Richard Croxdale

“(N)othing much happened in Texas until Jim Hightower was elected in 1983. He roared into office with a goal of improving family farmer’s opportunities to make a living. Farmers Market was seen as a tool to provide more of the value of the produce to the farmers and less to the dreaded middleman. It also provided healthier, tastier, and more nutritious produce to the good citizens of Texas. But Farmer’s Markets in Texas didn’t just spring out of the earth like mushrooms, which, I might point out, that now, thank the heavens and Hightower, a wide variety of mushrooms of different tastes and shapes and medicinal properties are available at those ubiquitous farmers markets.
Farmer’s Markets needed to be marketed and sold. The Texas Department of Agriculture in the 80s did just that. The TDA was concerned with the survival of the family farm, the numbers of which were dwindling rapidly. A Marketing Department was created to help small family farmers find markets, create new markets and take a higher percent of value of old markets.”

Richard Croxdale is a professor of economics at Austin Community College. He has been director of research for People’s History in Texas since 1979. He is the principal researcher, scriptwriter, and editor on every project, including Talkin’ Union, The Stand-Ins, Building Hope: The New Deal and Texas Farms and The Rag. Read Richard’s articles at

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