criticism or discussion of why food is left in the field. Further, it makes invisible all of the labor that passed through the fields, turning their backbreaking work into a charitable activity.

For Rutz, gleaning misinterprets the personal as political, which he argues is really that “all actions have these political repercussions” outside of the individual “in the social structure.” To clarify his point, he offered a distinction between two types of mobilizing around food waste. The difference was between a Christian group that was collecting food to be thrown out by grocery stores and sharing it with students and the homeless, and a much more radical idea of “sharing, and intentional Christian communities, which were basically communist” — for example, the Community of the Franciscan Way’s farm house in North Carolina. In these intentional communities, food is actually grown and self-reliance enables the community to reproduce itself.

Following in this more radical direction has also been freeganism and Food Not Bombs, direct action strategies concerned with anticapitalist food justice. Freeganism involves the act of reclaiming edible food waste as an act of political critique, demonstrating how capitalist value does not equate to social or biological value. Reclaimed as an ex-commodity, food can return to its use value of satisfying people’s hunger.

For Barnard’s activism and research, he participated in activist tours teaching people where to dumpster dive, to understand the scale of food “ex-commodities,” and to stand appalled at the grotesque contradiction. Freeganism produced a peripheral economy that largely eschewed exchanging money but subsidized itself on the excess of an overly productive capitalist system.

Food Not Bombs works similarly, as a visual example of mutual aid demonstrating alternatives. It is a transnational, decentralized organization where people get together and share vegan food with homeless and non-homeless alike. Sometimes this is reclaimed food, other times it is food people have purchased and prepared to share, and even food they’ve grown themselves. The purpose is to engage in mutual aid and address the priorities of a society that builds bombs and not shelter, that maims but does not feed.

All around the world, from Tijuana to Manila to Houston, these chapters operate. At times they fight ordinances criminalizing survival, such as banning direct distribution of food to the homeless, and other times they play a role in protest and organizing. Currently, co-founder Keith McHenry is building an educational farm to continue this work and connect more directly with constructing alternative forms of production.

All of these actions are meaningful, and maintain a bulwark against an absurd system. But while these models provide spaces for mutual aid and demonstrating the fundamental absurdity of the system, they do not create long-term alternatives for producing food as a right as opposed to a commodity. This would require a radical reimagining of the food system.

Currently, the food sovereignty movement, led by La Via Campesina and other organizations, propose to integrate the ideas of mutual aid and autonomy in the development of alternative modes of production able to supplant the current capitalist food system. In their Declaration of Nyeleni, they describe the universal right to food: “All peoples, nations and states are able to determine their own food producing systems and policies that provide every one of us with good quality, adequate, affordable, healthy, and culturally appropriate food.” At bottom, this entails people taking back ownership over food systems, actually managing farms themselves or communally, for the betterment of all.

Actions like Food Not Bombs and freeganism carry forward the kernel of this idea, the establishment of a food commons, but have yet to propose large-scale alternatives able to supplant the current, massive capitalist food system (though activists involved in those struggles will be key to any future construction of sustainable, just alternatives).

We Cannot Continue a Failed Model

In the end, the major difference in strategic approaches to addressing hunger is not between these anarchist strategies and other socialist and sovereignty programs. The principle cleavage is between a left-liberal faction that clings to the erroneous idea that this system can be reformed to serve human need and the radicals who insist that it can’t.

Most policy-makers do not attempt to tackle the problem of whether food should be a commodity or a right. The UN and the FAO have adopted strategies that completely ignore the reality of capitalist imperatives. They emphasize technology, markets, and policy as panaceas for reorienting the food system to be more just and ecologically sustainable. They propose that people support “local farmers or markets and sustainable food choices” along with “[using] your power as a consumer and voter” — all individualized actions amounting to the cliché “vote with your fork.” Or take “project aim” number three from their “Save Food” initiative:

Increase adoption of good practices to reduce food losses in specific value chains. It will do so by providing a platform for centralizing and sharing information, developing analysis, creating necessary coordination mechanisms and supporting capacity building on [Food Loss and Waste] Reduction.

