Action Alert

Fair trade or free trade? Let your voice be heard on Minnesota’s future!

The Obama Administration is negotiating two new mega trade deals (one with Pacific Rim countries, another with Europe) entirely in secret, with the goal of further expanding the NAFTA-model of free trade. These trade agreements could have major impacts on Minnesota's farmers, workers, small business owners and rural communities. They could limit Minnesota’s ability to support local food and energy systems and grow local businesses. In order to stay up to speed, Minnesota has set up a new Trade Policy Advisory Council (TPAC) to advise the state legislature and Governor.

TPAC wants to hear from Minnesotans: What concerns do you have about free trade? What role could TPAC play in the future? Now is your opportunity to have a say in our future trade policy. Complete the survey and let them know future trade negotiations should be public, not secret. Help ensure the voices of all Minnesotans are heard in the development of trade agreements and that they protect local control and our quality of life. The free trade model has failed for Minnesota and we need a new approach to trade. Help ensure the voices of all Minnesotans are heard before trade agreements are completed, and that they protect local control, our natural resources and our quality of life.

Please take five minutes and complete the survey. To find out more about these trade agreements, go to

Dr. M. Jahi Chappell

Director of Agroecology and Agriculture Policy

Telephone (612) 870-3434
Email Jahi

In his path to IATP, M. Jahi Chappell has been a bodywash formulation engineer, agroecologist, science and technology studies postdoc, and assistant professor of environmental science and justice. He has worked with and consulted for groups like Via Campesina, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the urban agriculture nonprofits Growing Hope (Ypsilanti, Mich.) and Growing Gardens (Portland, Ore.). In academia, his research in political agroecology combined conservation biology, political economy and ecology, science and technology studies, sociology, and ecological economics to create a unique understanding of the stakes and opportunities within contemporary food systems. He is a leading scholar of the food security policies of the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, which served as a basis for Brazil’s acclaimed national Zero Hunger programs. The underlying purpose of his work has been and continues to be the construction of a participatory, socially just, ecologically sustainable food system that serves and supports both farmers and citizens (not just “consumers”!). His experiences across sectors and countries has helped him learn how to listen to and work with a wide diversity of groups.

He holds a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemical Engineering (both from the University of Michigan), and conducted postdoctoral research at Cornell University. He served as Chair of the Agroecology Section of the Ecological Society of America from 2012–14.