Isabella R. Kenfield
Isabella Rennie Kenfield
"Born and raised in New Jersey, Isabella Kenfield first discovered the centrality of agrarian reform in the context of development when she studied abroad in South Africa through the Rutgers University, when she wrote her honors thesis on land reform policy in post-apartheid South Africa. After graduating from Rutgers with a B.A. in anthropology and journalism in 1998, she lived in Washington DC for two years, where she worked at two large international development NGOs.
"Her DC experience was important to Ms. Kenfield´s politicization, providing her with an understanding of the neoliberal development model that emerged from the Washington Consensus, in particular how the interest of US political and economic dominance is always embedded in development efforts by NGOs that receive funding from the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and USAID. As she watched the smoking Pentagon from her office window on 9/11, she was shocked, but not surprised.
"In 2002 Ms. Kenfield entered the Community Development department at the University of California, Davis to obtain her masters degree. She returned to South Africa in 2004 to conduct research for her thesis on farm worker equity share schemes for land redistribution, a World Bank-inspired, and USAID-funded, land reform model. At the same time as her research heightened her politicization of mainstream land reform policies, she learned about the Brazilian Movement of the Landless Rural Workers (MST) and became impassioned with the concepts of the social function of property, and non-violent land occupations. At UC Davis she worked for the UC Small Farm Program, which heightened her understanding of how agrarian reform and small-scale, agroecological farming are inseparable, as well as the growing threat of agribusiness worldwide;
"While in California, she entered the Oakland-based Friends of the MST, and began working directly with the MST on its Bionatur agroecological seed production initiative. In 2005, Ms. Kenfield went to Brazil for the first time, and in 2006 returned to Brazil for the third time with the intent to build a life there. She currently resides in Curitiba, Paraná, working as a freelance journalist and as a volunteer with the NGOs and social movements engaged in the struggle for agrarian reform. With Terra de Direitos, she coordinated the International Campaign to Support the Via Campesina Occupation of Syngenta, and pressure for its expropriation. A decree to expropriate Syngenta´s site was signed by Governor Requião on November 9, 2006." 
- Recipient of the 2006 Samuel Chavkin Investigative Journalism Award, administered by the North American Congress on Latin America
- Associate, Global Alternatives
- Formerly serves as the ]rimary U.S. contact for Bionatur
- Former Project Assistant, Center for Social Marketing and Behavior Change (10/99 – 2/01), ACCIÓN International
- Member of the Advisory Committee to the Brazil Strategy Network
- “Brazil's Ethanol Plan Breeds Rural Poverty, Environmental Degradation.” IRC Americas. March 2007
- “The Struggle for the Expropriation of Syngenta: Showdown Between the Social Movements and Agribusiness in Brazil.” Z-Net. January 2007.
- “Brazilian Governor Moves to Expropriate Land from Agribusiness Multinational Syngenta.” Z-Net. December 2006.
- “Monsanto’s Seeds of Corruption in Brazil.” North American Congress on Latin America. October 2006
- “Broadening the Discourse of ‘Negotiated Land Reform’: A Comparison Between Land Reform Projects in South Africa and Brazil.” Land Research Action Network. March 2006.
Resources and articles
Related Sourcewatch articles
- Isabella R. Kenfield, Global Alternatives, accessed September 25, 2008.