Recommended Reading

The Food Empowerment Project

AFA researchers rely on ally organizations to learn deeper insights into all four pillars of our alliance. One invaluable go-to resource, especially in the areas of food-inequity and environmental racism, is the Food Empowerment Project.

“Food Empowerment Project seeks to create a more just and sustainable world by recognizing the power of one’s food choices.”


FEP’s insights deepen our own understanding of the politics woven into the American food system, and the effects of the resultant policies. Take for example, how American policy plays out in terms of environmental racism:

We recommend reading the whole article, but here are a few passages that caught our eye, as we’ve been paying attention to the Murphy Brown case in North Carolina.

Among the corporations that harm the environment and the health of black and brown communities and low income communities are those that run industrial pig farms. Research has shown that these pig farms are responsible for both air and water pollution, mostly due to the vast manure lagoons they create to hold the enormous amount of waste from the thousands of pigs being raised for food. Residents who live near these factory farms often complain of irritation to their eyes, noses, and throats, along with a decline in the quality of life and increased incidents of depression, tension, anger, confusion, and fatigue.

In North Carolina, it has been said that the number of pigs on factory farms exceeds the total population of people in the state. The contamination from North Carolina pig farms has yielded dangerous concentrations of groundwater nitrates, a leading cause of blue baby syndrome. Hydrogen sulfide has also caused noticeable increases in respiratory ailments near these sites. And because of the location of these industrialized farms, those affected most are low-income black and brown communities.

Rampant Environmental Racism in the Pig Industry

Indeed, that lawsuit we have been keeping our eyes on is a case before the Fourth Circuit, called “McKiver et al. v. Murphy-Brown”.

“If this were my property, I would be outraged at some of these conditions,” said judge Wilkinson, the court’s former chief judge. “And less fortunate fellow citizens, they have property rights too… They have a right to good health, and they have a right to enjoyment of their property.” If the plaintiffs lived in “McMansions” or had political influence, Wilkinson asked, “wouldn’t these conditions have been cleaned up sooner rather than later?”

We thank the Food Empowerment Project for bringing environmental racism to the grand conversation, and we encourage all of our readers and members to join in.

AFA Legislation Will Help Animal Farmers Transition

The At-Risk Farmer Act, when passed, will assist animal farmers – including hog farmers – transition to growing plants for humans, or using their land to produce wind or solar energy.

Support AFA Legislation

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