Session Sponsorship for 2019 AAG Meeting

Hi Folks,

Will you be focusing on topics related to food and agriculture at AAG in Washington, D.C.?

Please reach out to me if you want sponsorship from the Geographies of Food and Agriculture Specialty Group. As the Faculty Member At-Large, I will be organizing, with the support of our board, all the sessions, panels, plenaries, events, etc. that we will sponsor. Our default answer is “yes!” but we want to keep track of all our sponsorships. Feel free to add our specialty group sponsorship to your CFPs as well.

It is easiest to email me at j.sbicca [at] with your sponsorship requests.


Josh Sbicca

Food Justice Scholar-Activist/Activist-Scholar AAG Meeting

The next in person Food Justice Scholar-Activist/Activist-Scholar meeting will take place at AAG in New Orleans.

The meeting will take place at the Marriott Hotel, Audubon Room on Thursday, 4/12/2018 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

This is immediately after the Geographies of Food and Agriculture Specialty Group meeting, in the same hotel.

Agenda items include: an introduction to the group (for newcomers) and very short individual introductions; and small and large-group discussions about FJSAAS and geography and action items for the coming year.

Anyone attending AAG is welcome to the meeting.

*If you plan to participate, please come prepared to discuss briefly (1-2 minutes) either an activist project in which you are or have been involved that is situated at the interface between academic work and community work, or, if this is new to you, your visions for a project in which you hope to engage along the same lines.

2018 GFASG Board Elections Nominations Announcement

Dear Geography of Food and Agriculture Specialty Group Members (and Future Members),

A number of positions will soon be open on the GFASG Board this year. Elections will take place online in early March and be announced at our specialty group business meeting at the AAG in April. The term starts after the meeting. The positions available are listed below. Each position is two years.

  • Vice Chair
  • Secretary-Treasurer
  • Website Coordinator
  • Faculty Board Members at Large
  • Student Board Members at Large

All positions have the same voice in decision-making, and specific tasks are assigned to the individual roles. The board generally has two to three conference calls per year. In addition, members work in smaller working groups to organize conference events, our graduate student award, and other activities.

If you are interested, please send a short (150 words max) bio statement to me at by February 23, to be circulated before the ballot is made available. You must be a registered GFASG member by time you join the board. Information about the GFASG can be found on our website at and on the AAG Knowledge Communities website at

Uncertain future for US food system

Below is a reproduction of an opinion article that the Board of the Geographies of Food and Agriculture Specialty Group wrote in response to the election of Donald Trump and what this means for food and agriculture systems in the United States.


Despite strong support from rural voters, since President Donald J. Trump entered the White House, he has made almost no direct mention of agriculture, farmers, the Farm Bill, or the countryside.

However, the administration’s efforts to shift global trade, reduce regulation, cut social safety nets, and limit immigration will have wide-reaching repercussions for our society. This means that we pay more at grocery stores or restaurants, our families will get sick from food-borne illnesses, and pollution chokes our water and air. These are issues that affect every single one of us — no matter how you voted on election day — and will be sure to impact regions and states relying on a migrant workforce who support a thriving agriculture industry.

As geographers who study food systems, from production to consumption to waste management, we are extremely distressed by the social and ecological damage resulting from the Trump administration’s current actions, and we foresee more problems on the horizon.

Perhaps the most evident issue is the President’s  promise to eviscerate trade deals such as the Trans Pacific Partnership — now dead in the water — and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Although NAFTA has meant manufacturing job losses and is notorious for widespread social and environmental repercussions, merely the threat of a NAFTA repeal or the incorporation of dramatic changes (such as reinstating tariffs for Mexican imports) has U.S.-owned companies and consumers railing against renegotiations. Not only would new tariffs dramatically increase the price for everyday foods imported from Mexico (such as tomatoes and avocados), they would likely harm domestic production for foods we export to Mexico (such as dairy, pork, beef, onions, and corn), if Mexico matched these import tariffs.

Some proponents of a more locally focused food system see cutting trade deals as a win. Shifts toward regional systems are indeed crucial for sustainability in the long run, and one impact of these policy changes may be that distributors and consumers increasingly rely on sources of food closer to home. Yet, while it may seem at first glance that the rejection of trade deals would be a positive change for small-scale producers forced to compete in the global “race to the bottom,” these changes do nothing to address the continued dominance and, indeed, the increasing consolidation of transnational food corporations.

Since neither the Trump administration nor his pick for Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, a former manager of a global agribusiness trading company, is expected to prioritize the voices of small-scale farmers over corporate interests, we must wonder what benefits this new approach will have for family farms and rural America? This is particularly alarming when coupled with the Trump administration’s efforts to dismantle environmental and ethical protections, and in light of Perdue’s reputation as an anti-regulation climate change denier. Famous for hosting a public prayer for rain ( in response to a Georgia drought, as governor, Perdue promoted the growth of unregulated chicken factories in his state at the expense of public health and animal welfare (

Trump’s anti-immigrant positions, in addition to being broadly xenophobic and unjust, will also have direct implications for food and agriculture in the U.S. Immigrants are the backbone of the food system — not just in the fields, but also in packing, processing, retail, and service. During his first week in office, President Trump ordered a major overhaul of immigration law enforcement, and as many as 8 million undocumented people could be targeted for deportation.

Yet undocumented immigrants make up about 80 percent of the agricultural workforce. Agricultural labor is physically challenging work, and in most states, workers do not have basic labor law protections, such as minimum wage and overtime pay. Periods of immigration crackdowns in recent years have left crops unharvested to rot in the fields ( Ultimately, the only ethical solution to the linked issues of agriculture and immigration is to ensure secure livelihoods for workers, regardless of their citizenship status, and to protect the unqualified rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all.

These are steep challenges and the stakes are high. Yet if we realize that the food system can be a powerful tool for reshaping society, economy and environment, we can turn this moment of crisis into an opportunity.

The 2018 Farm Bill will be contentious but, with concerted effort, it could prove an effective pressure point. Highlighting the inequities of the agribusiness agenda as it materializes can produce new and unlikely coalitions. Immigrant farm workers, rural smallholders, indigenous peoples and urban foodies, for example, could all be negatively affected by the current administration’s agenda. A movement unified around food is capable of cultivating not only a reasonable Farm Bill but also a more socially just and ecologically sustainable future for all.