We in America are spoiled. We have so many choices at the grocery store that it is beyond the imagination that food won’t be there. Although there are many right here in the United States who go to bed hungry on a regular basis, the true food shortages which have sparked riots in other countries have thus far escaped the USA. It is foolish to think we are immune forever.
Wendell Berry mentioned in his book “The Unsettling of America” 31 years ago that food was too important to be used as a weapon. People have ignored that idea for three decades because – WE have food on the grocery shelves and it can’t be that bad.
Society looked the other way as dairy farmers struggled to hang on to herds of a couple hundred cows and maintain their lifestyle. It looked the other way again when small hog farmers were buried under 9 cent hogs, a price that meant ham alone brought twice what the whole pig cost. Some farmers gave hogs away as it would cost them to sell or keep them.
This eliminated many alternatives for our food. While we see now that with oil those who have it can, will, and do dictate the price people do not see the flashing neon sign that our food supply is in the same situation. Indeed, consumers are for the most part so unaware of it that they continue to purchase on cost, generating revenue for the handful of corporate entities that hold the majority of our food supply.
Archer Daniels Midland – ADM – bills itself as “supermarket to the world” and had a 67% increase in profits while Cargill – resented by small farmers the world over – had an 86% profit increase.
Most consumers have no idea what some ingredients in their products really are.
Cargill – enjoying record profits – has its hands in baked goods, cereals, beverages from alcohol to soft drinks to fruit drinks, candy and chocolate, dairy, health and organic (think sports drinks, vitamins!), meat and poultry, pharmaceuticals, prepared foods (condiments, jams/jellies, side and main dish mixes, puddings, sauces and much more) and snack foods. You won’t see “Cargill” on grocery store shelves openly labeled just like you won’t see the other majority players, but it’s there and much of what you eat comes from them.
Rest assured when it comes to maintaining those record profits that they will have that in mind before those too poor to buy their foods. Cotton farmers in India, pushed out by Monsanto cotton, have committed suicide at the prospect of losing their livelihood, and farmers in many other countries do not even want them as neighbors. If it comes to their finances or yours – theirs will take precedence. Monsanto and Cargill each own 50% of a company that markets genetically engineered foods worldwide.
Monsanto eagerly pushes farmers into courtrooms where a small farmer has no chance of winning, whether or not they’ve ever planted their seed. One farmer was held accountable for planting their genetic altered seed on land he didn’t even own – which made no difference in the courtroom. Absolute power corrupts absolutely is an appropriate adage to describe what’s happening.
With these corporations holding the vast majority of our food supply…what happens when they raise prices and demand more profits? We can do without fuel – but we cannot do without food. Unfortunately, the headlights are approaching and American consumers don’t have a clue to move off the road.
Corporate America exists for one thing – profit. They might give a token amount for charities but profit comes before anything. Lower costs drive the ‘reasons’ for GMO products, which most people don’t want to eat and farmers don’t want near their fields.
If your checkbook is drained and they’re showing record profits do you think they will barter with you as small farmers will? Do you think they will feel sorry and say “here’s groceries until you get on your feet? Not going to happen – it cuts into their profit. Farmers have seen it – consumers don’t and are unaware of it.
And THAT takes food shortages to a whole different level.
Thursday, 8:37 a.m.
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