This chapter introduces the concept of the Farms Race and how it links to the weaponization of American supermarkets during the Cold War. The connections between supermarket retailing and industrial agricultural supply chains are introduced, highlighting the ways in which this book is not a traditional business history but is instead a history of capitalism that uses supermarkets as a lens into the workings of industrial agriculture. The introduction also explains why the book is not a military or diplomatic history of the Cold War, or a study framed primarily by the concept of “Americanization.” American supermarkets were machines for selling goods as well as ideas, for enabling as well as constraining the choices made by food producers and consumers. As such, they were instruments of power.
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