"They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization." Declaration of the Occupy Wall Street General Assembly, Sept. 30th.
This is the declaration that the Occupy Wall Street activists have made regarding our food system. It is just one of the many gross inequities they see perpetuated by our corporate dominated so-called democracy. Of those that know about the occupations taking place all over the country, the majority agree or sympathize with the cause, while a few think the protestors are just out-of-work complainers. (Funny how in Libya we call them "Freedom Fighters" and in our country we call them lazy whiners. Mmmm....). Anyways, how can you turn a complaint into a solution? Let's get busy talking....just keep the conversation civil. I don't want to hear any platitudes like "Life isn't fair", ok?
Here are my humble ideas, built upon a bit o' input from my blog readers. I start at the personal level (self) and then expand out from there into different spheres of influence. This is by no means rocket science, but rather a little food for thought-
- Buy Organic and/or low input foods (avoid potential poisons)
- Buy High-Welfare animal products (avoid negligent, cramped, & unsafe animal production)
- Buy Local & Small (avoid monopolies, avoid food miles which produce air pollution & contribute to climate change)
- Buy Family-Farmed (avoid monopolies, huge corporations, anonymous shareholder farming)
- Buy from Independent Grocers & Restaurants, especially those that purchase local & organic ingredients (build local economies, avoid monopolies, avoid potential poisons)
- Don't use poisons in your own yards & gardens (avoid potential poisons)
- Invest your money in local, organic farms (build local economies, decrease opportunities for monopolization, keep the potential poisons out of your back yard)
- Organize a farmers market, food buying club, CSA drop site, or food cooperative in your neighborhood or town (build local economies, avoid food monopolies)
- Get your local schools, parks, and towns to stop using pesticides in their landscaping, road maintenance, etc. (avoid potential poisons, avoid the monopolies that are producing the poisons)
- Share extra food from your garden with your neighbors, especially the poor (build resilient, local economies, avoid corporate food monopolies, spread health & wellness)
- Teach others in your community (local schools, churches, clubs, Scouts, etc.) how to produce food without poisions (avoid potential poisions, build local self-reliance)
- Build a diverse group of community stakeholders to form a Food Policy Council, a tool for implementing local-level change for a more sustainable, diverse food system that better meets local food security needs (build local food system, avoid monopolization of our food supply)
- Support the states and townships that have passed laws to disallow corporate ownership of farms and farmland (this does not preclude family corporations such as LLCs). Encourage your county, township, or state to do the same.
- Lend your voice to changing the rules how GIPSA (Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyard Administration of the USDA) regulates the meat packers which will help break up the huge meat packing monopolies that put a stranglehold on family-farmers across the country. Read here for more detail.
- Support the restrictions on pesticide use and the banning of the pesticide Bad Actors (which are those that are known or probable carcinogens & aquatic toxins, according to peer-reviewed science). Use the Precautionary Principle as a basis for pesticide science instead of "innocent until proven guilty", as is the current model.
- Support laws that limit the revolving-door between corporations and goverment agencies (like former Monsanto VP now heading the FDA!). This might limit corporate power in our so-called Democratic process.
- Support the Dept. of Justice investigations into meat packer and seed company monopolies. Encourage the DOJ to do their job and break up the monopolies. Don't buy from those monopolies (Monsanto, Syngenta, Dupont, Cargill, ADM, Bunge, Smithfield, Tyson, Dean Foods, Walmart, etc.) and instead support the myriad of local and regional businesses that supply our farm inputs and purchase farm commodities.
- Support a complete overhaul of the Farm Bill, reducing payments to large corporate agribusiness and instead building a system that supports the proliferation of more sustainable family farms!
Now what do YOU think? Anything to add or delete, in your opinion?