Occupy Our Food Supply

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In just over a week’s time, thousands of people will descend on our food system by participating in a Global Day of Action to Occupy our Food Supply.

Prominent thought leaders, authors, farmers and activists like Vandana Shiva, Michael Pollan, Annie & Willie Nelson, Woody Harrelson, Raj Patel, Gary Paul Nabhan, Anna Lappé, Marion Nestle, Food Inc.’s Robert Kenner and Michael Ableman are adding their voices in support of a wide-ranging series of actions across the US and the globe.

On February 27, over 60 Occupy Wall Street groups as well as environmental and corporate accountability organizations are joining in solidarity to create healthy food systems and resist corporate control of our food supply. Individuals from Brazil, Hungary, Ireland, Argentina, the United States, and beyond are planning actions on the ground which include reclaiming unused bank-owned lots to create community gardens; identifying GMO and destructive products in grocery stores with stickers; protesting at Cargill-owned hedge fund offices; doing seed exchanges in front of stock exchanges; supporting community alliances to drive away Wal-Mart and dangerous, unethical food distributors; and fighting back against Monsanto’s revolving door into the FDA via Obama.

If you want to join the growing list of people Occupying Cargill, here is a quick guide.

As Michael Pollan brilliantly articulates,

It makes sense that food and farming should become a locus of attention for Americans disenchanted with consumer capitalism. Food is the place in daily life where corporatization can be most vividly felt: think about the homogenization of taste and experience represented by fast food. By the same token, food offers us one of the shortest, most appealing paths out of the corporate labyrinth, and into the sheer diversity of local flavors, varieties, and characters on offer at the farmers’ market.

The vision of this movement embodies the following ideas:

  • 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

As Michael Ableman — farmer, author, and founder of the Center for Urban Agriculture and SOLEfood — puts it:

The occupy movement has reminded us all of the incredible economic disparity that exist in our world and for this I thank them. But if we are going to focus on what we are for, as much as what we are against, we should occupy our land, re-occupy our soils with life and fertility, our communities with good food. Access to real food is the most basic of human rights, yet the responsibility for it has been almost entirely handed over to someone somewhere else, to a corporate industrial system where farms have become factories, food a faceless commodity, and eaters merely consumers. We can march on Wall Street, but we must also work to reclaim our food from corporate control and to rebuild the real economy, the one that is based on soil and seeds and sunlight, and on individuals and communities growing together.

Whether you want to be a part of #F27 by organizing your own action, joining the social media day of action, writing for the blogger day of action, or joining an existing action, the time is NOW.

2 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Danny Day says:

    We must push on all fronts and especially as consumers. In order to know which products to avoid we need all retailers to require the food suppliers to list GMO ingredients. A large push from consumers can make a difference fast! http://www.change.org/petitions/to-my-dear-grocery-store-please-tell-me-which-products-contain-gmos

  2. E R says:

    Hi Ashley. This is noble but your signature on this petition http://albany.patch.com/blog_posts/leading-food-writers-and-organizations-across-us-urge-uc-berkeley-to-embrace-the-gill-tract-farm-not-police-it#comments_list (sorry for the long url) means that you are in favor of illegal occupation of land that is used by Berkeley researchers doing basic science 6 months out of the year. Just want to make sure you know that the land was not unused as was erroneously reported by many. I live in Albany and it has been planted every summer for all the seven years I’ve lived here and according to researchers for many more years. Apologies if you already knew this. Also the petition states that the land is “class one” land. Nobody has been able to explain to me where this classification system comes from – a google search has it as a canadian classification and many OTF people reference it. If it indeed is true that can help me gain more sympathy for the movement. – Albany, CA resident.

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