Pushing Back the Corporate Food Regime
Food is the basis of life. We need it to live. It is as simple as that. The UN declares, “the right to adequate food is a long-standing international human right.” But the aim of 21st century capitalism is not primarily to promote our well-being and health, it is to control markets and maximize profits. The production of food is a gigantic global enterprise dominated by a handful of mega-corporations: General Mills, Pepsi, Nestle, Unilever and Coca-Cola. While they do well, hunger and food insecurity effects billions of people around the world including tens of millions in the U.S. Communities are pushing back the corporate food regime by establishing coops. Environmental and food activist Vandana Shiva of India says, “Food has been transformed into a commodity, destroying farmers’ livelihoods, destroying the health of the planet and the health of people.” She calls on us “to become the change we want to see in the food system, so it nourishes the Earth and all beings.”
Eric Holt-Gimenez is the executive director of FoodFirst/Institute for Food and Development Policy. He is the author of Campesino a Campesino: Voices from Latin America’s Farmer to Farmer Movement and co-author with Raj Patel of Food Rebellions! Crisis and the Hunger for Justice.
Jonathan Allen –
Holt-Gimenez’s talk begins with a historical gestalt that made my synapses light up like a switchboard.
Ever wonder how ‘colonialism’ morphed into ‘industrialism’? Well, weak as I am in modern history, I have. Then Holt-Gimenez’s opening citation and explication of the Irish Potato Famine landed on me. As of the mid-19th-century, the same, irreducibly plutocratic and racist interests were fluent in both practices.
Which (to wallow in the now-obvious) is the historical backdrop for the more recent phenomenon, of old-fashioned industrialism being neocolonistically exported to the Third World. …Even while the prevailing economic model of the Third World, in terms of its attendant economic demographics (minus industrialism, our duly esteemed head of state notwithstanding), is being imported all its way back to its countries of origin.
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