Big Agriculture is Not Happy

>> Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Food Renegade brings us this news during this week's Link Love.  Marion Nestle of Food Politics describes how big agribusiness is starting to move against sustainable farming.

It is shocking, and yet highly encouraging, to see Big Agricultural leaders responding to the increasing awareness of how consolidated and/or conventional farming practices are bad for our health and the environment.

In October, there was a planned lecture to be given by Michael Pollan at Cal Poly university. It was to be a one hour lecture and naturally it would be about the emerging viewpoint that corporate food manufacturing is neither healthy nor tenable. When David Wood, chairman of the Harris Ranch Beef Company, heard about it, he threatened to withdraw his planned $500,000 donation to the university which would be used to further industrial beef processing education. The university complied with Wood's demands, and changed the format of the event to a panel, bringing in industry members who would offer conventional viewpoints.

Chairman Wood objects to the opinions held by Pollan (and other organic/local/small farm producers) which lead one to believe that if someone were to see how industrial-produced food was made, that person would not want to eat such food anymore. This is not something to simply object to; if the chairman believes his manufacturing process is worthy of scrutinization, he should be going out of his way to show it and thus prove these contrary opinions wrong. However, that's not what he's doing; he's using his accumulated power and money to simply squash the competition by hiding it where no one can see. That alone should cause the average consumer to stop buying, immediately.

When people everywhere realize how Big Ag is hurting them, then we will start to see real change. The average person probably doesn't wish destruction or bankruptcy on companies such as Mr Wood's, but probably does demand ethical and moral business practices be followed. It is high time for corporations to take responsibility for their behavior.


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