In just over a week’s time, thousands of people will descend on our food system by participating in a Global Day of Action to Occupy our Food Supply.
Prominent thought leaders, authors, farmers and activists like Vandana Shiva, Michael Pollan, Annie & Willie Nelson, Woody Harrelson, Raj Patel, Gary Paul Nabhan, Anna Lappé, Marion Nestle, Food Inc.’s Robert Kenner and Michael Ableman are adding their voices in support of a wide-ranging series of actions across the US and the globe.
On February 27, over 60 Occupy Wall Street groups as well as environmental and corporate accountability organizations are joining in solidarity to create healthy food systems and resist corporate control of our food supply. Individuals from Brazil, Hungary, Ireland, Argentina, the United States, and beyond are planning actions on the ground which include reclaiming unused bank-owned lots to create community gardens; identifying GMO and destructive products in grocery stores with stickers; protesting at Cargill-owned hedge fund offices; doing seed exchanges in front of stock exchanges; supporting community alliances to drive away Wal-Mart and dangerous, unethical food distributors; and fighting back against Monsanto’s revolving door into the FDA via Obama.
If you want to join the growing list of people Occupying Cargill, here is a quick guide.
It makes sense that food and farming should become a locus of attention for Americans disenchanted with consumer capitalism. Food is the place in daily life where corporatization can be most vividly felt: think about the homogenization of taste and experience represented by fast food. By the same token, food offers us one of the shortest, most appealing paths out of the corporate labyrinth, and into the sheer diversity of local flavors, varieties, and characters on offer at the farmers’ market.
The vision of this movement embodies the following ideas:
- Resist GMOs and genetic engineering
- Resist the privatization of seeds
- Resist the corporate consolidation of our food system
- Support family farmers
- Support sustainable agriculture and local food systems
- Fight the displacement of communities and forests for plantation crops like palm oil
- Demand food safety
- Get rid of Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs)
- Encourage people to buy local produce, to cook, and eat meals together
- Transform our relationship to food to know our farmer and where our food comes from
- Stand up for fair and just jobs for farm workers and food workers
- Make healthy, affordable, culturally-appropriate food accessible in low-income communities and communities of color
- End the revolving door of biotech executives in the FDA
- Support and stand in solidarity with local communities around the world who are reclaiming the food system in the name of justice and sustainability
As Michael Ableman — farmer, author, and founder of the Center for Urban Agriculture and SOLEfood — puts it:
The occupy movement has reminded us all of the incredible economic disparity that exist in our world and for this I thank them. But if we are going to focus on what we are for, as much as what we are against, we should occupy our land, re-occupy our soils with life and fertility, our communities with good food. Access to real food is the most basic of human rights, yet the responsibility for it has been almost entirely handed over to someone somewhere else, to a corporate industrial system where farms have become factories, food a faceless commodity, and eaters merely consumers. We can march on Wall Street, but we must also work to reclaim our food from corporate control and to rebuild the real economy, the one that is based on soil and seeds and sunlight, and on individuals and communities growing together.