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“Eat less,” I said in answer to the remark that people are too poor to eat organic food. I was thinking of those people who say this to me because they know I eat organic – if only they had time to stop and check it out they would find as cheap as eating too much rubbish. If you eat less rubbish you give the body time to deal with it, instead of bombarding it with the next lot. A vegetable diet is easily digested.

The secret is to prepare your own food instead of relying on ready-made food.

But when it was broadcast on the radio “eat less” came out as a ridiculous blunder- as if I had said that people who were hungry or could only afford to eat hamburgers should eat less.

Of course poor people don’t have any choice.

Half the world is hungry, poverty increases; everyone is so worried. Therefore people were angry with me. And I was upset with myself for not being more careful as to how I say things.

Luckily the press then reported my interview in full and this cleared up what I was really trying to say. They quoted me, “What’s good for the planet is good for people”.

Most importantly the press then posted the fundamental question: Is Big Ag.( agricultural capitalism) good or bad? This is the urgent debate we must have.

What we mean by agricultural capitalism, is capitalism applied to agriculture, using the business model of factory farming. This is run by monopolies. Its purpose is profit. The claims are that with this incentive food production is more efficient. It is built on investment and debt. These monopolies are part of a global network. As capitalism reaches its end we can see clearly that profit ends up with the monopolies and that people lower down the production chain go to the wall. – And here we’re talking about the farmers. We do not accept that the agricultural monopolies will best feed the world. We follow the facts and agree with the science which shows that smaller farms and not massive farms can best feed the world – you can’t treat nature like a machine. They are more efficient because they maintain biodiversity. Biodiversity controls the pests and the soil stays rich.

The smaller farms of the earth are a laboratory of experience and living knowledge and science can work with them to produce higher yields. “What’s good for the planet is good for people”.

Big Ag comes along, wipes out the laboratory and imposes its own economic model: capitalism – which is a war economy. Every battle Big Ag. seems to win results in a step backwards. Why don’t they stop? We can see they’re losing the war. We are left with super bugs and sand.

It is critical that we have this debate. Tell Bill Gates: Let’s stop.

Why is the hamburger so cheap? Because it’s subsidized by debt. One example will explain; in the film, Food Inc. a U.S. chicken farmer has a contract with a monopoly producer of corn. He requires her to install ever more efficient factory farming mechanisms to increase the number of chickens and at the same time sell them cheaper. So long as she keeps the contract the bank will lend her money. Each year she earns $20,000 profit but she now owes the bank close on $2 million.

Banks live off interest. They do not want the debt repaid. See my analysis  End Capitalism

food-inc

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  1. I have been reading Vivienne’s blog more closely the last while and think there are some great ideas up there. I think she is perfectly correct to say people should eat less. Hunger generally is triggered by the brain telling the body that it is lacking in nutrition. If people ate more high quality food, they would feel less hunger, thus eradicating the need to purchase large quantities and therefore freeing up the economic resources available to them so that they could purchase the more expensive organic food.

    A much more fundamental question, however, is why do people have to pay so much more for organic food? This is the real issue. Surely, it should not cost more to buy a carrot or cabbage grown in a field outside London then Israel or South America? Many say that the cost of organic is driven by the fact that the yield is lower and so less carrots and cabbages can be produced per acre then a highly fertilised and sprayed field. This I cannot argue with, but what happens when the field has been so fertilised and sprayed that nothing else can grow in it? The solution surely should be that we get more farmers to produce more organic food and subsidise the efficiency gap. This would compensate for the reduction in yield by using more land to grow the food.

    Say at the moment 1 organic acre produces 20,000 carrots with a cost of production of 5 pence per carrot. Also assume that in a non-organic field, 1/2 an acre produces 20,000 carrots at a cost of 2.5 pence. It is twice as productive for half the cost.

    There is an intrinsic problem here. We need twice the amount of land to produce the same quantity of organic carrots, meaning we need more farmers to use more of their land, but this does not reduce the cost of production. The only real solution can be found by (I) either organic farmers find a more efficient way to produce more carrots for less money, which would require a break through in farming methods, or (ii) we the people subsidise organic farming. The government seems to be happy to use our taxes to subsidise war, banks, private fossil fuels and many other sectors that damage our health, environment and communities. Why not insist that this money is diverted to organic farming and not war or fossil fuels.

    The result would be that 1 acre will produce 20,000 carrots, but many more farmers and workers would be producing thus increasing a volume large enough to feed the demand. The cost of production would still be 5 pence per carrot (unless a technical break through occurs that reduces the cost) or we subsidise 2.5 pence of the cost through our taxes. This means that the carrot could then be sold in the market at the same cost of the non-organic carrot. It also means that instead of our taxes being used to fund war and fossil fuels, they would be used to feed a nation with healthy food and protect the environment. At the end of the day, they are our taxes and if the government wishes to use them to make private industrialists rich, then why not choose farmers instead of oil rigs.

    Could this be a way to create jobs, help rural England economically and the environment all at the same time? I think so but it will need us, the people, to force politicians to use our taxes the way we want them to be used. Let us not forget, that it is through the taxes that you and I pay, that the politicians can purchase their fine food….. surely we could feed ourselves better if we pulled together and challenged factory farming model.

    Thank you
    Feargus

    Comment by Anonymous on November 27, 2014 at 1:16 pm