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Food

The Truth About Cargill, The World’s Most Evil Company

The biggest supervillains in the world are not human: they’re corporations. And one of those corporations owns nearly our entire food system. This year, food prices have soared and Americans are feeling it. For example, egg prices have doubled since last year to nearly $3 a dozen, which is especially difficult if you make your living as an egg-juggling busker down by the condemned jungle gym. But the supervillain companies that set those prices aren’t struggling at all. The largest one is Cargill. And this year, Cargill’s revenue jumped to a record $165 billion. That’s $30 billion more than the year before. Let’s learn a little more about Cargill. Known to friends as the evilest company in the world – and to enemies as even worse than that – Cargill Inc. is the biggest privately owned company in the U.S., and they own a large chunk of every portion of the food that ends up on your plate.

Portland 4 The Planet Sow Seeds Of Local Change

Portland, United Kingdom - As one of the recipients of Transition Bounce Forward’s Seed Funding in 2020, Portland 4 the Planet is a beautiful example of what dynamic community action, when combined with little pots of funding, can unlock. Laura started the initiative in March 2019 as “my response to finding out about the climate and ecological emergency and thinking ‘what can we do to help our community try and resolve the situation?’”. Having realised the scale of the challenge, read everything she could, changed her diet, cut out plastic, transitioned to a vegan diet, her focus turned to what her community could do. She lobbied her local council to declare a climate emergency, which they did. However, her interactions with local government made her realise that given the speed at which bureaucracies move, however willing and supportive they might be, it was best to not wait for them and to get started.

Four Takeaways From Rural Resilience Gathering In North West France

When you encounter a rural, farming and food community as the one encountered in Loire-Atlantique, one which to some extent is actively seeking out opportunities to work together and to share, this resonates with an old idea – that of mutual aid. Each of the four main sections above displayed this – community wellbeing, institutional relationships, systemic cooperation, engagement and alliance building. Each can be seen as an iteration of the spirit of mutual aid as a strategy for building solidarity economies. This community and institutional engagement work also chimes with ideas as developed in the English speaking world in Cleveland and Preston (UK). With these models, community wellbeing means institutions are asked to step up to the plate, as it were, and be a reliable, core, not-for-profit hub in the region, helping drive the required transition via local circular economic activity where possible.

Sysco Strikers Reach A Deal

This week, two Teamster locals won new contracts with the behemoth food distributor Sysco, ending a nearly monthlong strike that drew national support. More than 200 workers for Sysco — America’s largest food distributor — went on strike in Syracuse, N.Y., on September 27. Days later, more than 300 drivers for Sysco Boston went on strike in Massachusetts. Workers in Arizona also reportedly struck in solidarity. On October 17, workers at a Syracuse distribution center ratified their new contract with Sysco — one that Sean Miller, a warehouse worker and shop steward with Teamsters Local 317, says involved “zero concessions to the company.” In one key victory, Sysco agreed to limit the grueling six-day workweeks and the 16-hour days some drivers spoke of, and dropped a plan that would prevent new employees from taking consecutive days off.

Animal Rights Whistleblowers Stand Trial

More than 70 animal rights activists stood outside a courtroom in St. George, Utah on Tuesday holding up a giant image of Utah Attorney Gen. Sean Reyes. A word bubble hovered above his head saying “I cover up animal cruelty.” The group had gathered in support of whistleblowers Wayne Hsiung and Paul Darwin Picklesimer of Direct Action Everywhere, or DxE, a global network of activists working to achieve revolutionary social and political change for animals in one generation. Both currently face felony burglary and theft charges that could amount to over 10 years in prison.  In March 2017 Hsiung, Picklesimer and three other DxE investigators infiltrated Smithfield-owned Circle Four Farms in Utah to document the conditions of its pregnant pigs.

Billions Of Humans Depend On 50,000 Wild Species For Food, Fuel And Income

A new report from the The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) – which is often described as the “IPCC for biodiversity” – found that billions of people depend on 50,000 wild species for food, medicine, fuel and income from activities like tourism. “70% of the world’s poor are directly dependent on wild species. One in five people rely on wild plants, algae and fungi for their food and income; 2.4 billion rely on fuel wood for cooking and about 90% of the 120 million people working in capture fisheries are supported by small-scale fishing,” assessment co-chair Dr. Marla R. Emery said in a press release.

Dutch Farmer Protests Inspire More Actions Amid Food Shortages

Dutch farmers are blocking roads, airports and food distribution centers in an effort to shut their country down. These actions are in response to climate laws designed to lower nitrogen levels that will result in putting farms out of business and underscore why addressing the climate crisis requires a just transition for displaced workers. Farmers want the government to know that without farmers, there won't be food. The protests are now spreading to more countries. They are occurring as inflation hit double digits in June, especially for food and fuel, and food shortages are expected this fall.

We Need To Build The Architecture Of Our Future

In April 2022, the United Nations established the Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy, and Finance. This group is tracking the three major crises of food inflation, fuel inflation, and financial distress. Their second briefing, released on 8 June 2022, noted that, after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic: the world economy has been left in a fragile state. Today, 60 per cent of workers have lower real incomes than before the pandemic; 60 per cent of the poorest countries are in debt distress or at high risk of it; developing countries miss $1.2 trillion per year to fill the social protection gap; and $4.3 trillion is needed per year – more money than ever before – to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is a perfectly reasonable description of the distressing global situation, and things are likely to get worse.

