Yesterday’s Occupy Our Food Supply global day of action was by all accounts a resounding success. The day included more than 100 events across the globe that united an unprecedented alliance of more than 60 Occupy groups and 30 environmental, food justice, and corporate accountability organizations. It also featured prominent voices including Indian environmentalist Vandana Shiva, music legend Willie Nelson, actor Woody Harrelson, authors Raj Patel, Anna Lappé, Gary Paul Nabhan, Michael Ableman, Christopher Cook, and Marion Nestle, among others.
From Occupy groups to mommy bloggers, a broad spectrum of people responded to Occupy our Food Supply’s call to resist corporate consolidation of our food systems and create socially and environmentally just local solutions. The massive participation shows that this is an idea whose time has come: We must get big food giants like Cargill and Monsanto out of our food system.
We know Cargill felt the pressure because Mark Murphy, the company’s Asst. Vice President for Corporate Responsibility, spent his day defending the company with comments on Vandana Shiva’s Grist blog post. We also saw a smattering of defensive social media messages and even an official statement from Cargill specifically in response to Occupy Our Food Supply. Additionally, hundreds, if not thousands, of people took the time to personally call Cargill CEO Greg Page (its not too late, you can too! 1-800-CARGILL) to air their grievances and demand the company begin taking responsibility for the impacts of its business practices on people and ecosystems around the world. These companies are nervous because they see the power we build by joining together to create a better world, one where their profits don’t come first.
Across the globe, online and offline, thousands participated in yesterday’s events. Events included a 40 person seed exchange at the New York Stock Exchange hosted by Occupy Wall Street; the building of a community garden in East Oakland hosted by Occupy the Food System Oakland; the “labeling” of genetically modified foods at more than 20 Safeway and Whole Foods grocery stores across the country; and more than 100 people in Minnesota promoting a Cargill call-in day to CEO Greg Page. An “evict Monsanto” protest is planned for Feb 29th at the Monsanto offices in Lockhart, TX. Internationally, activists from Patagonia, Chile, Greece, Mexico, Canada, India, Spain, Brazil, and beyond organized for Occupy Our Food Supply. We stand united!
Occupy Our Food Supply also had an online face with a blogger and social media day of action, asking influential bloggers, social media users and blog sites to write on the corporate control of food. More than 75 blogs covered the day, from the prominent (Daily Kos and Huffington Post) to the niche (CivilEats and Curvy,Foody,Hungry). On Twitter, the event reported two to three posts per minute using the #F27 hasthtag.
The overwhelming support for Occupy our Food Supply underscores the unity between farmers, parents, health care professionals, human rights activists, food justice advocates and food lovers around the world who are increasingly viewing their concerns as different manifestations of the same underlying problem: a food system structured for short term profit instead of the long term health of people and the planet. It has been uniquely inspiring to see all of the enthusiasm for organizing against U.S.-based multi-national agribusiness corporations not only to protect our own land, air and water, but because of a profound desire to act in solidarity with those suffering globally at the hands of the corporations in our own backyards. Now that is a movement I am honored to be a part of.
Where do we go from here?
That is a fantastic question, and one with many answers. Please submit your ideas for how to move forward or events coming up in the comments section below.
Some upcoming events that we know of: InterOccupy planning for May 1 Food Justice/Food Sovereignty planning; the Just Label It campaign to label GMO’s; and of course RAN will keep demanding accountability from Cargill Inc. around its palm oil supply chain. #F27 is just the beginning of something big. Help shape what’s next — join the conversation and make it happen.
Thank you to everyone who made this day such a success and stay tuned for much more to come.
Some of our favorite imagery from Occupy Our Food Supply is below, but for the full visual experience you need to visit the Occupy Our Food Supply Photo blog. If you have images you want to share you can submit them to the photo blog here!