The Occupy Wall Street Protests originally stemmed from a ton of angry people, who were just tired of giant greedy banks getting fat at a cost of the rest of us. But unexpectedly, it won over the hearts of many foodies and food advocates because under the entire financial mumble jumble, lots and lots of people are getting concerned about a basic human need…FOOD.
Expanding to over 900 cities around the world, people are taking to the streets to show their concern about unfair food practices by large corporations. Ben and Jerry’s and other restaurants such as Katz Deli are pledging their alliance to the cause [globalpost]. Small local restaurants, and sympathizers in each city are also donating food to protesters and offering discounts or specials.
Friday marked the last formal day of the 5-week Occupy Wall Street Protests, but here are several unsettling facts you should know about the future of your food and why you may want to support the cause:
1. Wall Street speculation is driving up food costs. The relationship between Wall Street and the government has turned food into a commodity. Investment in bio-fuel is driving up grain prices, land prices, and that all get’s passed down to us, the consumers.
2. The richest 1% holds 40% of the nation’s wealth, while almost 1 in 5 Americans live on food stamps. “At least 40 million people around the world were driven into hunger and deprivation” when the first speculative food shock hit in 2007 [Tom Philpott, De Shutter, Motherjones]. The same thing is happening right now.
3. The food industry is a giant monopoly that possesses “market power.” Four companies sell 50% of global seeds and four companies churned out 75% of breakfast cereals, 75% of snacks, 60% of cookies, and 50% of ice cream [Tom Philpott, Motherjones]. These major players can decide to charge whatever they want…
4. Food companies are cutting costs at the expense of workers, farmers, and the environment. Driving down wages, squeezing small famers out of their livelihood, and degrading the environment are just some of the effects of the tragic effects of large corporations managing the food industry.
(photo credit: Cyndi Amaya, marcussamuelsson)