It is no secret that almost everything is in the hands of a few and includes agriculture; people have no idea about the amount of control corporate has over the food that people consume. Their power seems to be unbridled as it also increases their political influence. They can manipulate the marketplace which in turn reduces the profit of the family-owned farm produce which can eventually drive the small farm owners out of business. For the consumers, this means that they have to pay high prices for the fewer choices that they get. The corporate influence is slowly ruining the rural communities, public health, local economies, water, and soil needed to create sustainability in food production. In the United States, the corporate influence is abnormally strong as just a few corporations have control over every sector related to food which includes production, processing, and distribution. Forty percent of agricultural control is in the hand of the top four firms and the unfortunate part is that every agricultural sector is affected by them.
Family farmers are furious and demand control where it belongs so that they can produce a sustainable living for everyone including themselves. The farmers have shared their concern about agriculture being capitalized upon as they shared that the product will get more expensive over time if the balance is not restored. The markets are being distorted and the farmers’ and ranchers’ rights are being abused. Generational farmers are being put out of business resulting in their lives being uprooted by the greed of the corporate. This in turn is threatening food security as the consumers have to pay higher prices for the products that they can acquire at a reasonable price. Corporate power needs to be eradicated if the world wants to achieve food security (FarmAid, 2015).
The Organic Blindfold
The Age of the Internet has brought an immense amount of awareness to the people that they can discern their rights. Social awareness has been on the rise in every aspect of life which includes food. People are becoming more conscious of the food they consume and many are rejecting food that may be processed or has been produced using fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. People are demanding organic food so that they live an optimal healthy lifestyle. Surprisingly, their demands have been met as many companies are claiming to introduce organic food lines for such people, and not so surprisingly, these organic foods come with a big price tag. People that want to eat healthier pay extra for their so-called organic food. Many online websites are claiming that to sell products made of organic ingredients and everyone is gobbling up their claims, however; these claims are only just that; “claims”.
No one checks these claims and it was revealed that organic crops can easily become tainted if the farmer of the neighboring crop uses any chemical as the fumes can easily travel in droves. So the farmer who grows this organic produce would not be lying if he says that his crops are organic, however; if the farmers around him use chemicals then his claim, although; true would hold no legitimacy. This is also true for grass-fed meats as no one is going to get the meat they purchased tested every time they buy it and there have been many accounts of companies that are falsely selling normal food in the guise of organic food. People simply ask the vendors, “Is this organic?” or “Was this grass-fed?”, then buy the product without a second thought. Of course, the seller is going to say; yes, as they need to make sales. They do not care if the product is organic or not. These types of claims threaten the attempt of the governments that are trying to bring nutritious food for the citizens as the greed of a few is threatening the health of many (Parker, 2021).
Your Food is Showing Your Privilege
The modern world has brought us many things and one of those things is a vast choice in food that we consume. In the United States, there are many cultures and those cultures create diversity in food options that are available to us. You do not want to eat steak? Then order Chinese food or maybe Indian cuisine. No, too spicy? How about takeout from McDonald’s? The options are endless. This is called social privilege and where the first-world countries have a plethora of options; many third-world countries do not have the same luxuries. They are thankful even if they can get a single bite of food every day. Every drop of water and every bite of food is sacred to them, however; the citizens of developed countries do not seem to know the value of the food that they are eating and wasting.
According to United Nations, about 17 percent of food is wasted globally and this percentage does not account for the food destroyed due to failed crops or food production mishaps. This 17 percent only points towards the waste produced by people. 13 percent of this waste is from retail, food services contribute 26 percent, and households waste 61 percent of the food. Interestingly most of this food wastage happens in developed countries as they do not value what they have. Even with numerous food options people look for something new and if they do not like something, they simply throw it out. Food waste contributes to global starvation and threatens global food security so if you cannot eat something, do not put it on your plate (Worsley, 2018).
FarmAid. (2015, May 7). Corporate Control of Agriculture. Farm Aid. https://www.farmaid.org/issues/corporate-power/corporate-power-in-ag/
Parker, I. (2021, November 8). The Great Organic-Food Fraud. The New Yorker. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/11/15/the-great-organic-food-fraud
Worsley, S. (2018, November 28). Social Privilege and Its Impact on Food Choices. Eco & Beyond. https://www.ecoandbeyond.co/articles/social-privilege-and-its-impact-on-food-choices/