There is no acknowledgement that the structure of the food system itself produces the very problem they claim to resolve.

Considering the absurdity of the present food system, this is wrong. Movements like freeganism and Food Not Bombs have highlighted these absurdities, not just within the food system, but also how guns-and-butter decisions lead to hungry people.

We need to go even further: to begin to build socialist food organizations able to produce and distribute decommodified food.

The food sovereignty movement has been in the lead describing and implementing what this will look like. Their vision involves reintegration of the food system into the life of communities, as opposed to the detached global commodity chains that we are dependent on and alienated from.

While by no means a perfect model, the Special Period implementation of a food sovereignty program in Cuba demonstrates possibilities. Factories, schools, hospitals, and other large-scale anchor institutions now have their own functioning gardens, able to supply their cafeterias with produce. Large-scale communities like Alamar have urban farms, and apartments maintain small scale organic crop beds.

Usufruct land was further cooperativized and spaces were opened for small-scale land ownership. All of this was coordinated with a legion of scientists from across disciplines working through a participatory system linking modern scientific knowledge to traditional cultural-ecological knowledge. The goal was food for use, as a biological value powering the body — not profit. Through this program, Cuba went from a 30 percent reduction in daily caloric and protein at the onset of the crisis in the early 1990s to its highest levels of production by 1997, according to scholar Peter M. Rosset.

Another example is Basel, Switzerland, home to a beautiful experiment in urban social and solidarity economy, which I learned about from Isidor Wallimann, a sociologist at Syracuse University. In Basel they formed the Social Economy Basel, beginning with the Social Economy Association in 1996. This has produced a municipality with its own currency and credit able to sustain a local economy.

This direct control over market forces has given the SEA autonomy in problem-solving and management of resources. Internally to the SEA, the social economy network is now made up of 120 firms and nonprofits utilizing the alternative currency and credit system. Importantly for food, the SEA founded the Urban Agriculture Network Basel Association (UAB) in 2010 to “move the city of Basel toward a food policy on ‘food sovereignty’ as opposed to ‘food security.’ ”

This has led to over forty projects in the food system, from CSAs, to co-ops, to the creation of over five thousand garden plots, all working in tandem to produce a parallel structure for the food system.

These examples, plus the many other struggles to build alternative food systems, demonstrate the ability to move away from our current absurdity. We can bring production imperatives and technological innovation in agriculture in line with a logic of feeding people instead of profit. By doing so, we can correct a principal reason for food waste.

Hunger is not an inevitability; it is a choice. We can choose to end it.

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Privatizing Mexico

From Jacobin:

We live in a neoliberal era. Colloquially, this means governments adopt policies meant to put into practice the idea that the economy operates best when the role of the state is minimal.

But this conventional understanding is incorrect, positing a retreat of the state that hasn’t happened and, more fundamentally, misreading the market-state relationship under capitalism. As Karl PolanyiNeil Fligstein, and Alejandro Portes tell us, markets are embedded in frameworks built by states. Capitalism wouldn’t have emerged without the active hand of the state. And the private is birthed through its co-optation of the public, not vice-versa.

In the fifteenth and sixteenth century enclosures of the commons in Britain, communal lands were taken away from peasants — in part to force them into the factories and urban centers — thus creating a rentier class that profited off the land. India’s textile industry in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was turned inside-out for the benefit of British industrialists. More recently, in the late 1960s, Indonesian public assets were divvied up and sold off under the Suharto dictatorship, which was in cahoots with international capitalists and high-level functionaries from Western governments, such as the United States.

The standard free-market narrative whitewashes this history, framing the development process as solely driven by market processes. Obscured is the state’s role in protecting infant industries — an economic strategy pushed by people like Alexander Hamilton, practiced by every powerful country during its development period, and then, in what economist Ha-Joon Chang has called “kicking away the ladder,” prohibited for poorer nations.

