chapter  3
15 Pages

Caught on the Treadmill

Squeezed by prices, encouraged by advice and training, controlled by regulation, limited by research, and trapped by peer pressure, farmers have had little choice but to adopt more and more intensive systems. The result has been a transformation not only in agricultural practices but, perhaps more significant still, in the political and economic landscape in which farmers operate, creating dependency where there was independence, driving farmers into a spiral of increasing debt, concentrating landhold­ ings, undermining choice and increasing the vulnerability of farmers, entrenching old inequalities and creating new ones, disempowering smaller producers and consumers and shifting power to large farmers and corporations.