Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 163–167 | Cite as

Lessons learned from pesticide drift: a call to bring production agriculture, farm labor, and social justice back into agrifood research and activism

  • Jill Harrison


I use the case of pesticide drift to discuss the neoliberal shift in agrifood activism and its implications for public health and social justice. I argue that the benefits of this shift have been achieved at the cost of privileging certain bodies and spaces over others and absolving the state of its responsibility to ensure the conditions of social justice. I use this critical intervention as a means of introducing several opportunities for strengthening agrifood research and advocacy. First, I call for increased critical attention to production agriculture and the regulatory arena. Second, I call for increased attention to ‘social justice’ within the food system, emphasizing the need to rekindle research on the immigrant farm labor force.


Agriculture Agrifood activism Farm labor Pesticide drift Social justice 



I thank Jess Gilbert, David Goodman, Dustin Mulvaney, and Steven Wolf for their insightful comments on earlier versions of this manuscript. My California research was supported in part by funding from the University of California Institute for Labor and Employment, the UC Santa Cruz Environmental Studies Department, and the UC Santa Cruz Graduate Division. My Wisconsin research has thus far been supported in large part by the Program on Agricultural Technology Studies (PATS) at UW-Madison.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Rural SociologyUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonWIUSA

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