We’re Running Out of Food/Justice
by Tony Chavira
Oxfam, which was originally created to feed the Greek people after they needed a bailout following WWII, commissioned a study called "Growing a Better Future," in which they outline the cold hard truths of our method of food production:
Why, in a world that produces more than enough food to feed everybody, do so many – one in seven of us – go hungry?
The list of answers routinely given is bafflingly long, often crude and nearly always polarized. Too much international trade. Too little international trade. The commercialization of agriculture. A dangerously romantic obsession with peasant agriculture. Not enough investment in techno-fixes like biotechnology. Runaway population growth.
Most are self-serving, designed to blame the victims or to defend the status quo and the special interests that profit from it. This is symptomatic of a deeper truth: power above all determines who eats and who does not.
Hunger, along with obesity, obscene waste, and appalling environmental degradation, is a by-product of our broken food system. A system constructed by and on behalf of a tiny minority – its primary purpose to deliver profit for them. Bloated rich-country farm lobbies, hooked on handouts that tip the terms of trade against farmers in the developing world and force rich-country consumers to pay more in tax and more for food. Self-serving elites who amass resources at the expense of impoverished rural populations. Powerful investors who play commodities markets like casinos, for whom food is just another financial asset – like stocks and shares or mortgage-backed securities. Enormous agribusiness companies hidden from public view that function as global oligopolies, governing value chains, ruling markets, accountable to no one. The list goes on.
Most importantly, their report includes striking figures detailing how little food the world will have available by 2030 and why that's the case. For our purposes, I think we can all learn a lot from this chart, straight from their report:
Maybe we all need to start protesting the food industry, starting with Wal-Mart and Nestle. Strike anyone?