For essential resources like food, markets lead to unjust and unsustainable outcomes. Commodity markets allocate crops to livestock, bio-energy, wealthy people, and the garbage, while poor people cannot afford to eat healthfully and ecosystems are destroyed in the pursuit of growth. Farmers forced to focus on producing food commodities often do so at the expense of all the other products of agricultural systems: rural livelihoods, wildlife habitat, beautiful landscapes, flood control, foraged resources, and other ecological goods and services. Sam is interested in how to “de-commodify” food.
Sam’s other research and non-research interests include cycling, recycling, nutrient cycling, and anarchism. He is currently finishing up a book, coauthored with professor Giorgos Kallis of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, which critically reviews the scientific evidence surrounding the claims underlying the “post-environmentalist” proposal to accelerate urbanization, agricultural intensification, nuclear energy, economic growth, and artificial technologies in order to spare nature.