Q&A: Taking a stand — new legal group focuses on farm country

By Shannon Kelleher

The US agriculture industry puts food on Americans’ tables, but many of the farming practices used to produce that food are controversial. Critics say large corporate interests dominate agriculture and push policies and practices that endanger human and environmental health and harm the interests of small farmers and rural communities.

A group of community advocates announced on September 20 that they were joining forces with legal and food system experts to form an organization they’re dubbing “FarmSTAND,” with the specific goal of challenging the companies that dominate US industrial animal agriculture through court actions. The group said it is working to dismantle a “corporate-controlled, industrial food system” and support regenerative farming to help “change the system from the ground up.”

The New Lede spoke with FarmSTAND Executive Director Jessica Culpepper about the group’s goals.

Q: What is your mission? How do you envision FarmSTAND’s role?

A:  We really believe that independent farmers and ranchers, food chain workers, and consumers of agricultural products deserve a legal advocacy group that’s focused only on them. That doesn’t exist yet. We are really excited to be that for them.