You Can’t Live Without Food and Water

You can live without a lot of things, but you can’t live without food and water. Whoever controls them controls you.

In the last few years there has been a dramatic increase in the concentration of ownership of our food and water into just a few giant international corporations.

According to Judith McGeary in Countryside Magazine, “A handful of corporations have an almost complete monopoly on the food supply for a majority of Americans.” These include Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland, Coca-Cola, Tyson, Phillip Morris-Kraft, Nestle, Del Monte, etc. – corporations that are rapidly taking ownership of (privatizing) our food and water.

As Canada’s Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI) put it, “Access to food, health, and nutrition once considered a fundamental human right is now subject to the whims of the market system.”

And what a market it is! Annual retail value of global food sales is estimated to be two thousand billion dollars – over six times more than pharmaceutical sales. (Makes a seven hundred billion dollar bail-out sound almost trivial, doesn’t it?)

We know the results for the corporations, power and super-profits. But what are the results for the rest of us?

I quote from Food Facts, a non-profit report available here .  “The human toll of disease from poor nutrition is soaring. U.S. deaths from nutrition-related diseases (365,000 per year) are rapidly approaching the deaths attributable to the nation’s number one killer, tobacco.

Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports soaring growth in three non-communicable diseases – heart disease, strokes, and diabetes. Unhealthy diets lie at the root of this surge.”

And once again, our government has played a significant role in this corporate take-over. Large government subsidies have made profitable the enormous increase in the production of high-fructose corn syrup and snack foods like corn chips. This makes junk food an affordable (albeit dangerous) choice over more expensive fruits and vegetables for many cash-strapped families .

Nor are those subsidies benefiting family farms. Between 2003 and 2005 66% of the $34.8 billion in U.S. farm subsidies went to just 10% of farmers.

So the large corporations are making big profits, the taxpayers are subsidizing them, average American eaters are losing – and 365,000 of them are dying each year – the ultimate losers. As RAFI put it, “Neglect of the public good is inevitable when the agenda is determined by the private sector in pursuit of corporate profits.”

What can you do? Garden and/or buy from your local organic growers. Here are a couple of web sites to give you a place to begin:


2 Responses

  1. corporate america controls us all, no doubt about it. Even in a place like Australia, two supermarket chains dominate the grocery business. They control the supply chains, the items stocked. Really, really scary.

    beware the frankenfoods!

  2. I totally agree and try to always shop locally and to support small, independent farmers. I also eat and cook with fresh foods rather than the processed. Its vitally important that we support the independent farmers as they stand between us and the megagrocers who care more about profit than people.

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