Create Food Democracy: Occupy the Food System
Posted on Monday, February 20th, 2012
Create Food Democracy: Occupy The Food System
By Dr Vandana Shiva, NAVDANYA
The biggest corporate hijack on the planet is the hijack of the food system.And the costs of the corporate takeover of food has huge irreversible consequences for the Earth and people everywhere.
From the seed to the table, corporations are seeking total control over biodiversity, land,water. They are seeking control over how food is grown, processed and distributed. And in seeking this total control, they are destroying the earth’s ecological processes,our farmers, our health and our freedoms.
Monsanto with 5 gene giants are trying to control and own the seed through genetic engineering and patents. Monsanto wrote the World trade Organisation treaty on Intellectual property which forces countries to patent seeds. As a Monsanto reprentative said, they were the patient, diagnostician and physician all in one. They defined a problem, and for them the problem was that farmers save seed, They offered a solution, and the solution was that seed saving and seed sharing should be defined as intellectual property theft and criminalized.I believe that saving seeds and protecting biodiversity is our ecological and ethical duty. That is why I started Navdanya 25 years ago. Navdanya is a movement to occupy the seed. We have created 66 community seed banks, saved 3000 rice varieties , stopped laws that would prevent us from seed saving, faught against Biopiracy. Monsanto has created a Seed Emergency on a global scale. And by destroying the seed , they have established Seed monopoly. India has lost its cotton diversity since Monsanto took over the cotton seed supply . (5 % cotton seed sold on India today is Monsanto’s Bt cotton. The price of seed jumped 800%, farmers got trapped in debt, and 250000 indebted farmers have commited suicide in India since Monsanto’s entry in the seed market. Saving Seeds and defending our seed freedom has become a survival issue. Control over the seed is control over food and control over life. Corporations like Monsanto have created a seed emergency This is the reason I am starting a Global citizen’s campaign on Seed Sovereignty. I hope you will all join. The case 84 organisations including Navdanya have filed against Monsanto in New York through Pubpat is an important step in reclaiming seed sovereignty.
Contrary to the claim of corporations, the chemical based Green revolution and genetic engineering do not produce more food. Navdanya’s report on GMOs shows that The GMO Emperor has no Clothes. Our report Health per Acre shows that Biodiverse Organic farming protects nature while increasing nutrition per Acre. We have the solutions to hunger.
Cargill the world’s biggest Grain giant wrote the Agriculture agrrement of WTO. It has destroyed local production and local markets everywhere, uprooted small farmers, devastated the Amazon, and speculated on food commodities pushing millions to hunger. A global corporate controlled food system robs farmers of their incomes by pushing down farm prices, and robs the poor of their right to food by pushing up food prices. If a billion people are hungry today, it is because of the greed driven, capital intensive, nonsustainable corporate controlled globalised industrialized agriculture. While creating hunger, agribusiness collects our tax money as subsidies in the name of removing hunger.
And this system has pushed another 2 billion to food related diseases like obesity and diabetes. Replacing healthy local food culture with junk and processed food is achieved through Food safety laws, which I call pseudo hygiene laws. At the global level these include the Sanitary and Phyto sanitary agreement of WTO. At the national level they include new corporate written Food Safety laws in Europe and India, and the Food safety modernization Act in the US.
The final link in the corporate hijack of food are retail giants like Walmart.We have been resisting the entry of Walmart in India because big retail means big ag, and together the corporate giants destroy small shops and small farms which provide livelihoods to millions.
We must occupy our food because corporations are destroying our seed and soil, our water and land, our climate and biodiversity. 40% Greenhouse gases that are destabilizing the climate come from corporate industrial agriculture. 70% water is wasted for industrial agriculture . 75% biodiversity has been lost due to industrial monocultures.
We have alternatives which protect the earth, protect our farmers, and protect our health and nutrition. To occupy the food system means simultaneously resisting corporate control and building sustainable and just alternatives, from the seed to the table. One seed at a time, one farm at a time, one meal at a time we must break out of corporate food dictatorship and create a vibrant and robust food democracy.