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Forum Post: Willie Nelson: Occupy the Food System

Posted 2 years ago on Dec. 17, 2011, 2:26 p.m. EST by anonwolf (279) from West Peoria, IL
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Thanks to the Occupy Wall Street movement, there's a deeper understanding about the power that corporations wield over the great majority of us. It's not just in the financial sector, but in all facets of our lives. The disparity between the top 1 percent and everyone else has been laid bare - there's no more denying that those at the top get their share at the expense of the 99 percent. Lobbyists, loopholes, tax breaks... how can ordinary folks expect a fair shake?

No one knows this better than family farmers, whose struggle to make a living on the land has gotten far more difficult since corporations came to dominate our farm and food system. We saw signs of it when Farm Aid started in 1985, but corporate control of our food system has since exploded.

From seed to plate, our food system is now even more concentrated than our banking system. Most economic sectors have concentration ratios hovering around 40 percent, meaning that the top four firms in the industry control 40 percent of the market. Anything beyond this level is considered "highly concentrated," where experts believe competition is severely threatened and market abuses are likely to occur.

Many key agricultural markets like soybeans and beef exceed the 40 percent threshold, meaning the seeds and inputs that farmers need to grow our crops come from just a handful of companies. Ninety-three percent of soybeans and 80 percent of corn grown in the United States are under the control of just one company. Four companies control up to 90 percent of the global trade in grain. Today, three companies process more than 70 percent of beef in the U.S.; four companies dominate close to 60 percent of the pork and chicken markets.

Our banks were deemed too big to fail, yet our food system's corporations are even bigger. Their power puts our entire food system at stake. Last year the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Justice (DOJ) acknowledged this, hosting a series of workshops that examined corporate concentration in our farm and food system. Despite the hundreds of thousands of comments from farmers and eaters all over the country, a year later the USDA and DOJ have taken no action to address the issue. Recent decisions in Washington make clear that corporate lobbyists have tremendous power to maintain the status quo.

In November, the Obama administration delivered a crushing blow to a crucial rule proposed by the USDA (known as the GIPSA rule), which was meant to level the playing field for independent cattle ranchers. The large meatpackers, who would have lost some of their power, lobbied hard and won to leave the beef market as it is - ruled by corporate giants. In the same month, new school lunch rules proposed by the USDA that would have brought more fresh food to school cafeterias were weakened by Congress. Food processors - the corporations that turn potatoes into French fries and chicken into nuggets - spent $5.6 million to lobby against the new rules and won, with Congress going so far as agreeing to call pizza a vegetable. Both decisions demonstrate that corporate power wins and the health of our markets and our children loses.

Despite all they're up against, family farmers persevere. Each and every day they work to sustain a better alternative - an agricultural system that guarantees farmers a fair living, strengthens our communities, protects our natural resources and delivers good food for all. Nothing is more important than the food we eat and the family farmers who grow it. Corporate control of our food system has led to the loss of millions of family farmers, destruction of our soil, pollution of our water and health epidemics of obesity and diabetes.

We simply can't afford it. Our food system belongs in the hands of many family farmers, not under the control of a handful of corporations.

Full repost of: http://www.readersupportednews.org/opinion2/441-occupy/8948-occupy-the-food-system

35 Comments

35 Comments


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[-] 2 points by Nevada1 (4790) 2 years ago

Hi anonwolf, Good Post. Best Regards, Nevada

[-] 2 points by CobyART5 (59) 2 years ago

Monsanto Monstrosity!

[-] 1 points by jomojo (562) 2 years ago

Occupy the fields.

[-] 1 points by jomojo (562) 2 years ago

Farmers in Congress. Who do you think they are. What products do their actions promote. What do they get in return? Do any run, (or help), USDA Certified Organic farms?

[-] 1 points by OccupytheNews (12) from Bremerton, WA 2 years ago

Anyone who has not seen the documentary Food Inc really ought to.

[-] 1 points by jomojo (562) 2 years ago

Monsanto DIE_IT. Like wall street, the devil is in the details, hidden in full sight on YOUR plate. (or in the baby's formula). The European Union, and much of the world knows more about our farm products than we do. Food is one of the purchases we all make that is still mostly made in America. I shop for ones that are USDA Organic Certified. (non frankenfood or Genetically Modified Organisms, which are legally substantially the same as food). If consumers stop buying GMO American food, then how much will be lost? Then all that farm land could be used for parking and subdivisions. Foreign aid is being used to blackmail countries to allow our GMO food, against their people's will. Buy Local.

