Agrarian Trust

The New American Farmer

A research paper from the Transnational Institute draws on ethnographic research conducted in the Central Coast of California and the Northern Neck of Virginia, where a significant number of Mexican farmworkers are in the process of transitioning to small-scale family-run farm owner/operators, despite race and ethnicity based discrimination. Although they attempt to succeed as small-scale, family-run and biodiverse farmers, they face market pressures to scale up and grow less diverse crops, exemplifying the contradictions inherent in the food sovereignty movement. As dispossessed agricultural laborers turned farm owners, they challenge common notions of immigrants’ role in modern agriculture, pushing the racial and ethnic boundaries of U.S. farming. This study points to new agrarian questions related to food sovereignty, labor, race, and migration.

Read the full study.