The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Digesting OWS—Why Food Lovers Need to Come to the Table
Grassroots. Hungry for change. Growing a new vision every day. We’re talking about the hundreds of gardens, farmers markets and community potlucks that Slow Food members have helped to seed over the past 10 years—and we’re talking about Occupy Wall Street. Even beyond the shared connection of good, clean and fair food values, there’s a whole crop of reasons for why people in the food movement should be paying attention to and learning from OWS—a people’s movement against big banks. big corporations. And yes, big ag—or what we call industrial agribusiness. Here are our top three reasons (so far):
1. Changing food and farming is political. Oh no they didn’t! Oh yes, we did. Changing food and farming is political (not to be confused with partisan)—and by that we mean it has to do with issues of power and inequality. It raises questions about who controls our infrastructure and who has limited choices because of it, who defines the dominant culture (fast food vs. slow food, diverse or not?), who stays well-nourished and who is hungry or suffering from a diet-related disease. We support local farmers, build school gardens, start farmers markets and organize community potlucks not only because it’s immensely gratifying to reconnect to the earth, to our cultures and to each other, but also because it’s necessary. In fact, it’s political. The reality is that industrial agribusiness and government policies have more control over what farmers grow and what we eat than we do. Over the past decade, we’ve started to take back the power one meal, one non-GMO crop, one Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program at a time. But we’re fighting a continuous uphill battle—and it isn’t right. This is our moment to level the field, to change the food system from our plates to our policies.
2. Food is part of a larger movement for social transformation. The food movement has often been criticized for being elitist, inaccessible and entirely too foodie—and in many cases, that’s real. What’s also real is that, for many of us, our desire to transform food and farming is rooted in values of community, sustainability and fairness—especially for the farmers and workers who make good food possible and for the communities whose health, culture and access to good food have been threatened by industrial agribusiness. These values—for how we relate to each other, to our environment and to our cultures—aren’t limited to the dining table, the kitchen, the food factory or the farm. They extend into a vision for a better world. Food is just the starting point—a lens through which we can start to look at other societal issues. Yes, we care about food, but that doesn’t mean we have to lose sight of all the other things that matter—unemployment, unfair tax policies, or race, class and gender inequality. It’s all connected. In the words of the late Tupac, “Let’s change the way we live. Let’s change the way we eat. Let’s change the way we treat each other.”
3. Another world is possible—and everyone’s getting in on it. One of the most amazing and controversial aspects of OWS is that it doesn’t pretend to have the answers. The movement is less about rallying support behind a list of demands, and more about everyone being engaged and actively shaping the solutions that make the most sense for their community. Sound familiar? Like OWS, food activists have frequently been criticized for their lack of clear demands—for trying to do too much, to address everything and anything from public health to food workers rights. But that’s exactly the kind of thinking and doing that we need going forward. There’s no silver bullet to fix food and farming. No magic formula for building a better one. Folks have explored some great models that allow us to change the way we grow, access, share and prepare food—such as CSAs, worker-owned food co-ops, mobile farmers markets—but there’s a whole host of solutions yet to be explored. To build a better world, we all have to be committed. We need to slow down, come together and create an entire recipe book for change.
These are important times and well deserving of an important response. Social change movements are gaining ground. The food movement is growing. It’s up to each of us to know what’s up and to help carry the positive momentum forward.
For more information, click here.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Tuna auctions are a tourist spectacle in Tokyo. Outside the city's most famous fish market, long queues of visitors hoping for a glimpse of the action begin to form at 5 a.m. The attraction is so popular that last October the Tsukiji fish market, in operation since 1935, moved out from the city center to the district of Toyosu to cope with the crowds.
gmnicholas / E+ / Getty Images
Kristan Porter grew up in a fishing family in the fishing community of Cutler, Maine, where he says all roads lead to one career path: fishing. (Porter's father was the family's lone exception. He suffered from terrible seasickness, and so became a carpenter.) The 49-year-old, who has been working on boats since he was a kid and fishing on his own since 1991, says that the recent warming of Maine's cool coastal waters has yielded unprecedented lobster landings.
The climate crisis is getting costly. Some of the world's largest companies expect to take over one trillion in losses due to climate change. Insurers are increasingly jittery and the world's largest firm has warned that the cost of premiums may soon be unaffordable for most people. Historic flooding has wiped out farmers in the Midwest.
Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.
'We Should Be Retreating Already From the Coastline,' Scientist Suggests After Finding Warm Waters Below Greenland
By Johnny Wood
The Ganges is a lifeline for the people of India, spiritually and economically. On its journey from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal, it supports fishermen, farmers and an abundance of wildlife.
The river and its tributaries touch the lives of roughly 500 million people. But having flowed for millennia, today it is reaching its capacity for human and industrial waste, while simultaneously being drained for agriculture and municipal use.
Here are some of the challenges the river faces.
By Jake Johnson
As a growing number of states move to pass laws that would criminalize pipeline protests and hit demonstrators with years in prison, an audio recording obtained by The Intercept showed a representative of a powerful oil and gas lobbying group bragging about the industry's success in crafting anti-protest legislation behind closed doors.
Speaking during a conference in Washington, DC in June, Derrick Morgan, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), touted "model legislation" that states across the nation have passed in recent months.
AFPM represents a number of major fossil fuel giants, including Chevron, Koch Industries and ExxonMobil.
"We've seen a lot of success at the state level, particularly starting with Oklahoma in 2017," said Morgan, citing Dakota Access Pipeline protests as the motivation behind the aggressive lobbying effort. "We're up to nine states that have passed laws that are substantially close to the model policy that you have in your packet."
Big Oil is now using its political power to try and criminalize protests of oil & gas infrastructure.— Friends of the Earth (@foe_us) August 19, 2019
"This legislation has potential to punish public participation and mischaracterize advocacy protected by the First Amendment."https://t.co/bmiHjONEhy
The audio recording comes just months after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law legislation that would punish anti-pipeline demonstrators with up to 10 years in prison, a move environmentalists condemned as a flagrant attack on free expression.
"Big Oil is hijacking our legislative system," Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said after the Texas Senate passed the bill in May.
As The Intercept's Lee Fang reported Monday, the model legislation Morgan cited in his remarks "has been introduced in various forms in 22 states and passed in ... Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota."
"The AFPM lobbyist also boasted that the template legislation has enjoyed bipartisan support," according to Fang. "In Louisiana, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the version of the bill there, which is being challenged by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Even in Illinois, Morgan noted, 'We almost got that across the finish line in a very Democratic-dominated legislature.' The bill did not pass as it got pushed aside over time constraints at the end of the legislative session."
Many of the state bills restricting the right to protest have been "drafted by companies and passed through groups like ALEC, the secretive group of corporate lobbyists trying to rewrite state laws to benefit corporations over people." @greenpeaceusa https://t.co/ZxpTjWdrwT— Stand Up To ALEC (@StandUpToALEC) May 6, 2019
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.