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Feds Fund Food Junkthought

Tuesday January 2nd, 2018   •   Posted by K. Lloyd Billingsley at 8:50am PST   •  

The “farm to fork” movement has brought farmers’ markets to the heart of urban areas and they have long been a hit in cities such as Davis, California. Those who patronize farmers markets might be surprised to learn that they are “white spaces,” in which the “habits of white people are normalized.” Farmers’ markets also cause “environmental gentrification” and are “exclusionary” because the locals cannot afford the food or “feel excluded from these new spaces.” Worse, “the most insidious part of this gentrification process is that alternative food initiatives work against the community activists and residents who first mobilized to fight environmental injustices and provide these amenities but have significantly less political and economic clout than developers and real estate professionals.”

That is from the book Just Green Enough, the chapter “Alternative food and gentrification: Farmers’ markets, community gardens and the transformation of urban neighborhoods,” by San Diego State University professors Pascale Joassart-Marcelli and Fernando Bosco. The professors teach courses such as “Food Justice” and “Geography of Food.” Their contention that farmers’ markets are racist doesn’t merit a response. On the other hand, there is reason it should trouble taxpayers.

To research “the role of food in structuring everyday life in immigrant and low-income urban neighborhoods,” professors Joassart-Marcelli and Bosco received funding from the National Science Foundation. The NSF is “an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare,” and other good things. “With an annual budget of $7.5 billion the NSF is the funding source for approximately 24 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities.” The NSF determines which research “would be the most fruitful investment of taxpayer dollars,” but the notion that farmers’ markets are racist managed to get through the NSF’s “merit review process.” Sub-junkthought should not be normalized, let alone funded by taxpayers. In the new year, Congress should take a weed-whacker to the NSF budget, staff and management.

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January 2018