Earth911’s Mitch Ratcliffe talks with authors Daniel O’Connell and Scott Peters about their book In the Struggle. It is a chronicle of the decline of the traditional small farm in California’s Central Valley, the resulting social and political movement by small farmers and farmworkers, and the lessons for future generations seeking equitable, environmentally responsible agricultural communities. Under the onslaught of industrial agribusiness, which manipulated provisions of several landmark federal laws meant to protect small farms, those farmers, farmworkers, and a cadre of university social researchers forged a resistance that attempted to preserve democratic agrarian communities against loss of income and political power.
In the Struggle is also a narrative reflection on the process and purpose of sociological research featuring the stories of eight prominent ethnographic and community development professionals who worked in the region over the past 100 years. The lessons and tools identified are valuable in the battle to solve today’s climate crisis equitably. Daniel O’Connell is the executive director of the Central Valley Partnership, a network of labor, environmental, and community groups, and Scott Peters is professor of Global Development at Cornell University.