Food Sovereignty and Land Grabbing: Case Study in Rural USA (2013-2017)

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 09:10
Oral Presentation
Shirley NUSS, Nuss & Asssociates, USA
Participant observation is the methodology employed to document a four-year process beginning with land grabbing, involving environmental destruction, and denial of food sovereignty, especially food safety. Analysis exposes a land grab support network involving a self-proclaimed ‘landed gentry’, attorneys, elected officials, law enforcement, a justice system and oversight agencies.

This land grab began without warning when a bulldozer secured a one-acre expansion. Organic soil preserved for decades and used for production of livestock, vegetables and fruits for family use were destroyed within hours as law enforcement supported this bulldozing ‘landed gentry’ with shouting and threats.

When forced to face the property owner, the operator simply laughed and shouted: “You can do nothing!” as four law enforcement officers ran away and the bulldozer continued destruction of structures, soil, trees, bushes and plants. Compost was removed and everything was destroyed and removed within hours.

Documentation includes photographs detailing this initial destruction along documentation of land use over decades. Thereafter, photographs document destruction to land and plants by pesticides/herbicides added to sprinkler water which destroyed mature trees (aerial photographs US Department of Agriculture).

Taken every 2 days during growing season, photographs show water turning leaves pastel and stems red as organic soil was contaminated and it use was no longer safe for food production. Instead as chemicals and their drift killed plant life and land use became restricted to production of corn which required constant spraying of pesticides and herbicides to support its growth to maturity.

The ‘landed gentry’ unleashed a reign of terror with a bulldozer. Law enforcement issued reports legitimizing elimination of an elderly landowner who continues opposition to future land grabs of the one-acre with the family home.