Willie Nelson Says We Must Occupy Our Food Supply

Willie and co-author Anna Lappe write at Huffington Post:

Our food is under threat. It is felt by every family farmer who has lost their land and livelihood, every parent who can’t find affordable or healthy ingredients in their neighborhood, every person worried about foodborne illnesses thanks to lobbyist-weakened food safety laws, every farmworker who faces toxic pesticides in the fields as part of a day’s work.

Over the last thirty years, we have witnessed a massive consolidation of our food system. Never have so few corporations been responsible for more of our food chain. Of the 40,000 food items in a typical U.S. grocery store, more than half are now brought to us by just 10 corporations. Today, three companies process more than 70 percent of all U.S. beef, Tyson, Cargill and JBS. More than 90 percent of soybean seeds and 80 percent of corn seeds used in the United States are sold by just one companyMonsanto. Four companies are responsible for up to 90 percent of the global trade in grain. And one in four food dollars is spent atWalmart.

What does this matter for those of us who eat? Corporate control of our food system has led to the loss of millions of family farmers, the destruction of soil fertility, the pollution of our water, and health epidemics including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even certain forms of cancer. More and more, the choices that determine the food on our shelves are made by corporations concerned less with protecting our health, our environment, or our jobs than with profit margins and executive bonuses…

[continues at Huffington Post]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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23 Comments on "Willie Nelson Says We Must Occupy Our Food Supply"

  1. Hadrian999 | Feb 25, 2012 at 6:52 pm |

    willie has been at this quite a while, I remember watching him at one of the Farm Aid shows, this consolidated industrial farming will be the death of us all, we need less people and more sustainable farming if we intend to last much longer

    • De Carabas | Feb 25, 2012 at 8:16 pm |

      Out of curiosity, what do you suggest we do to have fewer people? I have found that usually when people say that(most often without any explanation as to why), they fall back on one of a few non-starter “solutions.” Either its reproductive restrictions that would make Hitler go a big rubbery one, or some fantasy of billions of people voluntarily deciding that they will do without children and the continuation of their line, or some bizarre misanthropic wet dream of mass death and destruction resulting from any number of unlikely scenarios. From reading your posts you seem to be a thoughtful and rather articulate person, so I would love to hear what your ideas on the subject are.

      • Hadrian999 | Feb 25, 2012 at 8:41 pm |

         i don’t know really, hard restrictions on reproductions tend to have nasty unintended consequences, I would like to do it with education but that takes time, I’m afraid we are going to get to the point when we can’t chemically sustain high enough yields in our unsustainable farming methods and there will be an all too natural reduction in population. I’m sorry I’m not terribly optimistic Thomas Malthus warned us about 200 years ago and we haven’t managed to do anything about it .

    • It’s one of those situations where if people can’t manage their baby output / resource hogging, it’ll be managed for us when the Malthusian vectors intersect.

      Suggested reading: ISHMAEL by Daniel Quinn.

      • TruthersSoSmart | Feb 26, 2012 at 3:21 am |

        What happens when you are in a situation where people are pumping out dumb kids, and you are smart?  The only moral solution is to pump out more smart kids and train them to outcompete and lead.  Any other solution leads to Godwin’s Law.

        • It’s a terrible thing to have to face,  but perhaps “high intelligence” isn’t a successful survival strategy for a species, after all.

          What’s even worse… it could be that the smarter we are, the faster we are dooming ourselves.

      • Glad someone else enjoyed that book, and perhaps the 2 others of the same ilk.

    • I completely disagree with you there, we have the technology and ability to make sure every person is on Earth is fed, (no matter what their station or situation is in life)- in fact all basics needs met.  However, it is not in the interests of the few to allow this to happen – they’d rather allow people to starve to keep their monopoly on money and power – it is easier to control people with carrot and stick: reward them with money for doing what you want and if they don’t or can’t, cut them off, restrict their inflow of money: they become homeless, can’t adequately feed themselves or their family – It’s a Gun to the head, sell your soul or live in the gutter.  
        The consolidation of food controlled by a few corporations just makes it worse –  if the shit hits the fan, the supply chain of food stops and people starve. If anyone thinks that’s is unlikely, these companies already regularly let people go undernourished in countries where a lot of the food is grown, so we the westerners, (the drones of the system) can become fat. 
        So it is not the population that is causing the World problems, but the mindset of the masses and the power-mongering of the few.  Where people basic needs are met: shelter, food, basic security etc, the population equals out.
        With our mastery over the environment and technological ability we could make a Heaven on Earth —- but instead we choose war, destruction, corruption, control of others (think as we do or die).  We like to think we are oh so advanced, but truth is we still in a feudal system (under the guise of democracy and free-market capitalism – illusions) and most of us are just stupid peasants  caught up in the dazzling dream of monetary success and materialism.  
      This Earth is heading to hell fast and you know what, perhaps we deserve it. 

