Article ID: CBB893850274

“True Sustainability”: An Environmental, Worker, and Consumer History of Organic Strawberry Farming in 1990s California (2021)


Shana Bernstein (Author)

Agricultural History
Volume: 95
Issue: 3
Pages: 500-531
Publication date: 2021
Language: English

In 1998 the United Farm Workers and Swanton Berry Farm signed the first contract between a union and an organic farm. Exploring this contract’s origins uncovers a previously hidden history of the 1990s as a time of possibility for coalitions among labor activists, environmentalists, and consumers. In the heart of the neoliberal decade usually remembered for its lack of activism, we see vital progressive coalitions. The contract reflects the merging of three reform threads—the farmworker justice, environmental, and consumer movements—and reveals an integrated vision for agriculture that transcends a zero-sum approach to food reform. Activists who recognized how exposure to toxic chemicals blurred boundaries between the bodies and health of workers, consumers, and wildlife joined forces in Swanton, which came to be a rare example of a farm trying to achieve what its owner in later years called “true sustainability”: environmental stewardship, good labor practices, and healthier food for consumers.

Citation URI

This citation is part of the Isis database.

Similar Citations

Book Marez, Curtis; (2016)
Farm worker futurism: speculative technologies of resistance (/p/isis/citation/CBB095155438/) unapi

Article de la Peña, Carolyn; (2013)
Good to Think with: Another Look at the Mechanized Tomato (/p/isis/citation/CBB001320895/) unapi

Article Nash, Linda; (2004)
The Fruits of Ill-Health: Pesticides and Workers' Bodies in Post-World War II California (/p/isis/citation/CBB000750328/) unapi

Book Venus Bivar; (2018)
Organic Resistance: The Struggle over Industrial Farming in Postwar France (/p/isis/citation/CBB679241508/) unapi

Article Chandler, Jennifer; (2007)
Law and Technology: Exploring the Role of the Law in the Conflict Between Organic Farming and Biotechnology (/p/isis/citation/CBB000720337/) unapi

Book Obach, Brian K.; (2015)
Organic Struggle: The Movement for Sustainable Agriculture in the United States (/p/isis/citation/CBB747820136/) unapi

Book Mario Jimenez Sifuentez; (2016)
Of Forests and Fields: Mexican Labor in the Pacific Northwest (/p/isis/citation/CBB044049827/) unapi

Book Shana Klein; (2020)
The Fruits of Empire: Art, Food, and the Politics of Race in the Age of American Expansion (/p/isis/citation/CBB978146930/) unapi

Article Johanna Christensen; Don Garden; Ruth Beilin; (2016)
An Antipodean Apple Narrative: How Place and Time Evolved for the Market (/p/isis/citation/CBB781452991/) unapi

Book William Thomas Okie; (2016)
The Georgia Peach: Culture, Agriculture, and Environment in the American South (/p/isis/citation/CBB387212034/) unapi

Article Soluri, John; (2002)
Accounting for Taste: Export Bananas, Mass Markets, and Panama Disease (/p/isis/citation/CBB000202583/) unapi

Chapter Kevles, Daniel J.; (2008)
Fruit Nationalism: Horticulture in the United States---From the Revolution to the First Centennial (/p/isis/citation/CBB000953676/) unapi

Article Cozzens, Taylor; (2015)
Defeating the Devil's Arm: The Victory over the Short-Handled Hoe in California Agriculture (/p/isis/citation/CBB001553157/) unapi

Book John Ryan Fischer; (2017)
Cattle Colonialism: An Environmental History of the Conquest of California and Hawai'i (/p/isis/citation/CBB872040578/) unapi

Book Sarah D. Wald; (2016)
The Nature of California: Race, Citizenship, and Farming since the Dust Bowl (/p/isis/citation/CBB082140270/) unapi

Book Dvera I. Saxton; (2021)
The Devil's Fruit: Farmworkers, Health, and Environmental Justice (/p/isis/citation/CBB347232041/) unapi

Book Cinotto, Simone; (2012)
Soft Soil, Black Grapes: The Birth of Italian Winemaking in California (/p/isis/citation/CBB001320946/) unapi

Article Firkus, Angela; (2010)
The Agricultural Extension Service and Non-Whites in California, 1910--1932 (/p/isis/citation/CBB001021194/) unapi

Book Henke, Christopher R.; (2008)
Cultivating Science, Harvesting Power: Science and Industrial Agriculture in California (/p/isis/citation/CBB000950314/) unapi

Authors & Contributors
Chandler, Jennifer A.
Cinotto, Simone
de la Peña, Carolyn
Firkus, Angela
Garden, Don
Henke, Christopher R.
Agricultural History
Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society
Environmental History
Food, Culture and Society
Osiris: A Research Journal Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
MIT Press
Rutgers University Press
Cambridge University Press
New York University Press
University of California Press
University of Minnesota Press
Labor and laborers
Food and foods
Agricultural technology
Organic farming
Time Periods
20th century
20th century, late
19th century
21st century
20th century, early
United States
California (U.S.)
Hawaii (U.S.)
U.S. Federal Extension Service

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment