We Must De-Occupy Big Food

PackagesFollowing on from Willie Nelson’s call to “Occupy The Food Supply”, Christopher D. Cook says we need to de-occupy the industrial “food” suppliers, writing at Alternet:

It is no longer news that a few powerful corporations have literally occupied the vast majority of human sustenance. The situation is perilous: nearly all of human food production, seeds, food processing and sales, is run by a handful of for-profit firms which, like any capitalist enterprise, function to maximize profit and gain ever-greater market share and control. The question has become: What do we do about this disastrous alignment of pure profit in something so basic and fundamental to human survival?

It is time — now, not next year — to de-occupy Walmart. And Archer Daniels Midland. And Tyson Foods. And Monsanto. And Cargill. And Kraft Foods. And the other large corporations that decide what ends up on our plates. Take all our money out, public and personal, from our shopping dollars to school district lunch contracts to the corporate subsidies that uphold these firms’ grip on our food supply, and invest it in a new system that’s economically diverse and ecologically sustainable.

These corporations’ stranglehold over food has wreaked havoc on the environment, our health, farmers, workers, and our very future. It is time for an end to Big Food, and a societal shift to something radically different. We all deserve a future where what we eat feeds community and land, instead of eroding soils, polluting water and air, and tossing away small farmers and immigrant workers as if they were balance sheet losers.

“Occupying the food system” has emerged as a rallying cry as activists and movements across the country, from Willie Nelson to more than 60 Occupy groups are turning up the heat on “big food” in nationwide actions today. Across the US, online and offline, thousands will be protesting icons of corporate control over food such as Monsanto and Cargill, and literally occupying vacant lots and tilling long-ignored soils in a mass-scale rejuvenation of community-led food production. (Find out more about the day of action here.)

“We want to ignite a robust conversation about corporate control of our food supply,” says Laurel Sutherlin, communications manager for Rainforest Action Network, a lead organizer in this growing coalition of food system occupiers. “Occupy has opened a national dialogue about inequality and the dangers of surrendering our basic life-support systems over to corporate control.”

The idea that food ought to be spared from the all-consuming machinery of corporate control has gained wide currency, but what does it mean to “occupy” and revamp our food system? Apart from our desire for local heirloom produce and artisanal cheeses, or to save the family farm, what’s wrong with a few corporations controlling our food supply?

“Occupying the food system is about taking it back from the corporations for the communities and for the people,” says Erin Middleton of the California Food and Justice Coalition. “Access to good, healthy, affordable food is a basic human right that has been interfered with in the current capitalistic food system.”…

[continues at Alternet]

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  • ZombieSlapper

    I’ll get right on that… Once I can afford to eat something other than ramen or mac & cheese.

  • Redbud34

    This is an excellent idea and not too soon. Is it not shocking the poison that is being sold at convenience stores everywhere? The same brands. The low quality frozen fried food, often at an outrageous price. It’s been said that food has become warfare, the corporations want your body, more specifically, what you put into your body. Why? To maximize profit and keep overhead as low as possible. That means as many cheap additives and other garbage. Seen a lot of Splenda lately?

  • D.D.B.

    Grow it yourself. Get involved with local farmers and buy direct! Cut out the middle men.
    Eat only foods that your great grandmother would recognize.
    No processed foods!
    If you cut off the head, the body will die.
                       RIP Monsanto

    • gwen jackson

      um, like, that would require occupiers to spend time doing WORK instead of making a media spectacle. They’ll start growing their own food as soon as ABC and CNN show up to film it…and the minute that camera crew is gone, they’ll be right back to drumming and shitting on your lawn.

      • Anti_Secret_Squirrel

        Have you ever participated in a protest of any type?  I have never saw anyone doing anything like this.  If anything the people at the “tea party” protests that I have went to would be the ones more likely to shit on your lawn than the “occupiers” due to the fact that most of them there have no idea the Earth is round and that human feces spreads disease.  There are many people in my area who have tried to get the local news to come to their community farm but that is not as “interesting” or “shocking” as cops abusing and arresting protesters.  Don’t get me wrong you will always have a bad apple in the crowd.  The only way in my opinion that you can get the full story is to go and experience all types of protests, rallies, e.c.t for your self from both sides instead of what is being spoon fed to you everyday by the media.

  • thecccdark

    De-Occupy? Maybe Vacate?
    When’s the vacation begin?

  • gwen jackson

    lol, Occupiers give up the convenience of the capitalist perks they claim to disapprove of so bitterly? Bullshit. For that they’d actually have to mean what they’re saying and put their money where their mouths are. It will NEVER HAPPEN. All any corporation has to do is send a free box of donuts to an Occupy rally and all will be forgotten. I’ll wait for Occupy to have any meaningful commitment to their so-called cause sometime after hell freezes over…and after all the Occupiers have posted video of it to Facebook using their I-Pad (for those of you deluded souls who still believe in Occupy and think I’m being unnecessarily harsh, Facebook and Apple are CORPORATIONS. see the hypocrisy? yeah, sometimes you people need an instruction manual, it’s okay, i know a lot of you went to public schools).
    next!

    • Anti_Secret_Squirrel

       But these large corporations own everything from the food supply to electronics.  It is not necessarily hypocrisy but the fact that a computer, iPhone, e.c.t. is a tool used to help us connect with other people and to help people get organized in order to push for a positive change.  When you buy a phone its OS is either a Microsoft or Apple (iOS) based system.  When you buy a computer or laptop its OS is either Microsoft or Apple.  They all use pretty much the same factories to make the same products from basically slave, child labor conditions.  But knowing all of this I can say it’s better to have tried (and possibly succeed) to push for change than to be the person who bitches all the time that everything sucks(boohoo) but that is the exact same person who is never at any rallies, meetings, and protests who have never even tried at all.

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