Occupy Our Food Supply 2012
On Monday, thousands of people are participating in a Global Day of Action to Occupy Our Food Supply. It’s time to come together to use the power of the collective to stand up for what is right for our health, our land, and our farmers. The food movement belongs to us all.
Michael Pollan expertly expressed in a 2010 article,
For some [me] in the [food] movement, the more urgent problem is environmental: the food system consumes more fossil fuel energy than we can count on in the future (about a fifth of the total American use of such energy) and emits more greenhouse gas than we can afford to emit, particularly since agriculture is the one human system that should be able to substantially rely on photosynthesis: solar energy. It will be difficult if not impossible to address the issue of climate change without reforming the food system.
Pollan goes on to discuss another urgent matter: public health. Did you know that the Centers for Disease Control estimates that a full three-quarters of American health care spending goes to treat chronic diseases, of which nearly all are preventable and linked to our food? These preventable chronic diseases include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and at least a third of all cancers.
I want to be very clear. This does not mean that all people who suffer from these diseases have brought it upon themselves through their choices of food, nor has a person eating a “healthy” diet who has not suffered from a chronic illness necessarily prevented that through their diet. The problem is systemic.
Whether or not you may believe in what the Occupy movement did, if you read this blog and many others like it, you will find a lot to believe in about changing the direction of our food supply. People and organizations from author Michael Pollan to the National Family Farms Coalition to Marion Nestle, Ph.D., M.P.H., author and professor of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health are all standing together reclaim our food system, and through food protect our health, our environment, and our communities.
The Vision Of The Food Movement
The vast majority of people will believe in at least one of the core values of this day of action:
- 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
Changing How We Think About Food
How many people were cheering about the Chipotle commercial that aired during the Grammys? And that was just animation based on something less than reality, particularly for any fast food company. I applaud their support of going “Back to the Start” and love even more that Willie Nelson lends his voice to the soundtrack (as he also lends his support to Occupy Our Food Supply), but we need to get real about what it is going to take to change how we view, grow, and eat food. It is truly as simple as that.
Room For Debate from the NY Times just discussed the much debated Farm Bill, and the much needed changes needed. What do we need more of? We need more organics, more farmers growing real food, and fewer subsidies for monoculture, GMOs, and biofuels . As individuals, it is the time to make our voices be heard about what our food should look like and what types of conditions it should be raised, or grown, in.
Fortunately, while much of mainstream agriculture has focused on an increasing reliance on chemicals and biotech engineered seeds, over the past 40 years a new breed of farmer has developed highly sophisticated ways of farming with nature that promote soil health, higher nutrient value of food and increased farm income.
Let me hear it now:
“What do we want?”
“Local, seasonable, organic, fair-trade, and sustainable!”
“When do we want ’em?”
Once more with feeling now…
Come back on Feb. 27th to find out how you can help support this Global Day of Action, whether you can attend a local event near you or just from home. Are you willing to stand up for better food for all?