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Andrea Freeman Author Talk • Ruin Their Crops on the Ground: The Politics of Food in the United States, from the Trail of Tears to School Lunch

Saturday July 27th at 3:00pm

A note about our in-store events:

We offer first come, first served seating in our shop. There will be overflow room outside if needed and the author will be mic'd. Everyone is welcome to attend.

You can pre-order a copy below for pick-up at the event or purchase copies on-site.


Andrea Freeman, a pioneer in the field of food politics, is a professor at Southwestern Law School. A Fulbright scholar and author of Skimmed: Breastfeeding, Race, and Injustice, Freeman has published and appeared in the Washington Post, Salon, The Takeaway, Here & Now, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Black Agenda Report, and more. She lives in Los Angeles.

Celia Lee is a lawyer focusing on litigation, affordable housing, community economic development, and municipal law at an Oakland-based law firm. A native of Los Angeles and a graduate of UC Berkeley and the University of Michigan Law School, she has lived in San Francisco for 30 years. She devotes much of her spare time to nonprofit organizations advocating for civil rights for all as well as the interests of the AANHPI community. She is a dog lover, CrossFit and weightlifting enthusiast, and an omnivore.

Ruin Their Crops on the Ground In 1779, to subjugate Indigenous nations, George Washington ordered his troops to “ruin their crops now in the ground and prevent their planting more.” Destroying harvests is just one way that the United States has used food as a political tool. Trying to prevent enslaved people from rising up, enslavers restricted their consumption, providing only enough to fuel labor. Since the Great Depression, school lunches have served as dumping grounds for unwanted agricultural surpluses.

From frybread to government cheese, Ruin Their Crops on the Ground draws on over fifteen years of research to argue that U.S. food law and policy have created and maintained racial and social inequality. In an epic, sweeping account, Andrea Freeman, who pioneered the term “food oppression,” moves from colonization to slavery to the Americanization of immigrant food culture, to the commodities supplied to Native reservations, to milk as a symbol of white supremacy. She traces the long-standing alliance between the government and food industries that have produced gaping racial health disparities, and she shows how these practices continue to this day, through the marketing of unhealthy goods that target marginalized communities, causing diabetes, high blood pressure, and premature death.

Ruin Their Crops on the Ground is a groundbreaking addition to the history and politics of food. It will permanently upend the notion that we freely and equally choose what we put on our plates.