The 'Agricapital' group was set up after a couple of talks in Science & Socialism Discussions. See 'Beginnings' Afterwards a group of scientists met up to try and make sense of the what was happening in food and farming research, and how that was affected by capitalism. The group were interested to try and work out what pressures were on scientists in food and farming that influenced their work; while at the same time scientists thought they were being 'objective' and 'independent' We believed that we need to understand those pressures in order to be more objective. Rather then pretend they aren't there.
As agricultural scientists we had been bought up to help feed the world. So it's a bit of a shocker to realise we tend to produce too much food all the time. History is littered with the problem. How to make money out of growing stuff? Especially when you do well. Except then food price plummets. As with any good harvest.The problem for capital is not how to grow foodstuffs, but how to make money. The problem for agri-scientists was and is to do the farming best for humanity. What do we do?
Once established in London, a Northern version of the group also emerged, and there were several offshoots - one called London Agricaptial. The Agricapital Group was seen recently by Food Commission as the forerunner of all the 'politics of food' groups that have emerged since. Certainly a lot of key characters in todays' debates were in the Agricapital group.
The term 'agricapital' refers to how capital in agriculture develops. In the UK capital has tended to develop off the land, rather than on it. This analysis turned out to be very true, as research in agriculture and horticulture over the last 25 years has been virtiually killed off. Any remaining science is carried out in the labarotories and called 'Life science', while 'Land science' is non-existant. See 'What is going on at Wellesbourne?' - the closure of the one of the last publicly funded research stations left in UK.
These pages cover what the Agricapital Group did in the mid 1970's. Report in Food Policy
We are collecting material produced by the Agricapital Group and various offshoots. Here we are just trying to present the materials as they were written 35 years ago. The two main documents produced were - a special issue of Science for People called 'Food,Farming Finance' and a pamphlet called "Our Daily Bread", now known as "The Bread Pamphlet". However, Associated British Foods didnt like it, serving us with a writ, saying they "didn’t altogether agree with our analysis of the British Bread industry, in particular the description of work hazards in the bakeries” See article (AgricapitalPart1) below for details
There was also a London Agricapital group, that picked up some time after the Bread pamphlet. Two of us are writing an article on the group for a forthcoming special edition of Science and Culture. Part 1 (draft) is attached below In the file, along with an article written by Tim Lang following on from Agricpaital into other groups in the 80's&90's..see Going Public'