      • Hadrian999 | Feb 25, 2012 at 10:41 pm |

         with our mastery over the environment….is that the mastery that is causing dead zones in the gulf of mexico due to the runoff of fertilizers in the Midwest that are being used to maintain high yields, or fishing grounds being quickly depleted to the point of never recovering such as in the sea of japan, all this technology that is allowing us to keep up for now is rising, peak oil is a reality, what do you think is going to happen to the price of food when that really starts to hit hard, the technology you think is going to feed a world with 10 billion plus people is science fiction

        • TruthersSoSmart | Feb 26, 2012 at 3:19 am |

           “Technology” doesn’t always imply a dead-end solution based on machines.  There are other ways, organic, labor-intensive.  We can support the people, so long as they contribute to their own survival.  But the feed-all-the-lazies-with-no-work utopia looks like it is destined for the fiction bin.

          •   I totally agree with the first part what you said
              The bit about lazy people not so much, as we do it all the time – people who are born or who come into wealth far beyond there effort can be the laziest people and yet they can have pretty much whatever they want.   People should contribute to their own survival as you said, yet it only needs minimum effort from people to achieve that, for our needs to be met. 
              We live under a system which has replaced for large part, the dependency on laws of nature with a now dependency on laws of the few.  We are so conditioned that most think that it is the only and best way to do things. I choose to believe there is a better way… 

        • biodynamic | Feb 26, 2012 at 12:47 pm |

          Organic Aquaculture. Local food. Sustainable. Creates jobs.

          • Hadrian999 | Feb 26, 2012 at 1:25 pm |

             I believe in those things, but i don’t think they will be able to keep up with our exponential growth rate

  2. GoodDoktorBad | Feb 25, 2012 at 7:17 pm |

    “…We need to work to rebuild the real economy, the one based on seeds and sunlight and individuals and communities growing together.” (from source article)

    There are few statements more relevent to today’s issues…..

  3. church of ZED | Feb 26, 2012 at 12:16 am |

    Willie is right.

  4. He’s got the munchies again.

  5. If you have a yard, start a vegetable garden.

  6. We MUST occupy a lot of things.  But the Masses think of the campaign as a joke.  Read comments from your fellow man, it’s disheartening to see soooo many people conform to the ruling class and big corporations.  Corporations are manipulating prices on just about every thing and the common man is too accepting of lies given to them.

    One of our major problem that needs to be addressed is the outrageous prices at the gas pumps.  There are no oil shortages and Big Oil have been reporting ridiculous quarterly profits.  Keep in mind what they have reported is most likely many times more than that.  A staggering amount looted from the people.  And yet, no protests.

    Big Oil has single handed destroyed Global Economy and have not been held accountable.

  7. FREAKpowerULTD | Feb 27, 2012 at 12:29 pm |

    We haven’t reached the carrying capacity of the earth quite yet and we have a window of opportunity which we must seize IMMEDIATELY in order to make it through without chaos and die-off. One thing we have to do is convince the third world that they shouldn’t want to live like us and we have to cast off our capitalist/consumerist way of life. People are going to have to be convinced of the realities of exponential growth and curb their reproductive habits accordingly. If you think about how much resources the first world consumes then you realize the most immediate problem is consumption rather than population, i.e. a rather small portion of world population is consuming an exorbitant amount of resources. Also, if you’ve read Daniel Quinn, he talks about how food production feeds population. The U.S. needs to scale down food exports and populations need to focus on local self sustainable agriculture. Basically a third world revolt against the monoeconomies created by the IMF/World Bank and American imperialism over the last few decades. When we localize our economies we will become more adaptable and resilient. It becomes a whole new ball game. Remember: the central planners are our worst enemies.

    • Jin The Ninja | Feb 27, 2012 at 2:18 pm |

       great comment, agree 100%. i think inequitable division of resources/aerable land is a tremendous problem, that often goes unmentioned in discussions of pop’n. western civilization has created these inequities (if poverty and famine and war can for a second be diminished to one word…) and perpetuates them by a disposable fast-food consumer culture of waste- it’s not that we CANNOT feed billions of people, but that we cannot feed billions of people when america, europe, aus and canada consume 3/4th of that produced.

  8. UnionJackJamesBond | Feb 27, 2012 at 1:34 pm |

    You know, it’s not just US farmers needing to defend their food, but farmers GLOBALLY! US food products are stuffing the shelves at my local CANADIAN supermarket, and our farmers are going out of business. The government is completely stupid because they don’t seem to realize that by losing our farmers, we lose our self-dependency. What happens if the US gets invaded and we don’t have their export? WE STARVE! Canada and THE WHOLE WORLD needs to wake up and figure out that WE DON’T NEED AMERICA and we need to invest in OUR farmers, OUR agriculture, and OUR FOOD! If we bought more from local farmers and gave them money and land to produce more food, we could probably supply food for our whole country PLUS export to other countries, but we need to get off of the American teat!

    • Jin The Ninja | Feb 27, 2012 at 2:12 pm |

      i don’t disagree with what you said above, but how is that you are not seriously disturbed by british imperialism AND at the same time CDN AND at the same time rallying AGAINST globalisation/american imperialism?????

      i know many of the upper and lower canada wasp types are very pro-monarchy, but seriously? and in light of what the british and their corporations did to aboriginal peoples which was atrocious/and genocidal!! how can you argue that british imperialism was of a kinder more gentler sort?

  9. i wonder why no one brings a couch and some multimedia device to one of these events, wallstreet has helped people master sitting in one place zoned out for a long time, use all the goodies purchased before the crash and not repoed that back at ’em

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