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'Foodopoly:' Exposing the Handful of Corporations That Control Our Food System From Seed to Dinner Plate

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The following is an excerpt from  Foodopoly: The Battle Over the Future of Food and Farming in America, published by The New Press and reprinted here with permission. Copyright © 2012 by Wenonah Hauter.

In 1963 my dad bought a ramshackle farm with rich but extremely rocky soil in the rural Bull Run Mountains of Virginia, forty miles southwest of Washington, D.C. Today it is on the verge of suburbia.

He grew up in Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl, rode the rails, and eventually, in his late fifties, found his way "back to the land." So we moved to what was then a very rural landscape -- a place culturally a world away from the nation's capital and physically linked only indirectly by two-lane roads. Our old farmhouse, with a mile-long rutted driveway accessible only by fourwheel drive, was off another dirt road and had no electricity or plumbing. Eventually my dad did manage to get the local rural electricity co-op to put in poles and hook up power, but he never did get around to installing indoor plumbing.

He was an unusual man -- a religious iconoclast and an organic gardener at a time when few people knew the term. He was considered a crank and a hobby farmer, if you can call it that, growing a few vegetables and keeping bees. His wild-blossom honey was the only vaguely successful part of his farming venture. My dad, who died in 1991 at the age of eighty-one, would be shocked now to see both his farm and the massive development around it.  


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