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Saving the Farm

The New York Times
June 6, 2004

To the Editor:

In "Debts and Drought Drive India's Farmers to Despair" (news article, June 6), we see an agricultural system built upon structural inequities. Farmers around the world face an environmental and moral crisis as family farms are replaced with corporate farms, farmers with machines, mixed crops with monocultures, and local food security with global commerce.

Modern agriculture robs both American family farmers and the world's poor. But farmers around the world are rallying for food sovereignty as a human right. This would mean strengthening domestic markets by prioritizing local, regional and national needs. A farmer's rights would include access to land, water, seeds and credit. We would prohibit overproduction and dumping and create a new farm economy.

Oakland, Calif., June 6, 2004
The writer is director of the Oakland Institute, a nonpartisan research, analysis and advocacy group.