Reflections On The Sri Lankan Economic Crisis

So much has been written on the Sri Lankan economic crisis that the facts are by now quite well-known (see for instance C P Chandrasekhar, Frontline April 22): the massive build-up of external debt; the huge Value Added Tax concessions that pushed up the fiscal deficit and made the government borrow abroad even to spend domestically; the decline in foreign exchange earnings because of the pandemic that particularly hit tourist inflows; the downward pressure on the exchange rate which made many Sri Lankan workers choose the unofficial route to send their earnings home rather than the official route; the precipitous decline in foreign exchange reserves; the directive of the government to cut down on the use of chemical fertilizers to save foreign exchange that actually hit foodgrain output; and so on.

Brooklyn’s Maison Jar Is One Of Many New Zero-Waste Grocery Stores

New York City, New York - At Maison Jar – a new grocery store located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn in New York City – silos of dry goods line one wall. Dried beans, grains, pasta, nuts, and coffee are beside bins of cooking staples like flour, baking soda, baking powder, and sugar. A refrigerator on the wall opposite holds industrial-sized jars of olives, racks of eggs, and metal trays of fresh produce, and a freezer is stocked with plastic bins of frozen fruit and vegetables. Prepared snacks like dried mangos, wasabi peas, gummy bears, and chocolate-covered nuts fill glass jugs on the center tables. The back of the store has shelves of metal dispensers filled with oil and liquid condiments – like soy sauce and vinegar – glass jars of loose spices, and a table of multi-gallon pump bottles of laundry detergent, shampoo and conditioner, body lotion, and other personal care products.

The Energy/Food Crisis Is Far Worse Than Most Americans Realize

Everyone who owns a gasoline-burning car has noticed that fuel prices have shot up in recent weeks. And most of us have read headlines about high energy prices driving inflation. But very few Americans have any inkling just how profound the current energy crisis already is, and is about to become. This lack of awareness is partly due to economists, and those who depend on economists’ readings of the tea leaves of daily data (a group that, sadly, includes nearly all politicians and news purveyors). Recently I heard an NPR staff commentator confidently state: “The only way to get gasoline prices under control is to get inflation under control.” Anyone who understands recent events and how economies work will immediately realize that the statement is ass backwards.

How Native Americans Are Keeping The Bees Alive

Honeybees are a declining population. Indeed, between October 2018 and April 2019, commercial beekeepers reported a loss of 37.7% of the managed honeybee population.  There are a plethora of reasons that can explain the rapid decline of the honeybee numbers, such as the varroa mite entering hives and spreading diseases, loss of habitat, pesticide exposure, and poor management practices. That being said, the good news is that Native American tribes are joining the government to turn the situation around. Also, there’s a lot you can do to help save the most important pollinators in the world and the billion-dollar crops they aid every year. Yet, this is just the tip of the iceberg of this complex topic that is paramount for humans, flora, and fauna. Read on to learn more about how Native Americans are doing their part to keep the bees alive.

The Radical Roots Of Community Supported Agriculture

Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) is one of those rare ideas which combine transformative potential with an elegant simplicity. The CSA model of funding and sustaining locally-rooted agriculture has grown exponentially around the globe over the past four decades. Since the first formal CSA at Robyn Van En’s Indian Line Farm in South Egremont, Massachusetts in the early 1980s, CSAs have become a household fixture across the US and elsewhere; the most recent estimate by the USDA (2012) counted approximately 13,000 CSA farms in the US alone. The success of community-supported farming has coincided with rising demand for organic food since the late 1970s. But the model’s popularization has meant that, sometimes, CSAs can be misreprented as ‘just another way’ for consumers to purchase fresh, seasonal food.

The World’s First Ohlone Restaurant Is Opening Soon At UC Berkeley

Dolores Lameira Galvan, 91, remembers hearing from her mother, aunts and uncles about their time working as housekeepers and laborers at Phoebe Apperson Hearst’s opulent mansion in what is now Pleasanton. She still prefers not to speak of the time her Ohlone family spent as servants on what had been the Indigenous people’s own land, says her nephew, Vincent Medina. For the Ohlone, it represents just one painful chapter in hundreds of years’ worth of trauma and loss in the East Bay and beyond. But decades later, Medina is working to reclaim his tribe’s history by opening the world’s first Ohlone restaurant in a space that carries the Hearst name. Cafe Ohlone, which he started as a pop-up with partner Louis Trevino in 2018, will debut in June at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at UC Berkeley.

Green Haven Project Is Nurturing Underserved Communities One Garden At A Time

Three years ago, Jorge Palacios, David Roper and Josh Placeres came together with a shared vision to make a better world for communities of color in Miami. They wanted to create a space where Black and Brown families can access fresh produce and learn how to live a healthy lifestyle. Borne of their own social justice and community activism, the trio cultivated a food movement by transforming an empty land lot into a lush community garden in the heart of the historically Black Overtown neighborhood. Carrots, eggplant, garlic chive, kale, cranberry hibiscus, papaya, Thai basil, and moringa are in abundance for a community that has limited fresh produce options.   The three launched the Green Haven Project in 2019, to expand their efforts.
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