the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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“ditching NAFTA” may hurt american farmers, but which ones?

https://www.npr.org/player/embed/515380213/515638250

NPR’s The Salt spoke to American farmers growing products (strawberries) in and outsourcing their products (milk, powdered) to Mexico. And no doubt, these industrial farmers will either pay more to import and export their crops and could lose potential markets. Given, however, that NAFTA’s effect on small and medium farms in this country– which we rarely mentioned in the discussion– has been largely detrimental, and NAFTA’s effect on small farmers in Mexico has been unequivocally disastrous, we wonder how this conversation could be extended to address small-scale sustainable agriculture.  Greenhorns, policy buffs, what do you think? Surely, it is not always true that what is bad for industrialized ag is good for sustainable ag, but….

What do you think, Greenhorns, specifically our economics buffs out there, what will it mean for young agrarians and small farms if the US “ditches NAFTA?”


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milk: the new crude oil?

Parmigiano_reggiano_factory.jpg

NPR’s The Salt, on why the USDA is purchasing $20,000 worth of cheese to help US dairy farmers– and why it doesn’t really make a difference to the big dairy industry. If this piece whets your appetite to understand globalization and milk production, we recommend you keep on down the rabbit hole with this Modern Farmer piece. Then, watch this mind-blowing lecture that we posted last July about the impact that trade deals like the TPP would have on small dairy farmers in Maine.


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the thing sanders, trump, and clinton agree on

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is slated for an up-or-down vote in Congress. Proponents say it’s about free trade. But it looks more like corporate colonization.

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Photo from Shutterstock.

One issue unites three U.S. presidential candidates from quite different positions on the political spectrum. Donald Trump, Hilary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders all oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The TPP is a trade and investment agreement between the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations now awaiting an up-or-down vote by the U.S. Congress. Trump says it’s a bad deal for the United States. Clinton says it will cost jobs and lower labor, food safety, and environmental standards. Sanders says it is a corporate assault on democracy.

Trump is right: It’s a bad deal. But he’s wrong that it’s bad only for the United States. It’s actually bad for all of the 12 countries. Clinton is right that it will cost jobs and lower standards, but she’s wrong that the problem is failing to set the bar high enough.

Only Sanders names the most essential reason we must reject the TPP: It is an all-out corporate assault on democracy. Its approval would empower corporations to further hamstring efforts by any member nation to address the potentially terminal environmental, social, and economic threats of our time.

International agreements like the TPP are a corporate lobbyist’s dream. Click HERE to read the playbook for creating them.