Friday, February 15, 2013
food vs. commodities
"rates of profit for agribiusiness have soared. for example in 2007 cargill's profits rose 36 percent, adm's 67 percent and bunge's 49 percent...meanwhile seed and agrochemical corporations reported unusual profits for 2007:monsanto 44 percent, dupont 19 percent, and syngenta 28 percent . rising prices for inputs like fertilizer, seed, and chemical sprays explain why most small farmers have not benefited from rising food prices." the world food crisis in perspective.philip mcmichael. "u.s. corn ethanol explains one third of the rise in the world corn price according to fao, and 70% according to the imf. the world bank estimates that u.s. policy is responsible for 65% of the surge in food prices..." jaques berthelot "the food crisis explosion: root causes and how to regulate them."kurswechsel 3 (2008):26 "...the homeland of corn had been reduced to a corn importing economy by free market policies promoted by the international monetary fund, the world bank, and washington..." walden bello and mara baviera "food wars"_______________________ so by turning the farmer into a consumer of gmo seeds, fertilizer, herbicides, and fuel for farm machinery the agribuisness companies turned them from producers of food into producers of industrial feedstock that passed through ethanol refineries, cafos, or industrial food packagers and decoupled food from farms and made it a commodity subject to free market principles that destroyed traditional subsistence agriculture ( and so the cultures it supported, emptying the countryside into mega slums that held a gigantic pool of cheap labor to be used to leverage the export of living wage manufacturing jobs from the west to the sweat shops of the east )and by mandating minimum ethanol content in fuels the u.s. government initiated a world wide spike in food prices that has destablized a good part of the planet...food is no longer food in a cultural sense...it is a product and a lot of it is fungible and most of it is unhealthy...who is it that profits form all this? monsanto seemingly and all at the expense of cultural diversity and the health of those whose diet is being "westernized"...we're exporting diabetes and cancer and heart disease with those commodities that have so undermined the farmers of the global south...these may not be the only reasons i took up organic gardening, heirloom seeds, and seed saving but they are part of the explanation and are gaining in prominence as i do more research and read more ethnographies...the system as it stands is not sustainable...small scale organic farming of diversified crops is the only rational response...more worms...more compost...more native perennials...more work on campus and in my back yard...all in an effort to make my food whole again.