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Why The Food Movement Must Build Power


Why The Food Movement Must Build Power

Wenonah Hauter

Mark Bittman’s recent op-ed on the faults of the food movement provides a great opportunity to discuss how we should be engaging politically to demand a better food system; unfortunately, it misses the mark on why we are making limited progress on food policy issues. While it‘s refreshing to hear a food luminary acknowledge the importance of organizing, as a long time organizer, it’s frustrating to me that he never addresses the fact that winning means building political power.


Eat local! As a general rule, I avoid products marketed nationally and internationally. Food follows the same capitalistic path as everything else: Hey, I’ve got an idea. We’ll make/grow this or that and sell it to everyone on the planet, and make a fortune. Hurray!


Absent a great unifying theory of concerned people who care about GMOs, universal lunch programs, livable wages, ending the use of untested chemicals invading every inch of the globe, unsustainable winner-take-all business practices and more; one thing, imo, holds the only way out of 21st disaster politics. It is an old but solid strategy. It is called publicly funded elections coupled to subsidized media access to all organized citizens who can meet some % threshold. At every level it would recommit and re-engage the 99s. It is the essential linchpin for making progress. Which is the whole problem with our lapsed democracy. It is sometimes a crap shoot, ( pick your nightmare from the menu, here ) in terms of outcomes, but we must trust the choices of the 99s to change basic untenable and unsustainable situations found in today’s " realpolitik ". As Molly Ivins said so eloquently, " Politics, in America, is not a fight between the left and the right; it is a fight between the ups and the downs. " Which takes us, collectively and historically, back to the man who had substantial input in how the dream of our new country must function to survive ( in all sorts of ways and in all sorts of political crises ): " If we don’t hang together we will certainly hang separately. " Benjamin Franklin I see no other option for our country or the world, really. Learning to live with all the potential outcomes is truly political/economic food for thought. My 40 years in small and big campaigns tells me this is the only thing that will work, however. We must honestly try.


Better build that power FAST, as the fight is almost lost, the vote on TPA is this week, (Note the use of the cloaking T for both it and another new one, TAA- ha ha on us, they must be getting an awful big laugh) and if it passes, of couse, being a national law its a big joke on us, as its external to the actual trade deal (as are trade deal preambles, ive heard) THEY are non-binding, everything outside the deals themselves simply doesnt exist! only one part matters, the five year long hiding of the next half dozen or more REAL secret trade deals, the rest is just an old drill, another diversionary tactic - like everything else about these MASS deceptions, the government will have succeeeded in taking all power to change things and regulate on a local level totally out of their own hands, then, just like health care, all the howling at politicians in the world will be barking up the wrong tree, TTIP and its “regulatory convergence” ya know… 38 countries… See ttip2015 dot eu and ciel dot org and bilaterals dot org and iatp dot org for more.


Why are people so against GMO’s? Don’t worry, scientists will figure it out :smile: :

A team of Belgian philosophers and plant biotechnologists have turned to
cognitive science to explain why opposition to genetically modified
organisms (GMOs) has become so widespread, despite positive
contributions GM crops have made to sustainable agriculture. In a paper
published April 10 in Trends in Plant Science, they argue that
the human mind is highly susceptible to the negative and often emotional
representations put out by certain environmental groups and other
opponents of GMOs. The researchers urge the general public to form
opinions on GMOs on a case-by-case basis, thereby not focusing on the
technology but on the resulting product.

Science Daily


Funny, I didn’t see anything here that amounted to a new idea for HOW to build power, or exactly what that power would look like or do. Just that there needed to BE power.



The main reason I’m opposed to GMO’s, is that their primary application is to allow certain crops (corn, soybeans, canola, sugar beets) to be immune to herbicides that are applied to kill weeds. This has led weeds evolving resistance to the herbicides and to increasingly heavier and more potent applications of the herbicides and a frigtening trend toward herbicide ‘cocktails’ (glyphosate with dicamba and 2,4-D).

70% of our food is now contaminated with herbicides. Herbicides are now found in our blood, urine and breast milk. Rain water contains herbicides. We do not know the health effects of long-term sustained exposure to trace amounts of herbicides. There are, however, disturbing correlations between the rising prevalence of certain illnesses–diabetes, autism, allergies, kidney disease, non-lymphatic cancers–and increases in herbicide use. Statistically a 1 to 1 correlation in many cases.

Another reason is that GMO’s promote large-scale industrial farming methods which have greatly reduced the diversity of our food system, making it more susceptible to crop disease and pest epidemics that can potentially wipe out entire varieties. It is not a disputed fact that in the past century the world has lost between 70% and 95% of the varieties of fruits, grains, and vegetables. When it comes to food, there is strength and stability in diversity and the GMO strategy (greater and greater market share of limited varieties) has severely reduced the resilience of our food system.

GMO’s are a failed experiment and it is time to wean ourselves off these crops, lick our wounds, and move on.


The evidence on GMOs, overall, on the environment in which they are used has been in for decades. The rules were changed under the Nixon Adm. in 1969 when testing on food, et al and use of " weed killers " and " fertilizers " was switched from the Dept. of Agriculture to the EPA ( Environmental Protection Agency ). This is the old " gov’t bait and switch " because the EPA bureauocrats overseeing the testing of chemicals used across the spectrum were from the chemical industries affected. 45 years later there are 7500 chemical cocktails that have never been tested but exist in the ( unregulated ) marketplace (. Because they are allowed to be sold before being tested. ) And, in your house, garage and at the workplace. The idea that the gov’t cares about what you eat or whether you live or die is the biggest canard of all. The gov’ts " social contract " is with corporations and the 1%. Can you say banking, dept. of defense, and the mafia capitalism which has captured our Federal and State Gov’ts. All the evidence we need to disprove GMOs or nuclear weapons or financial unregulation is protected by our Federal Gov’t is, and has been, hiding in plain sight for at least 4 decades. But, as with mountain climbers, hearing the oncoming thunder of the avalanche is not a warning signal but the death bell, we can only wait to die. We are in a death spiral from protecting the criminals of the world and not from ridding the world of them. That is the real purpose of our captured gov’t. Increasingly, it is the only purpose of our capturd gov’t, I fear.


Just to clear things up, I did not make my post as a supporter of GMO’s if that is what you thought. I did it because I discovered this web site where we find that things have gotten to the point where scientists are trying to psychoanalyze why people are against GMO’s, which seems to me a really bizarre type of milestone to have reached in the proGMO vs antiGMO debates. Sort of like Cass Sunstein’s admonition against people who profess belief in conspiracy theories. I put the smiley because I was laughing at the absurdity of these philosophers & scientists’ trying to do this. I thought maybe other’s on this message board would be equally amused.


I didn’t read your post as supporting GMOs. I should not have replied to it but posted as a separate entry. Apologies, it was early morning . . .

That is interesting what you wrote and quoted: ‘despite positive contributions GM crops have made to sustainable agriculture’. The argument itself is whether there are any positive contributions to ‘sustainable agriculture’ at all, isn’t it? Surely an industry-funded study.