These 10 companies control most of the brands that you buy, and determine what we'll all be having for dinner tonight.
The 138 people who sit on the boards of these companies all likely share the same educational, financial and social background. Like all multinational companies, their decisions are driven by one thing- profit for shareholders, and we really shouldn't expect anything else. Consolidation in the food industry has placed a lot of power in just a few hands.
If a pepper can be grown cheaper in another country, companies will do that. There is no question that having access to fruits and vegetables is a good thing, if it means people eat more of them, particularly in the winter time. But the problem arises when imported produce supplants or replaces our own production, because that leads to the loss of farm capacity and infrastructure- the land, equipment, people and knowledge to grow our own food. It's time we put more people into the decision making (and production) process.
Produce Imported from Other Countries as a Percentage of the Produce Consumed in the US
Asparagus 95.6% Mostly from Peru
Bell Peppers 60.2%
Blueberries 57.2 %
Tomatoes 57.2 %
Grapes 50.0% Mostly from Chile
(Source: U.S.D.A. Economic Research Service)
Organic vegetable garden at Creekside Farm at Walnut Cove, Arden, NC
One hundred years ago a community could feed itself from local farms. Back then, it was all local, and it was all organic, and we didn't have the alarming rates of diabetes and heart disease that we have now. With the growth of the industrial food complex (and processed foods), we’re just not that self-reliant or resilient anymore when it comes to our food supply and food security as a nation, and much less so at the regional and local level. We’ve all become completely disconnected from our food and where it comes from, and that’s happened by corporate design. People really don't know how food gets to the grocery store, it just seems to show up. We all need to have a little better understanding of where it came from (and what's really in it).
The Looming Health Care Crisis
20% of our kids (1 out of 5) are now considered clinically obese (CDC 2018) and 40% of our adolescents are overweight. This is the first time in history that we can predict that a younger generation will have a shorter life span than their parents. The CDC also recently predicted that one out of three American children will get type 2 diabetes in his or her lifetime. 70% of American adults are currently overweight, and contributing to a health care crisis that is looming over us with cases of diabetes and heart disease skyrocketing across the country. We're treating symptoms and not the root problem. Diet and exercise are the key to health and longevity. We can save more lives by educating and helping others gain access to healthier diets than developing a new pill or a new open heart surgery procedure.
Top 5 reasons for supporting the Eat Your View movement:
It protects farm land from overdevelopment, and preserves our pastoral viewscapes
Preserves the farming knowledge and the capacity (the farm land) to grow food locally for future generations
Improves food safety, security, sovereignty and resiliency in your region and local community
Healthier and sustainable food production without all the harmful chemicals or destruction to the environment.
Local food connects people to nature and to the land and it builds community around food.
Just one story from the global food web
California's often drought-stricken Central Valley grows 80% of the world's almonds. Almond production requires a lot of water, and since each nut takes a gallon of water to produce, almonds account for more water use in California than what the entire populations of Los Angeles and San Francisco use in a year. Most of those almonds end up going to markets overseas as a ‘luxury item’. About two-thirds of California’s almond and pistachio crops are sent to foreign nations, using up our own over-tapped water resources in the process. Hancock Agricultural Investment Group, an investment company owned by the Canadian insurance and financial services giant Manulife Financial, owns at least 24,000 acres of almonds, pistachios, and walnuts, making it California’s second-largest nut grower. So all that water and profit actually ends up going to a foreign insurance company. A team led by US Geological Survey hydrologist Michelle Sneed discovered that a 1,200-square-mile area of the southern Central Valley had been sinking by as much as 11 inches per year because the water table had fallen from pumping massive quantities of water out of the underground aquifer. We’re depleting the aquifer in an unsustainable manner to feed to foreign nations a luxury item (almonds) so that another foreign nation can profit from it. That’s nuts, but it’s just another story in the global food web.