The issue, then, isn’t more or less state involvement, but rather which classes and groups benefit from that involvement. History shows that economic development occurs when the public takes on the risks of investment and builds the infrastructure for industry, and industry itself. Neoliberalism entails the selling off of these assets to continue the cycle of capital accumulation, especially in times of stagnation.

A clear example of this private expropriation of public property is Mexico, a country whose assets were built during decades of state-heavy economic nationalism. After the Mexican Revolution, which spanned the 1910s, the state nationalized large swaths of the economy, including the fossil-fuel industry. Redistribution of land created the ejido system, a collective form of land ownership.

In many ways, the one-party state implemented the Communist Manifesto without its rhetoric or politics, under the centralized, authoritarian leadership of generals, the remaining Porfiriato elites, and nouveaux-riches. Historian Stuart Easterling points out that these elites saw the state as able to produce peace and stability through concessions to campesinos and workers, creating benefits while fracturing solidarity.

As a result of these policies, Mexico was in a semi-peripheral position in the world system and at the core of the Central American economies. For much of the twentieth century, Mexico could resist full-blown exploitation of its resources. That era has come to an end.

The left wing of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), a party that ruled for decades and whose ideological positions depended on the candidate, split to form the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) in 1989. The PRD, a member of the Socialist International, has since been bitten by the neoliberal bug and now accepts most “Pacto por México” structural reforms. Elites seem to have given up on the single-party state, content with widespread support for the neoliberal policies begun in the 1980s under Miguel de la Madrid.

During the 1980s, with a collapsing currency, an oil bubble burst, and a debt crisis, the state was ripe for predation by the capitalist class. Public money and import-substitution policies had built up quite an array of state assets. And the elites who had fought in the revolution and who, facing popular pressure, had to craft policies that at least to some degree benefited non-elites, were gone. Also central to the neoliberalization process were academics trained at elite US universities in the practices of technocratic control and instrumental reason. It was a direct rebuff to the revolutionary 1910s.

Under Carlos Salinas de Gortari, president from 1988 to 1994, fully 85 percent of state-owned businesses were privatized. The Salinas counter-revolution amounts to a neoliberal Christmas list of deals, enriching private business at the expense of workers and farmers.

Take, for instance, food distribution. For most of the twentieth century, food distribution was handled by vendors in public and street markets in large metropolitan areas like Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Monterrey through their link to Central Supply Centers. They were part of a large-scale urban development policy implemented during Miguel Alemán’s sexenio (six-year presidential term), which began in 1946.

By the 1950s and 1960s, 90-plus percent of food distribution was handled by these community-based public and informal organizations. This has now been slowly privatized, with subsidies in real terms declining for the public market system. Transnational corporations such as Walmart are taking over the market and redirecting money away from the domestic economy.

Here the argument that the efficient organizational form won out might be credible if not for events such as the Walmart bribery scandal. In exchange for $24 million, the company got preferential treatment in locating its stores — a crucial matter, since commerce is in part about proximity.

One measure of the impact of transnational corporate power is that the traditional community system that once distributed nearly all of the country’s food now has just 22 percent of that market. Self-sustaining capital flows that once supported community social cohesion are now redirected toward the United States — and into the pockets of the corporation that exemplifies contemporary wage slavery.

Corporate reorganization of the food system coincided with the undermining of the ejido system of publicly owned but individually farmed plots. Salinas changed the ejido regulations to permit the sale of the communal land. Meanwhile, NAFTA destroyed small-scale agriculture in Mexico by allowing US agribusiness to dump subsidized corn in Mexico. That Salinas equated his reforms with the revolutionary principle of agrarian redistribution only showed how cynical the country’s elite could be about using nationalist myths to pander to the public.

Then there was Telmex, which, according to a 2006 article, still controls “94% of land lines, 78% of cell phone service and 70% of the internet market.” When the country’s telephone company became a private monopoly, rather than a public utility, it may not have solved the system’s technical problems. But it did make the new owner, Carlos Slim, one of the richest men in the world. His brother, Julian Slim, served the elite’s power structure as a police officer in Mexico City, beating and torturing communists. Neoliberal Mexico: a Mafioso political economy at its finest.

