Occupy Our Food Supply!

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.

Wheat Field: Global Day of Action to Occupy our Food Supply

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?”

“Now!”

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?

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Occupy Our Food Supply! — 34 Comments

  1. Pingback: Take Action: Occupy Our Food Supply! | A green living, green parenting blog

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  3. Pingback: Almost All the Truth - The SITS Girls

  4. I’m a vegetarian and a gardener so you’re preaching to the choir here! Wonderful, thorough post. I’m delighted that you’re raising at least three people who will be informed about what they eat!
    Louise Ducote recently posted..The Knitting Bartender

  5. Just came over from SITS. I have a whole list of Michael Pollan books on my to-read list! My husband and I recently have been trying to make a concerted effort to be more aware of where our food comes from. We are fortunate to live in an area that has a ton of farmers markets. Even though it costs more to buy produce and meat from there, we have found we waste less because we really think about what we buy and savor it more, and you can really taste the difference. Plus we are huge proponents of supporting local businesses and small farms! Looking forward to checking out more of your blog.
    Bev recently posted..Sneak Peek!

  6. Stopping by from SITS.

    Since my weight loss journey began in January, I have become far more aware of the foods I put into my body. I still eat boxed, processed foods and enjoy less than healthy options but I am at least aware of the damage it can cause to my health and my waistline.

    What I’ve learned (partly through reading Michael Pollan’s work) is that we have become a nation of boxed, processed foods and quick meals that have little or no nutritional value. Hamburger Helper is marketed heavily on television whereas encouragement to make a similar meal with fresh vegetables, whole wheat noodles, quality beef, or cheese that isn’t dried into a powder is not.

    I sometimes worry we’re fighting a losing battle. How do we turn around decades of poor eating habits? How do we change our view on food? How do we educate and encourage without seeming pushy? The only answer I can come up with is to tackle it one step at time.
    Kim @ Coffee Pot Chronicles recently posted..No Trespassing! A Run-In with the CHP

  7. This is very interesting!! I agree that organic local food is better for people and the environment, but I am more libertarian in that I think when you try to force people to change through government intervention, it will only make people look for loopholes – they won’t change their ways unless they have a change of heart. The best way to do that is to affect their wallets – by buying organic whenever and as much as we can! Local farmers markets should take food stamps as well!
    Rebecca Rider recently posted..Looking at the Bigger Picture – Who Wants To Cook in a Dirty Kitchen?

    • I think there are a couple of different ways to effect change: pressure on government, pressure on corporations, and education for consumers. Depending on the issue, some approaches work better than others and it also depends on how quickly we can expect change. For now, I will continue to work on all three.

      The food stamps issue is an interesting one because in my area many of the farmers markets do accept our state’s food stamps. This would be agreat way for government to get involved and make some changes.

  8. Visiting from SITS. I enjoyed your post a lot. There’s so much information out there. When I was in college I read the newly published book Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. We’ve come a long way in time but not so much in dealing with these issues.

    As a person allergic to most antibiotics, I wish we did what England did decades ago, ban giving healthy animals antibiotics. Our property is pesticide and herbicide free except for organic compounds that are made from real ingredients like cinnamon.

    Thank you for putting a new voice for this life issue. Thanks also for the chronic illness awareness.
    Sheila Skillingstead recently posted..Time: Prioritizing, finding, and wasting

    • Affordable is the tough piece of the equation, especially when you consider short-term affordability can lead to long-term expense for our health. There are a lot of complexities in the food system, but the simple fact is that huge factory farms who put profits over our health and the health of the land are the ones who can make their food more affordable because we allow it. If we can stand up against that and support our local family farmers, I think we can see a shift in what is affordable in the short-term.

  9. Hi Brenna!

    This is such an important message. When I became sick a few years ago and had some issues with my endocrine system, I made huge changes in my life and started watching not only what food I ate, but where it came from.

    Thanks for spreading the message and encouraging people to buy local, seasonable, organic, fair-trade, and sustainable!

    ~Charmin
    Charmin @ the Momiverse recently posted..The Momiverse featured in the Daily Buzz Healthy Living Top 9!

  10. I love this post. Great title for it too!

    I agree with you about being concerned and taking measures to learn about what the deal is with our food. Especially after I found out that pigs won’t go near bio-genetically engineered corn. That pretty much tells the story of just one thing that they’ll try to pass onto to us, thinking that we’re all that dumb and can be duped into (eating) anything.
    Go figure.

    Love you blog!
    PS Happy Belated SITS Day!
    Carlo/Carlo At Your Service Productions recently posted..How To Get Your Party Some Self-Help

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