[-] 1 points by blackbloc (-19) 2 years ago

some family farms are great organic, free range, ethical farms however many small family farms are worth in excess of 1 million dollars and completely unethical(illegal labor, dangerous work conditions, low wages, supporting monsanto/big oil) all while they make huge profits at times now i realize not all farms are like this soooo it is touchy for the super well informed. what we really need is a food revolution it needs to be local, organic, free range, affordable, diverse, and healthy, we need local vacant lot and back yard gardens and hightech hydroponic "factory green house" gardens, now of course you can still import and ship food goods but if we would just plan and build some holistic/technologically integrated cities we would be on our way but we need a shift in consciousness for at least 1 in 3 towards a total holistic/pluralistic approach to life mind, body, spirit, and the environment

[-] 1 points by Nevada1 (4790) 2 years ago

Hi blackblock, Good post. Best Regards, Nevada

[-] 1 points by Nevada1 (4790) 2 years ago

Thank you for link. We planted an organic garden this year (in pots), and it really helped. We have land to use, and next season the garden will be much larger. So much gained for little investment. Like you are saying, use every available space for quality food production, and it will make a big difference.

[-] 1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

http://eatwild.com/products/index.html

Click on your state. The whole thing is to get it from farm to table and bypass factory farms. I have never met a farm that did not allow you to visit.

[-] 0 points by economicallydiscardedcitizen (761) 2 years ago

GirlFriday, Thanks for that link! Here's a couple more: www.angelicorganics.com

http://www.localharvest.org/csa/

[-] 1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

Hey, thanks for angelicorganics. I had the local harvest site but had not been to this one.

[-] 0 points by economicallydiscardedcitizen (761) 2 years ago

You're welcome. Farmer John's movie is really a great example of how one person who is dedicated and patient can do so much!

[-] 0 points by blackbloc (-19) 2 years ago

i will check it out thanks

[-] 1 points by demcapitalist (977) 2 years ago

Good points ! I want to hear more about how we might get food production back into the hands of family farmers. I don't know anything about those laws. I can tell you the laws changes that ran the economy into the ground but I'm not so good with food laws.

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 2 years ago

pizza as a vegetable

that is a fair enough reason to toss everyone who voted in favor of such bullshit.

[-] 0 points by economicallydiscardedcitizen (761) 2 years ago

ZenDog, You just took the words right out of my mouth. Pizza as a vegetable indeed!

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 2 years ago

what the fuck are they thinking?

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[-] -1 points by DunkiDonut2 (-108) 2 years ago

Wilie Nelson has failed to pay taxes on his wealth which means someone went hungry because he was smoking dope. Great example.

[-] 0 points by economicallydiscardedcitizen (761) 2 years ago

No, several more people got fed who otherwise would not have due to bureaucratic red tape. Black market economies actually contribute to mainstream economies although it is true humanitarian violations occur on a greater scale within them: just think about the usage of illegal immigrants in various industries as one example. Why do businesses turn a blind eye to illegal immigrants in their employ or boldly use them? Profitability...

[-] 1 points by blackbloc (-19) 2 years ago

you have the best name ever

[-] 0 points by economicallydiscardedcitizen (761) 2 years ago

Thanks. It's how I feel about the whole economic mess personally,locally, nationally and globally.

[-] 0 points by blackbloc (-19) 2 years ago

my sociology professor told me in 95 that we would as he said it soon all be "marginal man". guy is a freaking genius prof. thomas lambert check him out if you can.

[-] 0 points by economicallydiscardedcitizen (761) 2 years ago

Thanks. I will check him out and it's ironic that your professor and a former associate/coworker at a loan and real estate brokerage I used to work at shared similar sentiments had the same last name of Lambert (he was so disgusted with politics that in the 1970's he told me he quit voting too because he felt after Nixon the whole 'thang' is rigged.)

[-] 0 points by blackbloc (-19) 2 years ago

lol

[-] 0 points by economicallydiscardedcitizen (761) 2 years ago

Funny too was that he liked to joke around, when asked what he did for a living at gatherings where he was unknown and yet clearly discussing along sociological and psychological lines he'd reply 'I'm a Scatologist!' It got to be an office joke and I printed out an official looking piece of parchment folded into the form of a desk top name plate replete with his name followed by the title "Scatologist"

[-] 0 points by blackbloc (-19) 2 years ago

was his name thomas because that was the prof name?

[-] 0 points by economicallydiscardedcitizen (761) 2 years ago

No. S. Lambert, B.S., PhD, Chief of Scatology (famous for joking around about 'bad' clients and failed transactions and a willing ear and shoulder to share and air grievances with )has no first or middle name beginning with the letter 'T' and he and his immediate family are originally from Utah. It is said though that anyone with the same last name is never more than a 16th cousin away in terms of genealogy.

PS: I tried to find your movie 'Marginal Man' on YouTube and saved the info so that I can try to watch it elsewhere if I find it and thanks for sharing!

[-] 0 points by blackbloc (-19) 2 years ago

here check out my post there are a shit ton of links on here http://occupywallst.org/forum/will-the-untied-states-rise-to-the-occasion-or-cru/