Environmental injustice in North Carolina’s hog industry
Lessons learned from community-driven participatory research and the “people’s professor”
in Toxic truths

The global epicenter of industrial hog production is in North Carolina (NC), USA. There, approximately 9 million hogs are raised for meat production in over 2,000 industrial hog operations (IHO) across the state. This area is also situated within the Black Belt, a geopolitical region marred by over 400 years of slavery and ongoing government-sanctioned violence. This chapter elevates the triumphs and lessons gained from actors heavily involved in both the continuing legal action against the hog industry and the NC government, as well as the community-driven participatory research (CDPR) that exposed their underlying environmental injustice and racism. This chapter first explores the history, impact, and political influence of the hog industry. Then, we summarize and celebrate the influential CDPR studies conducted by Professor Steve Wing in collaboration with community-based organizations such as the Rural Empowerment Association for Community Help (REACH) and the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network (NCEJN). Next, we present lessons learned from these CDPR studies for those from all backgrounds working in partnership to envision and build a future where environmental justice is actualized. Finally, this chapter honors Professor Wing as the “people’s professor,” urging academics to consult his work as a guide for transforming their own research practice.

Toxic truths

Environmental justice and citizen science in a post-truth age

Editors: Thom Davies and Alice Mah


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