Finally, and most recently, the string of neoliberal reforms reached their culmination this summer with the partial privatization of PEMEX, the country’s nationalized petroleum company. The National Action Party (PAN), a conservative party with historical links to fascism, has long had this goal, but settled for creating legal loopholes to give the private sector, domestic and foreign, access to contracts with PEMEX. As a sign of how things will go now, we have the recent news that Fox’s stepchildren are under investigation for corrupt practices in business dealings with the petroleum-services company, Oceanografía.

Throughout this process of massive private expropriation of public wealth, no effort was made to democratize ownership; communities did not have any opportunity to buy and operate the state-owned companies. When Enrique Peña Nieto, the current president, tells the people it is all about making Mexico go forward, we should ask what he means by progress, and whether it includes anyone not already wealthy.

Billed as a way to end corruption, neoliberal reforms have been touted by governments as a panacea. But the problem has never been limited to the public sector. Corruption has involved networks of elites in both government and corporate positions of power, domestically and internationally. And so when privatization schemes go into effect they are handled as should be expected — corruptly.

The ultimate result is an arrangement not that different from colonialism: an extractive practice that benefits a few elite groups, in this case, technocrats and corporate interests. Mexico proves an exemplary case. Elites sell off everything, drive down wages, and generally hand the country and its people over to autocratic private tyrannies.

The road to serfdom, indeed.

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Why Raleigh needs a stronger commitment to urban agriculture

From the News and Observer:

The City of Raleigh supports urban agriculture rhetorically in its Strategic Plan. The city has made ad hoc interventions, like providing resources for rain harvesting at Raleigh City Farm and the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle farm.

Yet this leaves Raleigh behind other cities, like Atlanta, that implement systematic programs supporting the wide array of urban agriculture. Without a comprehensive plan, programs like land for community gardens, setting up organic matter drop-offs for composting, hiring master gardeners to provide expert knowledge, and more do not have the municipal support they need.

This is the case, even though the city’s Environmental Advisory Board has unanimously adopted an Urban Agriculture Program recommendation. That recommendation includes important steps, such as surveying vacant and public land, building a farm incubator system, and hiring a full-time city employee to administer urban agriculture programs. Implementing the recommendations will bring stability and growth to urban agriculture, which will entail beneficial impacts on communities, such as food security, food literacy, biodiversity, and income.

The evidence is clear: urban agriculture has important social, economic, and ecological benefits. For instance, Raleigh is a Bee City, meaning we support pollinator habitats. A major way to do that is to increase green space connectivity, thereby providing better conditions for pollinators to move around.

If the green space is a community garden, that doubles as communal space increasing social connections and leading to a more positive social environment. It also provides supplemental food that is typically more diverse and allows a family to save money. All this, while providing jobs to master gardeners and increasing civic engagement. Truly, a win-win-win.

To maximize the gains from urban agriculture, we must assure that they are distributed equitably. Already community gardens in Raleigh are concentrated in food secure areas, reducing their beneficial impact in communities that need them.

Through public policy, the City Council can provide land, resources, and labor to communities interested in establishing their own urban agriculture projects, regardless of their economic resources. By doing so, the city can use urban agriculture as an important tool for food security, sustainability, and community well being.

The City of Raleigh’s strategic plan calls for “urban agriculture” as a way to “enhance citizens’ quality of life” and promote “active living and healthy lifestyles.” The Environmental Advisory Board recommendation exists to bring this about. The evidence demonstrates it is most likely a good investment. There is civil society support, like the Capital Area Food Network, Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, and United Methodist Church, and there is business support from the Irregardless Café, Raleigh City Farm and others.

Considering all of this, when does the City Council follow through and invest to move urban agriculture into its next phase? The time is now.

Andrew R. Smolski is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at N.C. State University and a graduate fellow at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems. He can be reached at
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