Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Ann E. Kingsolver

Second Advisor

Dr. Carmen Martínez Novo


Over the last four decades, farming families throughout North America experienced significant transitions due, in part, to the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. This multi-sited dissertation investigates the ways in which a network of binational (Mexican-American) families organize their small- to mid-scale farming enterprises, engage in global networks as food producers, and contribute to rural economies in the southeastern U.S. and the Mexican Bajío. To mitigate difficult transitions that came with the globalizing of agri-food markets, members of this extended family group created collaborative, kin-based arrangements to produce, distribute, and market fresh-market fruits and vegetables in the foothills of southern Appalachia and basic grains in the foothills of the Mexican Bajío. Members of extended binational families regularly negotiate social, economic, and political borders within and across regions, genders, and generations.

This study shows how these binational kin use cooperative practices to navigate two distinct, yet interrelated, contemporary agricultural political economic environments in North America. The study counter-constructs stereotypes of Latinx and their roles in southeastern U.S. agriculture by focusing on a vertically integrated, kin group of allied, migrant farming families and theorizing them as binational collective strategists. Their stories and strategies provide insight into the importance of temporalities and practices of kin relatedness to agri-food enterprises and suggest possibilities for alternative distributions of surplus value within the globalized agri-food system.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)