William & Mary Business Law Review


This Note identifies the underlying cause of the collapse of the family farm, namely the failed effort of the U.S. Government to save it through the institution and ongoing promulgation of the Farm Bill. Through subsidy and direct payment regimes, federal legislation has enabled large commodity producers to enjoy protection from market risk while squeezing out smaller growers. Because of growing consumer distrust in large-scale agricultural production, the urban agriculture movement and nontraditional market systems continue to grow in popularity and footprint across the United States. Many municipalities have already recognized the vast benefits that an urban agriculture regime can provide by adopting regulations to support this worthwhile shift in the utility and usefulness of land. However, in the rapid passing of laws aimed at maximizing social utility, legislatures across the nation have ignored foundational laws relating to the sale and distribution of goods. These laws include inspection and labeling laws, labor and compensation laws, and in some instances, the creation and promotion of unconstitutional trade barriers. This Note analyzes these issues, raises a cautionary voice to government officials everywhere, and invites a thorough review of both the present benefits and the looming future consequences that may occur after the honeymoon with society’s fascination with the urban agriculture movement has ended.