Bill McKibben has written an article in Harper’s Magazine (“What will you be eating when the revolution comes?”, April 2005 issue, read here, found via Gristmill) where he extols organic farming and uses Cuban urban farms as an example. McKibben focuses obsessively on production and shows little interest in the fact that food is for eating. This passage is characteristic of McKibben’s indifference to eating:
“For instance, consider Mexico and corn. Not long ago the journalist Michael Pollan told the story of what happened when NAFTA opened that country's markets to a flood of cheap, heavily subsidized US maize: the price fell by half, and 1.3 million small farmers were put out of business, forced to sell their land to larger, more corporate farms that could hope to compete by mechanizing (and lobbying for subsidies of their own). A study by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace enumerated the environmental costs: fertilizer runoff suffocating the Sea of Cortez, water shortages getting worse as large-scale irrigation booms. Genetically modified corn varieties from the United States are contaminating the original strains of the crop, which began in southern Mexico.”
There is something missing from “the story of what happened.” Markets consist of producers and consumers. I would like to know the details of “what happened” to Mexican consumers.