Friday Food Talk: Occupying Big Food

Here is an excerpt from an interesting article we spotted on Alternet.org about why we need to get over BIG FOOD now.  Hey hey ho ho big food’s got to go!  Here’s why:

by Christopher D. Cook,  author of Diet for a Dead Planet: Big Business and the Coming Food Crisis

It is no longer news that a few powerful corporations have literally occupied the vast majority of human sustenance….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.

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.

Consider a few quick facts:

  • Four corporations, led by Walmart, control more than half of grocery sales. Walmart alone gets more than one quarter of every grocery dollar spent in the U.S.
  • Three companies — Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta — own 47 percent of the world’s seeds. And they own 65 percent of the global proprietary maize market.
  • Nearly every major commodity — wheat, corn, soy — is controlled by just four corporations.
  • Just four corporations control more than 80 percent of all our meat supply.
  • According to USDA statistics, America loses more than 17,000 farmers a year — one every half an hour.

But at least McDonald’s, Walmart, Safeway, et al. offer us “cheap” food, right? Wrong again. We pay more than $100 billion a year in medical costs due to diet-related diseases from Big Food’s relentless production and marketing of junk “food” and highly processed foods. We pay countless more dollars for injured and maimed workers who risk life and limb daily on the fast-food assembly line; for environmental cleanups from factory farms’ rivers of toxic waste; and we pay roughly $15 billion a year, sometimes more, to subsidize corporate agribusiness commodities like corn and soy — our tax dollars financing unhealthy sweeteners for soda, and fast food, all those burgers and fries that seem so cheap.

(click here to read the entire article)

 

 

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