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Agribusiness Accountability Project records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MS-0068

Scope and Content

The collection (1954-1976, undated) contains articles, biographical information, correspondence, memoranda, newspaper clippings, news releases, publications, reports, printed materials, research files, speeches, statements, book manuscripts, and responses to the first publication (Hard Tomatoes, Hard Times). The responses include editorials, articles and letters. The collection documents the work of the project in revealing the impact of corporate interests on the practice of agriculture in the United States.

In addition to general research materials documenting agribusiness, cooperatives, the land-grant college system, migrant workers, and urbanization, the collection contains the manuscripts and research files associated with Hard Tomatoes, Hard Times and Eat Your Heart Out. Hard Tomatoes, Hard Times and Eat Your Heart Out are the culmination and result of the AAP material that precedes these manuscripts in the collection. Subjects in the manuscript research files include the role of agribusiness and corporations in agriculture; migration from small farms to urban areas; migrant workers; nomination of Earl Butz as Secretary of Agriculture; rural social movements in the seventies; the land grant college system; food action campaign; cooperatives; farm taxation; and the National Farmers Organization.

After the task force report, Hard Tomatoes, Hard Times, by Jim Hightower came out, the AAP arranged to publish a trade edition with Schenkman Publishing Company (Cambridge, Massachusetts). Please note that the responses to the publication of Hard Tomatoes, Hard Times are towards the end of the collection. These may either refer to the original printing of the Report in 1972 or to the Schenkman publication of 1973 since the differences are minimal. The 1973 copy does have an extra appendix, N, entitled Senate Hearings: The Role of the Land Grant Colleges, June 19 and 20, 1972. The other manuscript, Eat Your Heart Out, was published by Crown Publishers, Incorporated. Titles in quotes are taken directly from the original file folder labels.


  • 1954-1976, undated


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


A public interest organization founded in 1970 and based in Washington, D.C., the Agribusiness Accountability Project (AAP) was the joint endeavor of three Washington public interest groups: the Project on Corporate Responsibility, the Center for Community Change, and the Washington Research Project. Funded by the Field Foundation and staffed by Jerry J. Berman, Jim Hightower, Nancy Mills, and Philip Sorensen, one of the goals of the Project was to serve as "an inquiry into the accountability of large American corporations and agribusiness interests for the plight and powerlessness of migrant and seasonal workers." Initially concerned with migrant and seasonal farm workers, it soon turned to additional issues such as corporate power in agriculture, the land grant college system, cooperatives, rural social movements, and tax loss farming.

The project resulted in the books Hard Tomatoes, Hard Times: The Failure of the Land Grant College Complex (1972) and Eat Your Heart Out: Food Profiteering in America (1975), both authored by Jim Hightower.


14.7 Linear Feet (in 35 document boxes.)

Language of Materials



The finding aid is organized with the formation, administration and general research materials in the front, followed by files related to the publications of Hard Tomatoes, Hard Times and then Eat Your Heart Out.

Related collection materials

Publications related to the collection, Hard Tomatoes, Hard Times (both the 1972 and 1973 versions) and Eat Your Heart Out, can be found in the library's book collections.

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

MS-0068. Agribusiness Accountability Project records, 1954-1976, undated
December 12, 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives Repository

403 Parks Library
701 Morrill Road
Iowa State University
Ames Iowa 50011-2102 United States
(515) 294-6672